Vinayaka To Tap Distance Learning Potential In Malaysia And Region
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 9 (Bernama) -- Vinayaka Missions International University College (VMIUC) is keen to tap the vast potential in the field of distance learning, both in Malaysia and the region.
Towards this end, VMIUC which is a full-fledged Malaysian University College, has to date invested about RM10 million to establish 10 learning centres, of which five are in Malaysia, four in Dubai and one in Saudi Arabia.
These centres will play a supporting role for distance learning, provided on the online platform, said VMIUC pro-chancellor, Datuk Seri Dr S. Sharavanan.
He said 32 programmes had so far been approved by the Ministry of Higher Education for the online distance learning directorate and the short-term aim is an enrolment of 5,000 students.
"Distance learning is proving to be a paradigm shift with students not physically present at a school or college.
"Online and distance learning could be the future and way forward as it has improved so much in the past years with cost effective benefits," he told Bernama.
Courses that are conducted partially through distance education and onsite are referred to as hybrid or blended education and is indeed a healthy development for higher education, said Sharavanan.
He is also optimistic about the potential to develop distance learning in the Middle East with an aim of enrolling about 1,000 students in Dubai.
Among the major courses offered by the VMIUC distance learning directorate are Masters in Education, Diploma/Degree in Early Childhood Education, Diploma/Degree in Psychology and Diploma/Degree/Masters in Business Administration, Islamic Finance and Islamic Banking.
Meanwhile, VMIUC is the first Malaysian private institution of higher learning to be awarded a multi-campus and multi-faculty approval by the Ministry of Higher Education.
Apart from distance learning, VMIUC also operates its onsite business and management faculty in Butterworth, Penang, while there are plans for faculties of dentistry, engineering and technology and a post-graduate medical programme in the near future.
In fact, it plans to establish a dental college in Johor by 2017, involving an investment of about RM70 million, with an initial intake of 50 students annually.
On another matter, Sharavanan who is also founder and managing director of the Penang International Dental College (PIDC) said, the Butterworth-based dental college and hospital would be moving into its new RM75 million facility by 2018.
PIDC, one of Malaysia's biggest dental colleges which has been functioning since 2006, offers the Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) programme on a twinning platform, in collaboration with leading Indian education group Vinayaka Missions University (VMU).
Students undergo years 1 and 2 pre-clinical studies at the PIDC Salem campus in South India and continue with years 3, 4 and 5 clinical studies at the Butterworth campus.
The first batch of dentists graduated from PIDC in April 2011.
Sharavanan said that when the new facility is completed, students would be able to do all five years of the BDS programme in Butterworth.