University for All
Issue 60-June 2009
Face to Face with Encik Repin Ibrahim Getting Close to Nature Fun-Filled Family Day Sabah Learning Centre is One Year Old From Yangon to Penang OUM @ Bangladesh Tea Talk: Group Research Presentation Congratulations, Nestle First Line Managers! Exploring Ideas and Innovations in Higher Education Attract, Engage, Retain
Chancellor YABhg Tun Jeanne Abdullah
Pro Chancellor YBhg Tan Sri Dato' Azman Hashim
Group Management Committee YBhg Prof Tan Sri Anuwar Ali President/Vice-Chancellor YBhg Prof Dr Mansor Fadzil Senior Vice President YBhg Prof Ir Dr Rosli Hamir Vice President (Learner Management & Campus Development) Repin Ibrahim Vice President (Business Development & Human Resource Management) Kamariah Mohd Noor General Manager/Registrar Che Omar Ahmat @ Ahmad Financial Controller/Bursar Prof Ramli Bahroom General Manager (Corporate Planning) Prof Dr Ahmad Hashem General Manager (Technology)
Editorial Team Advisor YBhg Prof Tan Sri Anuwar Ali President/Vice-Chancellor Chief Editor Kamariah Mohd Noor General Manager/Registrar Editor YBhg Datin Teh Raqamah Abdullah Director, Corporate Relations Unit Associate Editors Assoc Prof Hazidi Abdul Hamid Faculty of Education & Languages Siti Farina Sheikh Mohamed Faculty of Education & Languages Norfardilawati Musa Faculty of Applied Social Sciences Rahmah Daud Manager, Corporate Relations Unit Azeezah Jameelah Mohd Mohideen Senior Executive, Editorial Unit Fatimah Ibrahim Senior Executive (Quality Assurance) Writer Gowri Venkatesan Senior Executive, Corporate Relations Unit Photographer Azizan Jamaludin Corporate Relations Unit
Contact Us: OPEN UNIVERSITY MALAYSIA Jalan Tun Ismail, 50480 Kuala Lumpur Tel: 603.2773.2045 Fax: 603.2697.8825 E-mail: email@example.com OUM Today is published by Open University Malaysia, a member of METEOR Group of Companies. The electronic version is accessible at www.oum.edu.my
President’s Quill On Responsibilities, Trust and A Brighter Future hese are turbulent times: across the world, people are facing numerous challenges. So many solutions are proposed, debated, accepted and T executed with differing degrees of success. Malaysians too are facing the
same challenges. A question we may ask at OUM is what can we do to help our fellow Malaysians turn these challenges into opportunities and construct a better future out of the turmoil. Interestingly, the recent May intake provided the answer. A record number of learners entered the University to pursue their tertiary education. This number suggests that people are increasingly turning to lifelong learning. They have begun to believe that we can indeed offer them something that can make their lives better. They believe that what we offer can open doors to better opportunities in the future. It is however a little paradoxical that when times are bad, people turn to books but not so if you consider the situation. When business is bad, people do not make as much money or there is not as much money to go around, so people go on a subsistence mode. In the meantime they also realise that when there is rain, sunshine always follows. The dark cloud that hangs over us will pass. When the green pastures can be seen, they wonder what challenges they will have to face. To do this, they need to arm themselves with knowledge and skills that will give them the advantage over their competitors. This is where we come in. The May 2009 intake was an important milestone for all of us at OUM. It a sign that our effort all these years have not gone unnoticed. It is a sign that in the minds and hearts of the Malaysian people, OUM has begun to be associated with desirable opportunities, acquisition of knowledge and learning flexibility. More importantly, it is a sign that our efforts have earned their trust. The May intake was a sign that our fellow Malaysians trust us enough to put their future in our hands. This is what I find most humbling. It is also why I feel some trepidation because it is indeed a heavy burden to bear for we cannot fail them. Our fellow Malaysians have become increasingy aware of OUM’s programmes, they have begun to know that learning opportunities are more available to them through the open entry system and they have realised that we have not increased our fees since day one, we are not in this business just for the money: we are here to democratise education. Certainly, we are not perfect but we have done reasonably well in terms of learning delivery including the quality of our modules, the roles played by our lead tutors and tutors, the opening and enhancement of OUM’s learning centres across the country, and our efforts in making learning possible across the nation through our on-line learning facilities and digital library. Our confidence can also be seen when they see that our centres overseas and our partners doing well. We cannot, however, rest on our laurels; everyday we need to remind ourselves of the shared values, hard work and commitment at every level. Many fellow Malaysians and also our friends from overseas have joined the OUM family. They are expecting good things from us. I ask that our OUM community join me in redoubling our efforts: There is greater height to scale and our only option is to succeed.
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Professor Tan Sri Anuwar Ali 02
OUM Today Issue 60 • June 2009
Trainees at work
OUM @Bangladesh UM clinched a mega project initiated by Bangladesh last year. The project O funded by the World Bank hoped to enhance the computer literacy of Bangladesh’s senior government officials. Catering to the demands of globalisation, Bangladesh unveiled this ICT training project to boost its human capital development.
According to the project manager, Prof Dr Maheswari Kandasamy, OUM has added another feather to its cap with this achievement. “When the Bangladesh Computer Council announced this project, OUM, together with five other contenders, vied for it. Finally, OUM won the bid after a rigorous selection process. The success underscores OUM’s credibility as a learning institution. The fact that an eminent organisation like World Bank recognises OUM speaks volumes about the University’s reputation.”
Prof Maheswari said a survey will be conducted to find out the effectiveness of the training. “The survey will be completed in three months. The findings will be kept in a repository where the data could be used for various studies. The outcome of the survey will enlighten us on the relevance and usefulness of such trainings to other developing countries in the region. OUM has been approached for similar collaborations and we are looking forward to more challenging assignments in the future,” concluded Prof Maheswari.
Prof Maheswari, who is also the head of OUM International, added: “OUM teamed up with a consultancy firm based in Bangladesh called HB Consultants Limited. Our partner looked into the implementation aspects while OUM developed the curriculum and provided technical expertise. Prior to that, a needs analysis was carried out to ascertain the learning needs of the government officials. The curriculum was developed using the findings as a benchmark so that the trainees could build their capabilities in the areas where they lacked expertise. We roped in academics, subject matter experts and IT specialists to produce a comprehensive custom-made training manual.” According to Prof Maheswari, this is a significant project which the Bangladeshi Government initiated to improve the work performances of its public sector staff. “A total of 2,500 senior officials consisting of directors and deputy directors were selected to undergo this training. As the government workforce consists of older and younger officers, the gap in computer proficiency was inevitable. Unlike their older counterparts, the younger officers are technologically savvy. The project was expected to reduce the disparity.” Due to the large number of trainees, said Prof Maheswari, they were divided into several batches. “The project was launched by OUM’s President/Vice-Chancellor, Prof Tan Sri Anuwar Ali in Dhaka in June last year. The training proceeded in 125 batches with 20 officials in each batch. The project came to an end in May this year. As prospects are bright for a similar training in future, we have identified 250 officials out of the 2,500 pioneers to wear the trainers’ hat. Besides ICT knowledge, we have also taught the chosen officials the rudiments of acting as trainers so that they can perform their duties diligently and competently.”
OUM Today Issue 60 • June 2009
Prof Dr Maheswari Kandasamy
Attract, Engage, Retain
S organisation will be reduced to nothing without the toil of its
ophisticated infrastructure and state-of-the-art facilities of an
workforce. As the business arena is becoming increasingly competitive, organisations are putting great effort in hiring the right candidates to ride out the challenges. In this respect, the human resources department is the pulse of an organisation, said Dr Rosmah Mohamed, who is the Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Business and Management. “Gone are the days where the human resources department had a passive existence. The department used to be plagued by biased perceptions for executing mundane jobs. However this preconceived notion has been debunked lately with people taking stock of its crucial nature. Over the years, the department has evolved to be an integral part of an organisation.” “Actually, this department has a grip over the entire organisation as
Dr Rosmah Mohamed
it shoulders the critical responsibility of matching the right people for the right job. This match-making task may sound simple but it is not that easy in practice. Bringing together staff with diverse backgrounds to help transform the organisation’s goals and objectives into reality is a tall order. Human resources professionals should possess impeccable people skills to rise to the occasion. Working experience alone cannot help one to keep up with the unprecedented challenges in store for them. By continuing to learn, these professionals can build their capability and keep abreast with the changes taking place in the human resources sphere,” she added. In its drive to provide industry-driven programmes to the masses, OUM has introduced the Master of Human Resource Management effective this year. This two-year programme has intakes in January, May and September. Through this programme, the University hopes to produce human resources professionals who are distinctive in the field. Also the co-ordinator of the Masters programme, Dr Rosmah said: “Organisations nowadays consider their staff as internal customers.
Tertiary education, said Dr Rosmah, is vital to climb the corporate ladder. “The job market is swarmed with workers and what gives them an edge is their paper qualification and knowledge they gained through higher education. To keep up with the competition, workers are turning to books. However, some may find learning while working not a feasible solution. For this category of people, OUM’s distance learning opportunity presents a plausible option to upgrade their academic qualification and work at the same time,” she opined. At OUM, the Master of Human Resource Management is conducted using the blended mode comprising seminars, self-learning aided by specially developed module and online learning. The seminars are conducted on weekends to give leeway to working people. A comprehensive module is provided for each course to facilitate self-paced learning. Through the online learning platform called the Learning Management System (myLMS), learners can engage in collaborative learning with their peers and facilitators.
When the internal customers are satisfied, a great sense of belonging can be achieved. A conducive working environment is fertile ground for productivity. A harmonious workforce brings about prosperity, which is the ultimate aim of any organisation, especially in this globalised age of steep competition. Employers place much emphasise on employing well qualified human resources professionals who are capable of hiring and developing a talented pool of workers.” Dr Rosmah believes that besides its core duties of attracting, engaging and retaining staff, the human resources department also ensures that its objectives are aligned with the organisation. “Human
Master of Human Resource Management Entry Requirements: Prospective learners with a first degree in any field qualify for this programme. Those who do not meet the requirements but have relevant working experience in the industry are encouraged to apply and their applications will be assessed via the Open Entry System. Programme Duration: 2 Years
resources professionals are the interface between the different levels of staff - strategic, tactical and operational. It is not an exaggeration to say that staff are the core competency that needs to be nurtured for the smooth running of the organisation. As such, they are expected to proactively engage with all the parties to keep conflicts at bay.”
Intake: January, May and September Co-ordinator: Dr Rosmah Mohamed / firstname.lastname@example.org
OUM Today Issue 60 • June 2009
From Yangon to Penang Tea Talk: Group Research Presentation Sabah Learning Centre is One Year Old Face to Face with Encik Repin Ibrahim Gett...