Be Engaged, students advised

Students should grab the opportunities offered at WOU to learn not only through the classes and lecturers but also from peers, through interactions on campus and the various extra-curricular activities available to them.

WOU Acting Vice Chancellor Prof Zoraini Wati Abas was speaking during the morning orientation session for the new on-campus learning (OCL) full-time students from the May 2018 intake, held at the main campus today.

 Prof Zoraini addressing the new students from the May intake.

Prof Zoraini addressing the new students from the May intake.

She said WOU’s small classes will allow the students to forge a close-knit relationship and this will contribute to their success as students.  “Not only is the University fees affordable, students are getting good quality education at WOU.  Our team of academicians come from a broad background and with diverse experiences.  Students should be able to benefit through their teachings and interactions. Take the opportunity to learn from them and ask questions, not just on academic content but on life.”

She also spoke about WOU’s student engagement concept. “We give you opportunities to learn, be it formal through lectures and classroom assignments, or informal when you participate in extra-curricular activities. You will be able to pick up knowledge and living skills.”

 Motivating the new students to be actively engaged with the University.

Motivating the new students to be actively engaged with the University.

Prof Zoraini continued, “Student engagement is when you are actively engaged. You come to class, you do your homework on time and submit assignments on time. Be engaged with the lecturers, the activities and in whatever you do, including going to the library, making friends. Be engaged with the University and the learning process.”

She encouraged the students to be the best student they can be, and reiterated, “Learn from the subject matter and from the experiences of your lecturers. They are here to help you.” She also advised them to try out kayaking and to participate in the events of the OCL student body to sharpen their soft skills. 

 Muhammad Danial leads in reciting the students' pledge.

Muhammad Danial leads in reciting the students' pledge.

Freshman Muhammad Danial Irwan Zuhaimi, 22, who is newly enrolled in the Bachelor of Business (Hons) in Management programme, then led in the oath-taking ceremony.

Penang Regional Centre (PGRC) director Ching Huey Ling and OCL programme coordinator Dr Chuah Poh Lean took to the podium to respectively introduce the PGRC team and the academic advisors.

 Ching (right) introduces her team from the Penang Regional Centre.

Ching (right) introduces her team from the Penang Regional Centre.

Prof Zoraini also presented certificates to 19 OCL students receiving the Dean’s List award for their academic excellence in the September 2017 semester.

 Eight of the Dean's List recipients with their certificates.

Eight of the Dean's List recipients with their certificates.

Among those present were Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research & Outreach) Prof David Ngo Chek Ling, Registrar Dr Andy Liew Teik Kooi, School of Humanities & Social Sciences Dean Assoc Prof Dr S Nagarajan and School of Business & Administration Acting Dean Prakash V Arumugam.

Lure of the majestic campus and affordable fee

The May 2018 intake for on-campus learning (OCL) drew students to the full-time business degree programmes offered at WOU. Here 3 students share what led to them to the University during the orientation held at the main campus today.

 The majestic main campus offers a good learning environment for the full-time students.

The majestic main campus offers a good learning environment for the full-time students.

*Tang Khai Wen, 20, from Sungai Ara, enrolled in Bachelor of Business (Hons) in Logistics and Supply Chain Management (BBLC). He holds a Diploma in Business from INTI International College, Penang.

“My neighbour, Ong Yang Shan Xu, recommended me to study here. He is a CeMBA graduate from WOU. He told me that WOU is very good and has very nice facilities, library and view that combine to give a relaxed atmosphere for studying.

“I did my own survey before I registered. I also talked to my parents, who were at first afraid of the quality of the certificate. After Ong shared how his employer at Dell recognised WOU’s MBA degree when recruiting him, my parents were fine with a WOU degree.”

int.oclmay2018pix1.jpg

Tan’s father is a self-employed technician and his mother a full-time homemaker. He has a younger brother still in school.

“I like this programme as I am interested in business. I want to become self-employed like my dad. I plan to get some work experience first before I start my own business, preferably as a used car dealer, selling vehicles online and also from a physical facility. I hope to learn about logistics at WOU as a lot of companies now need people with logistics skills.”

 

*Logitha Lakshmi Thiagarajan, 22, from Sri York, enrolled in the Bachelor of Business (Hons) in Sales and Marketing (BBSM) programme.  She holds a Diploma in Marketing from Politeknik Sultan Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah, Kedah.

int.oclmay2018pix2.jpg

“While I was studying at Convent Light Street, I often pass by as my house is nearby. I was impressed as the campus looks nice, with a wonderful sea view. When I was looking to do a degree, I searched online to check on the programmes offered at WOU. When I found out about BBSM, I came here to consult and get more information, especially on the courses, and being satisfied, I decided to enrol.

“My decision was first of all based on the programme since I had done my diploma in marketing and could get credit transfer. Next, the fees are quite affordable. I discussed with my parents, and they left the choice up to me. I want to be a lecturer one day. So my plan is to later take up a Master’s in the same field.”

Her father is a businessman dealing in scraps and metals and her mother is a homemaker. She has one younger brother studying for his diploma in mechatronics.  

 

*Muhammad Danial Irwan Zuhaimi, 22, from Tanjung Bungah, is embarking on his Bachelor of Business (Hons) in Management (BBMG) programme. He obtained his Diploma in Business Administration from KDU Penang University College.

int.oclmay2018.pix3.jpg

“I was a walk-in. I had seen the banners and became interested. After seeing the banners, I actually made some research on the Internet. Then I decided to come here. I was attracted to the cost and the very friendly staff here. The price is not that bad for such a good looking university. I signed on immediately. I also walked around and looked at the place. I like it here.

“I am taking BBMG for a better career.  I am interested in working in management, particularly high-level management. I know I have to work hard for it. Therefore at WOU, I hope to learn how to manage things properly, do things in an orderly fashion.”

His father is a banker in Alor Setar, working at management level, and his mother a full-time homemaker.  He is the second of three siblings, with his elder brother employed in audit management at a private college while his younger sister is studying Form Five.

Knowledge sharing with UNESCO on APEL

WOU hosted a 21-member delegation, comprising senior officials of various quality agencies, higher education authorities and community colleges/institutes from 12 countries in the Pacific islands, at the main campus today.

 The delegation make a visit to WOU to learn about APEL.

The delegation make a visit to WOU to learn about APEL.

Accompanying the delegation on their study tour to WOU were Gail Townsend, Education Programme Specialist of UNESCO Cluster Office for the Pacific States, Apia, Samoa, and Jihye Hwang, Programme Specialist of UNESCO Asia-Pacific Regional Bureau for Education, Bangkok. The focus of the visit was to learn about the implementation of Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL) in Malaysia.

Earlier from April 19th to 24th, they had received briefings at the Malaysia Qualifications Agency (MQA), Cyberjaya on TVET (Technical and Vocational Education and Training), quality assurance, Malaysian Qualifications Framework (MQF), Code of Practice for Programme Accreditation (COPPA), and the Code of Practice for TVET Programme Accreditation, and had visited a few educational institutions that conduct TVET.

 Prof Zoraini Wati Abas presents an overview of the University.

Prof Zoraini Wati Abas presents an overview of the University.

At WOU, following an overview on WOU by Acting Vice Chancellor Prof Zoraini Wati Abas, they had a half-day session on APEL with Registrar cum Director of Quality Assurance, Dr Andy Liew Teik Kooi.  He informed that WOU had been part of the team that developed the two APEL instruments for admission [APEL (A)] and credit transfer [APEL (C)]. In fact, WOU was the chair of the panel that develops the APEL(C) instruments.

His talk focused on five key areas, namely the emergence of APEL; types and objectives of APEL; APEL policies; APEL assessment tools; and the implementation of APEL where he shared on WOU’s experiences and challenges. He also elaborated how WOU has worked closely with MQA since WOU is one of the national APEL assessment centres appointed by MQA.

 Dr Andy Liew talks in detail about the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL) in Malaysia.

Dr Andy Liew talks in detail about the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL) in Malaysia.

He stated that APEL (A) for admission and APEL (C) for credit transfer have already been successfully implemented in Malaysia, while APEL (Q) that focuses on awarding academic qualifications without subjecting students to the entire duration of studies has yet to commence.

Dr Liew said that APEL (A) certification is centrally controlled by MQA while the processing of credit transfers under APEL (C) is managed at the institutional levels.

 Lilian Kek (seated, foreground) highlights the Malaysian Qualifications Agency's role with regards to APEL.

Lilian Kek (seated, foreground) highlights the Malaysian Qualifications Agency's role with regards to APEL.

During Q&A, MQA Senior Director of Accreditation, Lilian Kek Siew Yick, who was present, responded that institutions can embed traditional and cultural learning elements as part of their APEL assessment tools.

UNESCO’s Townsend, in thanking WOU, said, “The take away is that we must be focused on what’s best for the learner. In the Pacific, we want to move forward and engage our learners.”

Separately in an interview, she said, “APEL is of importance to the Pacific at the moment. But don’t make the system become so bureaucratic that it overtakes the need of the learner.”

 Prof Zoraini presents a memento to Gail Townsend (left) from UNESCO.

Prof Zoraini presents a memento to Gail Townsend (left) from UNESCO.

She declared that she will be discussing with the team in Bangkok in a few days’ time to work out what UNESCO can do next, going forward, for the participants. “We will do a complete evaluation to find out how confident the participants feel to take things forward themselves, and then where would they like further support. So it will be those areas of further support that we will try to arrange to put into place and then we will monitor. It’s about what UNESCO can contribute based on what countries need and our strengths.”

 The delegation pose with a few senior management staff of the University.

The delegation pose with a few senior management staff of the University.

The delegation also visited Universiti Sains Malaysia on April 26th before returning home.

Learning English through Educational Technology

[23-27 April 2018]

WOU, in its effort to share knowledge of student learning with like-minded institutions, recently organised training for four doctoral programme students from Silpakorn University, a national university in Thailand.

The Thai PhD students underwent a workshop at the WOU main campus in Penang from 23 to 27 April, 2018. The objective of the workshop was to offer opportunities and familiarise the students with communicating in the English Language within the context of Educational Technology.

 (From Left): Sathaporn, sutida, suchittra and nattawan.

(From Left): Sathaporn, sutida, suchittra and nattawan.

The four participants were Mr Sathaporn Janu, Ms Sutida Preechanonth and Ms Suchittra Chanloy, who all work at Muban Chombueng Rajabhat University (MCRU), and Ms Nattawan Chalermsuk attached to Burapha University. They are in the second year of their 5-year PhD programme at Silpakorn.

The workshop was organised by WOU’s Centre for Professional Development and Continuing Education (PACE) at the request of Silpakorn University. It was coordinated by Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic & Educational Technology), Prof Zoraini Wati Abas, who is also the Acting Vice Chancellor.

Prof Zoraini kicked off the first day of training with her presentation on Student Engagement followed by Educational Technology & Publishing (ETP) Director Grace Lau who elaborated on the WOU Care Initiative that can improve student engagement.

 Prof Zoraini welcomes the PhD students from Thailand.

Prof Zoraini welcomes the PhD students from Thailand.

In her briefing, Prof Zoraini said that WOU is implementing measures to increase enrolment through student engagement. She mentioned her study which indicated that students fare better in studies and get better results with student engagement. “With good student engagement, there is student satisfaction, and in turn, student success is higher. Student engagement will reduce the percentage of student dropout.”

She added that student engagement is linked to undergraduate academic achievement, student contribution, student motivation and institutional success. She shared that WOU is focusing on WOU Care, Learning Assistant, Learning Environment, Tutor Management, Learning Support and Learning Design to improve Student Engagement for student success.

 Grace lau reads some of the student queries received through moodle mobile app.

Grace lau reads some of the student queries received through moodle mobile app.

Meanwhile Grace Lau spoke on ‘The WOU Care Initiative’ which was started in January 2018, and will end on May 19th, to foster a closer relationship between students and the University. “WOU Care is an online communication initiative that sends messages like motivation, tips and reminders to students via Moodle Mobile App 2-3 times a week during their semester at WOU,” she highlighted.

The other WOU facilitators of the workshop were Registrar cum QA Director Dr Andy Liew Teik Kooi; School of Education, Languages and Communications (SELC) Lecturer Dr Por Fei Ping; Head of Student Engagement Dr Gurdip Kaur; and Instructional Designer Ch’ng Lay Kee.

 The students with their certificates as they pose with prof zoraini and grace lau.

The students with their certificates as they pose with prof zoraini and grace lau.

Dr Liew elaborated on Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL) while Dr Por and Dr Gurdip presented reports of their PhD thesis in the field of learning.  Ch’ng shared her research findings and spoke on “Mobile devices: Toys or learning tools for 21st century teenagers?”

At the end of the training, Prof Zoraini presented certificates of attendance to the four PhD students. The students will be attending 10 days of training in Japan starting May 5th as part of their PhD journey.

Staff bonding at Beach Party

The weather was kind as the inaugural Beach Party kicked off at the main campus seafront today with some 110 staff turning up for the promise of fun, good food and the opportunity to connect with colleagues.

 Registration and dividing into the different groups.

Registration and dividing into the different groups.

After registration, the staff were divided into four groups of 15 members each. The first activity was the zumba dance routine led by WOU’s very own in-house talent, Robin Cheah Kai Yang, the Penang Regional Centre marketing and admissions officer. The zumba exercise managed to get the staff to loosen up and let their hair down somewhat.

 Robin Cheah (foreground, right) leads staff in a few simple zumba dance moves.

Robin Cheah (foreground, right) leads staff in a few simple zumba dance moves.

Then was time for the beach telematch that required filling a bottle with water. The race saw the group members taking turns to run to a bucket of water with a sponge, dip it into the bucket, and then run back to squeeze out water into the bottle. Colleagues cheered their group members and worked together to accomplish the task at hand.

 Working as a team to fill the bottle with water.

Working as a team to fill the bottle with water.

After all the running around, the staff were able to cool off and replenish their exhausted bodies with cold drinks, coconut jelly, pasta, egg sandwiches, chicken skewers, fruits and other foods.

The Beach Party was put together by an organising committee comprising members from the respective academic/academic support and operations units and led by the HR Department.

 Thumbs-up to the team that came in first.

Thumbs-up to the team that came in first.

In line with 2018 being declared as the ‘Year of Staff Engagement’ by Acting Vice Chancellor Prof Zoraini Wati Abas in March, this Beach Party is supposed to be the first of three planned for the year to promote interaction and foster better working relationships at WOU.

Among those present at the Beach Party were Prof Zoraini, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research & Outreach) Prof David Ngo Chek Ling, along with the Deans, Prof Santhiram Raman, Assoc Prof Dr S Nagarajan and Assoc Prof Dr Wendy Bong Chin Wei.

 (From left) Prof Zoraini and Prof Santhiram help themselves to some food.

(From left) Prof Zoraini and Prof Santhiram help themselves to some food.

WOU shares administrative best practices with OUSL

WOU conducted a three-day training workshop on regional centre operations for 15 assistant directors from the regional centres and study centres of The Open University of Sri Lanka (OUSL) from 9-11 April 2018.

 Prof Phalachandra addressing the participants.

Prof Phalachandra addressing the participants.

The training programme was coordinated by Prof Phalachandra Bhandigadi from the School of Education, Languages and Communications.

The objective of the workshop was to expose participants to WOU’s best practices in student recruitment, admissions, assessment and support systems as well as in the other operations like HR recruitment, property management, library services, budget planning, development and delivery of programmes, and learning facilities.

 Senior Assistant Registrar Gomathi Chandrasekaran elaborates on student admissions.

Senior Assistant Registrar Gomathi Chandrasekaran elaborates on student admissions.

OUSL is the only open university in Sri Lanka and has 9 regional centres and 18 study centres spread across 9 provinces. It boasts a student enrolment of 5,000 every year. OUSL offers 63 programmes with ongoing recruitment all year round for its different groups of programmes.

At the closing session, Prof Phalachandra mentioned that there are future plans for WOU to collaborate on training and research with OUSL. He also recalled that WOU had conducted a 10-day training workshop for the academic staff of OUSL in November 2014.

 Registrar Dr Andy Liew Teik Kooi (standing, left) highlights on WOU's constitution and policies.

Registrar Dr Andy Liew Teik Kooi (standing, left) highlights on WOU's constitution and policies.

In his sharing on behalf of the participants, Dr Kithsiri Hector Jayawardana, Acting Director of OUSL’s Regional Educational Services, lauded the “very useful” training.  He added, “WOU has new and fast techniques and methodologies. We must also convert to new tools and technologies to improve our system.” He said OUSL is targeting to increase its total enrolment from the current 45,000 to 50,000 registered students by 2020.

He also remarked that OUSL will require WOU support for the training of other groups of regional centres’ staff in the future. “We still follow a lot of manual techniques and have only now introduced some online methods.” 

 Prof Zoraini Wati Abas presents certificate of attendance to a participant.

Prof Zoraini Wati Abas presents certificate of attendance to a participant.

Acting WOU Vice Chancellor Prof Zoraini Wati Abas highlighted that both universities can learn from each other through “sharing of knowledge and skills”. She also proposed that OUSL can participate as a member of the editorial board for a planned Asian Journal on Open Distance Learning (ODL) to be published in collaboration with other open universities, ideally twice a year, and also join the OER Symposium at WOU next year.

She later presented certificates to the participants for completion of the 3-day training at WOU.

ousl2018pix5.jpg

OUSL, established in 1980, has its main campus located in Colombo with about 25,000 students while the various centres have 1,000 to 6,000 students.

 

Views from two participants of OUSL:

Dr K H Jayawardana, Acting Director of Regional Educational Services, OUSL

ousl2018int.1.jpg

“We register and provide education and services to the local students in our area. Our task should be expanded so that we need not bring everything to the central campus in Colombo.

Through this workshop, we have learned various techniques and easy methods to cater to the needs of students and offer them better service. The online system seems to be the most effective way to conduct registration and even for teaching. 

We had introduced online registration, about 2 years back, and also for re-registration. But the system belongs to the vendor and we have to approach the vendor even for small changes. Last year there were lots of problems but this has now been reduced. We are now requesting and asking management to have a better IT system so that we can handle even higher registration numbers.

We definitely have to use more online and IT facilities to reduce the workload, especially since the regional staff are kept busy throughout the year. We will inform the management to perhaps adopt the WOU system and have a particular period for intakes and student registration.

We have learnt a lot from this workshop and we hope to inform our authorities to modify the current system to enable us to provide optimum service and support to our students.”

 

Ms Hiranthi Galahitiyawa, Assistant Director, Badulla Regional Centre, OUSL.

ousl2018int.2.jpg

“We find that WOU uses computerised systems more than us; this is useful and makes work easier, such as e-HR and the PDF course materials. WOU also has a very good system for final assessments. With e-HR and e-Finance, the approval process is much faster without unnecessary delay.

We have introduced MyOUSL for enrolment and have a learning portal, but this is not that frequently used by our students due to limited IT facilities in some sectors in Sri Lanka.

We now undertake HR and finance work manually, while printed course materials and printed books are delivered from the central campus to all the centres.  We have e-books only for some courses.

Following the training, what we can start to apply at OUSL is e-HR. We then need not go to the central campus and do all the documentation. It will be quite easy. I will also recommend to our management to use e-Finance because we now have to fill the forms and send to the central campus by mail, and so it takes time to process.  

Our academic calendar is full as we run the programmes throughout the year.  I don’t think there are any plans to change this because with the facilities available, we may not be able to do all the registration at one time period. Overall the workshop was important for us as the topics discussed were all related to our duties.”

Promoting engagement through sponsorship in Charity Run

Wawasan Open University (WOU), in the spirit of corporate social responsibility (CSR), sponsored the participation of 40 staff and students in the ‘Run with Shades’ event held at the Penang Youth Park today, in conjunction with International Women’s Day.

 WOU participates in the Charity Run in support of domestic violence survivors.

WOU participates in the Charity Run in support of domestic violence survivors.

The sponsorship was in line with the University’s mission to more actively engage staff and students besides extending support to notable causes and reaching out to the community.

WOU, through its Marketing and Corporate Communications (MARCOM) department, sponsored 15 staff and 25 on-campus learning (OCL) students to join the 7-kilometre charity fun run.

 A few of the staff and students before the start of the run.

A few of the staff and students before the start of the run.

According to MARCOM and Regional Operations Director K H Chong, “WOU, as a people’s university, is determined to do its part as a good corporate citizen to support the work of NGOs like the Women’s Centre for Change (WCC), Penang.”

He continued, “The University has also declared 2018 and 2019 as the Year of Staff Engagement and Student Engagement respectively. We are therefore undertaking efforts to motivate our staff and students to become more engaged and connected to the institution through participation in various activities sponsored or organised by the University. We trust this will lead to a more pleasant, harmonious and productive work environment.”

 The full-time students with their finisher medal.

The full-time students with their finisher medal.

Chong added that the run also aligns well with the goal of the University to promote sports and recreational activities among the staff.

The University had contributed RM2,000 in sponsorship for its participation in the run  organised by WCC Penang and the Penang Island City Council (MBPP) in support of domestic violence survivors. Among the over 2,100 participants were Corporate Communications Manager Rasidah Mion and OCL Student Council president Pan Bo Zhong.

 All smiles...the staff show off their Run with Shades medal.

All smiles...the staff show off their Run with Shades medal.

The event was flagged off by State Women, Family and Community Development Committee chairman Chong Eng, MBPP mayor Yew Tung Seang, and WCC President Mariam Lim, at 7.30am. WOU’s participants managed to finish the run within 90 minutes to receive the finisher medal.

 The participants enjoyed free food, drinks and various performances after the run.

The participants enjoyed free food, drinks and various performances after the run.

Giving Priority to Staff Engagement and Transformation

WOU is focused on activating its transformation plans and improving on staff engagement this year to further enhance the profile of the University. In fact, the management has declared 2018 as the ‘Year of Staff Engagement’ and the subsequent year as ‘Year of Student Engagement’.

These were among the announcements from Acting Vice Chancellor Prof Zoraini Wati Abas during her maiden town hall session titled ‘WOU Transformation for the Next Decade’ at the main campus on March 6th. “WOU is about to transform itself into becoming a greater institution in the next decade, after a challenging past decade,” she remarked.

 Part of the staff at the town hall.

Part of the staff at the town hall.

She highlighted 4 selling factors of WOU, “A University by the Sea, A University with a Garden, A University with a Heritage Building, and A University with Student Diversity”.  She continued, “We are the people’s university. We can do more to become, truly a people’s university by putting the students first in our minds and in our hearts.”

She also presented enrolment statistics and financial highlights from 2007 to 2017, proclaiming to the loud applause of the staff that WOU “more than broke even for the first time” with an Expense over Income ratio of 99%.

 Prof Zoraini announces the Expense Over Income ratio for last year.

Prof Zoraini announces the Expense Over Income ratio for last year.

She asked the academics to consider the potential workload of the part-time students who have to juggle job, family and other responsibilities, with little time left for revision every week. She revealed that an analysis of the top 11 failing courses at WOU showed that the instructions of the TMAs were not clear or confusing, had too many questions or questions above the expected learning outcomes. She spoke on the need to tweak the TMAs and make the course materials more learner-friendly.

She said the University will implement measures to improve enrolment through its transformation activities and general operations, adding that as a start, WOU’s mission statement is being revisited with input from the Deans and the Management Board.

 A beautiful garden - one of the assets of the University.

A beautiful garden - one of the assets of the University.

Prof Zoraini informed that the University has already set up a Transformation Steering Committee headed by Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon, Chairman of WOU Board of Governors, and a Transformation Working Committee chaired by her which has 8 working streams. The streams are Digital Transformation, Pedagogical Transformation, Student Engagement, Staff Engagement, Marketing Stream, Financial Stream, Tutor Management, and Dual to Tri-semester Transformation.

She also announced that in line with the Year of Staff Engagement, there will be activities facilitated by the Human Resources department this year to contribute to the overall staff engagement, and in turn increase employee productivity and achieve targets.

 Responding to comments from staff.

Responding to comments from staff.

She urged all staff to be passionate, engaged employees and to work as a team if WOU is to achieve its transformation, staff engagement, student engagement and other objectives. “Team is important, as Together Everyone Achieves More. When we work in a team, we will achieve the success faster and better, more efficient and more effective.”

Earlier, Tan Sri Dr Koh spoke at length about WOU’s history, stressing the importance of increasing student recruitment and retention, and for the University to leverage on its assets, like being a campus by the sea, and to distinguish itself among its competitors.

 Dr Koh elaborates on the history of the University.

Dr Koh elaborates on the history of the University.

During the Q&A, quite a few questions were posed on medical benefits, annual leave, assessment and related academic matters. WOU’s first town hall ended on a positive note. It was not only engaging. The way forward was clear.

 

(ENDS)

Lunar year celebration to usher blessings

A sea of pink and red – from the décor to the outfits - greeted staff and guests during the WOU Chinese New Year luncheon to celebrate the Year of the Earth Dog held at the main campus today.

 (From left) Dato' Sharom, Dr Ho, Mr Ooi and Janice with Prof Wong (right).

(From left) Dato' Sharom, Dr Ho, Mr Ooi and Janice with Prof Wong (right).

It was the first lunar year celebration hosted by Acting Vice Chancellor Prof Zoraini Wati Abas, and she initiated the gesture of presenting a token ang pow to all staff and guests. Everyone was also greeted with offerings of kuih bakul and huat kuih, since both these goodies symbolise good luck and posterity.

Among the guests at the event were Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon, Chairman of WOU’s Board of Governors, and Members, Dato’ Seri Stephen Yeap and Mr Ooi Teng Chew, former Vice Chancellors Dato’ Dr Ho Sinn Chye and Prof Emeritus Dato’ Dr Wong Tat Meng, WOU Sdn Bhd Director Janice Yeap, former CEO of Wawasan Education Foundation Dato’ Dr Sharom Ahmat, and representatives from DISTED College, Luxoft and Tricor.

 Prof Zoraini hands out the ang pow packets.

Prof Zoraini hands out the ang pow packets.

In his opening message, event organising chairman, Dr Andy Liew, who is WOU’s Registrar and Director of Quality Assurance, elaborated that in one of the versions for the origin of the Chinese New Year festivity, people would don red clothing and light firecrackers to ward off a Chinese mythical beast known as ‘Nian’.

Prof Zoraini, in her informal welcoming speech, spoke about growing up in a multi-racial environment in Kuala Lumpur, recounting that she had a Chinese, an Indian and a Eurasian playmate during those good old days. “It’s interesting we had this diversity yet a sense of harmony.”

 Prof Zoraini calls on the staff to be loyal and true to themselves, colleagues, friends and to the University.

Prof Zoraini calls on the staff to be loyal and true to themselves, colleagues, friends and to the University.

She remarked that this is the Year of the Dog, adding that the dog is often referred to as a man’s true friend because of its qualities like loyalty, friendship and affection. “Those qualities should also be reflected in us, being loyal and true to ourselves, our colleagues and friends at WOU, and to the University.”

The crowd were then treated to a few Chinese melodies by a guest quartet of beautiful ladies garbed in traditional costumes. 

 Madam Oh Goey Keow (in green) and the other members of Pusat Kesenian Muzik Micico Pulau Pinang rendered three Chinese songs.

Madam Oh Goey Keow (in green) and the other members of Pusat Kesenian Muzik Micico Pulau Pinang rendered three Chinese songs.

Tan Sri Dr Koh and Dato’ Seri Stephen lit the firecrackers at the porch of the Homestead and this was followed by the lion dance to bestow blessings on WOU. Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research and Outreach) Prof David Ngo Chek Ling gamely received the spit out mandarin oranges while Prof Zoraini accepted the scrolled message of good luck unfolded from the lion’s mouth.

 Deputy Vice Chancellor Prof Ngo receives the oranges from the lion.

Deputy Vice Chancellor Prof Ngo receives the oranges from the lion.

The lion troupe also blessed the offices of Chief Operating Officer Yeong Sik Kheong, Dr Liew, Regional Operations & Marcom Director K H Chong, and the Penang Regional Centre.

WOU staff and guests were treated to a sumptuous lunch of briyani rice with mutton kurma, gravy chicken, curried fish, mix vegetables and cucumber-pineapple pickle, that was complemented with beverages and sliced papaya and water melon fruits.

 Blessing the office of Mr Yeong (right) at the Chancellery.

Blessing the office of Mr Yeong (right) at the Chancellery.

Full-time students invest time and energy for charity

The full-time, on-campus learning (OCL) students showed their caring spirit and learnt about teamwork through two recent projects, the car wash and the Canteen Day.

 The students attacking the car wash duties with gusto.

The students attacking the car wash duties with gusto.

The first endeavour involved 21 students from 3 groups sweating it out under the hot sun to wash a total 60 vehicles of the staff of WOU for RM12 each, with an extra RM6 charge for vacuuming. During the car wash at the main campus car park on February 27th and March 1st, the students earned a profit of RM805, with the proceeds to benefit the Penang Christian Association for Relief (Penang CARE) and Penang Animal Welfare Society (4PAWS).

 Vacuuming the inside of a car.

Vacuuming the inside of a car.

One of the group leaders, Pan Bo Zhong, who is also OCL Student Council president, remarked: “A small effort can create a big impact. We volunteered to raise funds for those in need. Volunteerism brings with it a deep appreciation of all that you have in life and helping those in need is a firm reminder of what really matters - like family, friends, and health. We were motivated to help those in need with whatever capabilities we have.”

 Bo Zhong (background, right) hard at work.

Bo Zhong (background, right) hard at work.

The second activity was the Canteen Day held at the ground floor foyer of the main campus on March 5th. The rather heavy traffic of staff and students for meals and snacks during lunch time brought a total of RM1, 312 in proceeds. Among the items sold by the 42 students from the 6 groups were chicken satay, curry chicken rice, pizza, doughnuts, curry puffs, cup cakes, Malay kuih and vadai.

The Canteen Day was held in aid of 5 organisations and a school. They are Penang CARE, Kechara Soup Kitchen, Children’s Protection Society, St Nicholas Home, Peace and Harmony Home, and SJK (T) Ladang Sempah. The funds will be handed over in cash and/or used to buy necessities for distribution during the visit of the students to the respective institutions in the month of March.

 Chicken satay was popular with the WOU staff.

Chicken satay was popular with the WOU staff.

"Nothing beats teamwork. By looking at the smiles of my fellow students during the entire process of contributing to worthy causes under our co-curricular activity, it motivates us to help the society more. Through the projects, we learnt to support each other and to cooperate to deliver our best,” added Bo Zhong.

Bo Zhong’s group plans to visit Penang CARE on March 16th to present RM1,050 in cash and kind, as well as do some spring cleaning, entertaining and interacting with the elderly residents of the nursing home in Gelugor

 Another draw was this delicious lunch set.

Another draw was this delicious lunch set.

We applaud the students for reaching out to the community through the various projects and for looking beyond themselves to the needs of society.