Malaysia

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Policies Survey notes:

The respondent to Policies Survey from Malaysia noted that "At present, the concept of open-sharing has been confined within … institution(s) based ... merely on needs. Ministry of Higher Education Malaysia will initiate the step towards setting up a working group comprising of experts and academic representatives to work towards the setting up of policy in relation to Open Educational Resources."


Overview

Malaysia is a federation that consists of thirteen states and three federal territories in Southeast Asia with a total landmass of 329,847 square kilometres (127,355 sq mi). Malaysia borders Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei and the Philippines.

The capital city is Kuala Lumpur, while Putrajaya is the seat of the federal government.

The population stands at over 27,000,000.

The country is separated into two regions — Peninsular Malaysia and Malaysian Borneo — by the South China Sea. The country is located near the equator and experiences a tropical climate.

Malaysia's head of state is the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and the government is headed by a Prime Minister. The government is closely modeled after the Westminster parliamentary system.

Malays form the majority of the population of Malaysia. There are sizable Chinese and Indian communities as well.

The Malay language is the official language.

Though the Islamic religion is government funded, the country is secular according to the constitution set following independence.

Malaysia is a founding member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and participates in many international organisations such as the United Nations. As a former British colony, it is also a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. It is also a member of the Developing 8 Countries.


Further information

For further general information see Wikipedia:Malaysia.

Education in Malaysia

For a general description of education in Malaysia see Education:Malaysia.


e-learning

For a description more focussed to e-learning see E-learning:Malaysia.


A survey conducted in 2004 (Asirvatham, Kaur, & Abas, 2005) showed that:

- Malaysia is moderately ready for e-learning,
- Malaysia is not environmentally ready,
- Malaysia is technically ready,
- Enablers are mostly ready, culturally,
- Learners are more ready for e-learning compared to the perception of their lecturers, and
- Malaysia is not seen as financially ready by providers and policy-makers (2)

As part of its Vision 2020, the Malaysian Government has sought to realise an ambitious goal, the creation of a world-class ICT infrastructure in the country by the end of the current decade. One result of this determination was the Smart School (Sekolah Bestari) initiative, a flagship program launched in 1996 as part of the MSC Malaysia project. The goal of the initiative was to bring about a radical change in educational philosophy in the nation’s schools. As part of the initiative, it was hoped that teachers and students would shift from an exam-dominated learning culture to one based on thinking and the creative use of knowledge. At one stage it was envisaged that all nine thousand schools in Malaysia would be smart schools by 2010. In practice, the initiative ran into a number of obstacles. Not the least of these was the task of embedding a radically different e-learning culture across so many schools at once. As a result, the Malaysian Government has modified its approach. The Smart Schools still exist, but increasingly they are operating within Cluster Schools. Cluster Schools are groups of schools working together as teams. The concept serves to encourage teachers to share resources and knowledge. In addition, each Cluster is linked to an institute of the higher learning, an approach which providing teachers with essential support as they grapple with new technologies and ways of teaching. (2)

The use of distance education in Malaysian secondary schools is relatively uncommon. Part of the reasons is that many parents are doubtful of the effectiveness of distance learning, in general, and e-learning, in particular. Malaysian society is relatively conservative. Traditional face-to-face teaching is still seen as the ideal. Malaysian polytechnics have shown relatively little interest in distance education, unlike many universities. As with the secondary sector, the main barrier is widespread prejudice against distance learning. Distance education is still seen primarily as a means of reaching adult learners who already work full or part-time. (2)

In contrast to the situation in the secondary and TVET sectors, distance education is flourishing in Malaysian higher education. A varied range of technologies is employed in distance learning in Malaysian higher education. Although many universities continue to rely heavily on correspondence courses, there is increasing use of Internet technologies, including, email, online chat, bulletin-boards and videoconferencing. However, most distance education providers in Malaysia have lagged behind world-class institutions overseas in the adoption of the latest Web-based e-learning approaches. Extensive use is still made of fixed videoconferencing facilities at local learning centres to deliver videoconferencing. As broadband becomes more widely available, a switch to the wider use of Web-based multimedia and Web 2.0 approaches is expected. (2)

The Open University Malaysia provides an example of the successful use of distance learning in the university sector. Although a private university, Open University Malaysia (OUM) is owned by a consortium of 11 Malaysian public universities. Distance learning is typically through a combination of online delivery and face-to-face tuition at Learning Centres, although a growing number of students study entirely online. The OUM has over 79,000 students in 70 academic programs. The OUM received an Award of Excellence for Institutional Achievement in Distance Education by the Commonwealth of Learning in 2010. (2)

The Government sponsored the Off-Campus Programme at the Mara Institute of Technology (ITM), which was introduced in 1973 to produce more professionals and semi-professionals amongst the Bumiputra (indigenous group). The Off-Campus academic programme at Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) is the largest provider of distance education at the tertiary level, leading to degree qualifications. (2)

In addition to Malaysian providers, there are a number of foreign universities active in the provision of distance learning. These include well-known UK universities such as the University of London, which offers over a 100 bachelors and masters level programs through distance education in Malaysia. There is also a significant Australian presence in the distance education marketplace. (2)

The University Tun Abdul Razak (UNITAR) was founded in 1998 as Malaysia’s first virtual university to take advantage of the growing sophistication of telecommunications within the country. Established by a private company, UNITAR was intended as a radical experiment in the Malaysian context. The main investment was not in physical facilities, but rather in the development of the institution’s technology infrastructure. It was intended that UNITAR would provide a lower-cost alternative to a conventional university. UNITAR’s mission was to provide quality education to a global market at an affordable price. For this reason, it was decided that English would be the language of instruction.Initially, UNITAR delivered its programs on CD-ROM as a result of doubts regarding the feasibility of fully online delivery in the Malaysian context. As the Malaysian telecommunications has structure developed, UNITAR has increased its online teaching, despite initial misgivings regarding the capacity of Web-based teaching to equal the richness of CD-ROM-based multimedia. One of the lessons learnt from the UNITAR experience has been that it is often better to employ a mature technology than to opt for the latest technology. The latest is not always the best in terms of building a stable learning environment for students. The success of the UNITAR over the last decade has demonstrated the value of this cautious approach. (2)

Wawasan Open University (WOU) is almost unique among modern universities in South-East Asia. It is Malaysia's first private, not-for-profit, open university. WOU opened its doors in 2007 with 720 students, aged between 21 and 71 years. WOU is primarily funded by a charitable trust and through donations from corporations and members of the public. Its goal is to make university education more accessible and affordable to adult learners, irrespective of gender, age, ethnicity or background. WOU prides itself as being “the people’s university”. (2)

Although many of the major Malaysian universities have employed e-learning approaches for some years, awareness of the importance of online teaching among teaching staff and students is still uneven. In 2008, the OUM sought to evaluate the success of its online forums. The evaluation covered 137 forums within 20 courses. The results were disappointing. A number of tutors were unable to support online discussions effectively. There were also other tutors who were rarely participated. As a result, the benefits of online classes were not clear to students. The OUM took action in August 2008, revising its tutot training. The new training program emphasised the importance of supporting online forums, and provided tutors with instruction on the online presence that was required to build a community of inquiry. This training included advice on the social, cognitive and teaching aspects of the tutor’s participation. These problems are not unique to the OUM or even to Malaysian distance education universities. They occur to a greater or less degree wherever the shift to e-learning occurs. What is important is that the OUM had a thoughtful, deliberate approach for dealing with this challenge. (2)

Quality procedures

Internet in Malaysia

Broadband Internet subscribers per 100 inhabitants (2009) - Fixed 6.09, Mobile 26.75

Internet hosts (2010) - 344,452

Internet users (2008) - 16.903 million

Internet users per 100 inhabitants (2009) - 55.9

Computers per 100 inhabitants (2008) - 38.7 (2)

Internet in Education

A varied range of technologies is employed in distance learning in Malaysian higher education. Although many universities continue to rely heavily on correspondence courses, there is increasing use of internet technologies, including, email, online chat, bulletin-boards and videoconferencing. However, most distance education providers in Malaysia have lagged behind world-class institutions overseas in the adoption of the latest Web-based e-learning approaches. Extensive use is still made of fixed videoconferencing facilities at local learning centres to deliver videoconferencing. As broadband becomes more widely available, a switch to the wider use of Web-based multimedia and Web 2.0 approaches is expected. (1)

Copyright law in Malaysia

Copyright law in Education

OER Initiatives in Malaysia

National OER initiatives

Regional OER initiatives

Institutional OER initiatives

OUM OER (Open Educational Resources) is an initiative by the Institute of Quality, Research and Innovation (IQRI), based on an idea mooted by the President of Open University Malaysia. Managed by the Institute of Teaching and Learning Advancement (ITLA), the objective of the initiative is to share some of OUM’s learning resources with the general public through an online repository of open educational resources developed by academic staff at the institution. The aim of this repository is to provide quality OER that are free and accessible to the general community through the Internet. More resources will be made available over time. (2)

Wawasan Open University is another Malaysian university with an interest in OER, which has an active research program in the field. (2)

References

2. ICDE Country Profile for Malaysia (http://www.icde.org/projects/regulatory_frameworks_for_distance_education/country_profiles/malaysia/)

Reports

1. ICDE Report: 'Regulatory frameworks for distance education: A pilot study in the Southwest Pacific/South East Asia region - Final report'. December 2011. Prepared by the Project Team (Team leader, Dr. Rosalind James) (accessed at http://www.icde.org/filestore/Regulatory_Framework/RegulatoryFrameworksforDEfinalreport2.pdf on Wednesday 11th July 2012)


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