OUM Petaling Jaya Learning Centre - FORUM

In Malaysia, the provision for education is the biggest challenge for the government as the nation strives to become a fully developed country by the year 2020. One solution is to use technology as an enabler to bring education to the masses. Universities are taking up the challenge by updating the content of their programmes but more importantly, utilising the latest technologies to improve the delivery systems. One of the emerging delivery systems much talked about is Open and Distance Education which is fast becoming the way of providing education to the masses.

As a result of this new phenomenon, in August 1999, the Minister of Education invited Multimedia Technology Enhancement Operations Sdn. Bhd. (METEOR), a consortium of 11 public universities in the country, to set up an open university. The move by the Minister led to the establishment of Open University Malaysia (OUM) in August 2000 followed by its official launching on 26 August 2002 by the then Prime Minister of Malaysia YAB Dato Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad.

OUM is the seventh private university in Malaysia. Although incorporated as a private university under the Private Higher Education Institutions Act 1996, the University leverages on the quality, prestige and capabilities of its strategic partners - a consortium of the 11 public universities. OUM adopts the motto "University for All" which is consistent with its philosophy on democratisation of education. This philosophy underlies the belief that education should be made available to all, regardless of time, place, age and social economic background. The open and distance learning (ODL) mode is specifically targeted at working adults who need to take care of their families as well as manage their careers while pursuing higher education. Under the able stewardship of the then founder and President/Vice-Chancellor, the late Tan Sri Dr. Abdullah Sanusi Ahmad, OUM has positioned itself as an alternative avenue for the public to gain quality tertiary and lifelong education.

As an open learning institution, OUM subscribes to the following principles:

Flexible entry requirements to provide more opportunities for the members of the society to pursue their aspirations;
A student-friendly academic system where the constraints and needs of working adults are well understood;
A learning mode that incorporates learners' interaction with lecturers, online learning and self- study, thus enriching learning experiences.
OUM's strengths span a wide range of disciplines, from IT and Engineering to the Arts and Social Sciences, Business and Science. Employing the latest approaches in the teaching-learning process, it offers academic programmes that cater to the demands of industry and the marketplace in general. Initially opening its doors to 753 learners in 2001, OUM has over 79,000 students in 70 academic programmes in its eighth year of operations, a record of some sort. Through OUM, working adults can upgrade their knowledge and skills for the purpose of career progression, career transition or pursuing lifelong learning ambitions, all within the comfort of their homes.

OUM has certainly brought into existence a new approach to tertiary education that gives rise to greater flexibility in learning, as well as providing the necessary knowledge and skills for the workforce to compete in the ever challenging environment of the new millennium.

[Source by: Open University Malaysia - OUM / 2011]