Thursday, May 28, 2009

OUM To Host 9th International Conference On Information - Bernama

By Mohd Azhar Ibrahim

KUALA LUMPUR, May 28 (Bernama) -- Open University Malaysia (OUM), working in collaboration with the Esterhazy Karoly College, in Eger, Hungary; the Cadi Ayyad University in Marrakech, Morocco and the Delta Academy of Science in Egypt; will host the 9th International Conference on Information (ICI9) at the Legend Hotel, here from 12 to 13 August, 2009.

The world is being globalised, shrunk and brought closer in technological terms.

"Technology is integral in today's educational experience, particularly in the field of open and distance learning (ODL), where an impressive array of technologies have enabled the learning process to be conducted effectively at a time, place and pace that suit individual lifestyles, learning preferences and personal development plans," OUM Senior Vice President, Prof Dr Mansor Fadzil, told Bernama in a recent interview.

According to Prof Mansor, the theme of the conference 'Learning Innovations in Higher Education' will provide the platform for researchers and educationalists to share the latest development and innovation in teaching and learning, apart from being an avenue for networking.

"The very nature of ODL means that the boundaries to the 'field' are ever changing and evolving; a scenario that is set to continue well into the next millennium. Therefore it is incumbent upon providers of open learning to constantly innovate and explore new technologies," he said.

ICI9 is expected to attract some 150 participants comprising members of the Asian Association of Open Universities as well as learning solution providers.


Teaching is the transmission of knowledge from an educator to learners.

In ODL, the conventional 'chalk and talk' academic discourse is replaced by the use of information and communication technologies that allow for interactive two-way transmission between educators and learners.

Successful ODL courses are those that are well planned, with aspects from learning outcomes to assessment, from student support to technology; being integrated and well organised.

But innovation and development in information communication technology is a double-edge sword. While they offer new possibilities for advancement in the delivery system, the same technology has also made plagiarism easier.

Thus the relationship between new technologies and ODL is often focused on issues surrounding ICT services, network reliability and other techno-educational matters. Particular attention is given to the human element that cannot be replicated by computers and technology.

ICI9 participants will cover e-learning and open learning environments, the use of mobile devices such as cellphones and MP3 players in mobile learning (mLearning), emerging technologies and their implementation in a higher education setting, and their application as a tool for effective assessment with respect to ODL.

"OUM will showcase its Learning Management System (LMS), which was developed in-house for our students, lecturers and tutors, to support the e-learning delivery," Prof Mansor said.

"We will also deliberate on OUM's mLearning experience that uses existing social network applications like Facebook, MySpace, and mobile devices like cellphone, iPod and digital camera to send materials to students," he added.


In the not too distant past, people held the perception that valid and valuable adult learning can only take place in the presence of an accredited and professionally qualified educator.

Skeptics argued that ODL -- which had its humble roots in correspondence courses -- lacked the open-ended dialogue then regarded as the touchstone of legitimate education.

But in this instance, being 'out of sight' does not translate into 'out of mind'. Distance learning is not the soulless and isolated activity that some might assume it to be. Invigorating forum that generates tremendous intellectual ferment can and often do take place across the Internet.

New communication technologies can accommodate the social aspect of learning. Simulated two-way communication, peer-group contact and lively discussions, which can be just as illuminating as a conventional lecture session, take place through e-mail, Facebook and chat groups.

Nothing can stop an idea whose time has come. As a force contributing to social and economic development, open and distance learning is one of the most rapidly growing fields of education and training today.

The constant change in technological innovation in communications has conclusively pushed ODL approaches to the forefront of educational practice.

Few would now argue that distance education, as practiced at OUM, matches the best that any conventional university can offer.


Conventional ideas about education are undergoing a transformation as the concepts of ODL and lifelong learning gain popularity.

ODL is fast becoming an accepted and indispensable part of mainstream education systems in both developed and developing countries.

Millions of learners around the world have discovered that learning can happen at any time, in any place and in any setting; it is no longer necessary to be in a classroom in front of a teacher to be in a 'place of learning'.


Open University Malaysia is jointly owned by a consortium of 11 public universities in the country.

The university offers a total of 70 disciplines ranging from diploma to doctorate programmes, all of which are accredited by the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA).

Its flexible approach offers opportunities for working adults to upgrade their knowledge, competitiveness and versatility, without leaving home or the workplace.

"Since its inception in 2000, OUM has produced some 13,000 graduates. ODL is going to have a big impact in Malaysia, as more and more people realise that it is flexible and affordable yet the quality of education is not compromised in the process," Prof Mansor said.

"The challenge lies in monitoring, motivating and counselling ODL students, who are mostly working adults with the attendant family as well as social commitments; to stay true to their academic pursuits to the end," he added.

Through the projects and activities of its secretariat, OUM International, OUM has acquired a reputation for rigorous quality control.

With over 35,000 learners listed in its enrollment register, without doubt, OUM is fast becoming a name to conjure with in the field of open and distance learning and play an especially decisive role in the creation of a knowledge-based society.

Further details and update on ICI9 can be obtained at

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The 4th International Conference on Research and Education in Mathematics

International Conference on Research and Education in Mathematics (ICREM) is a biennial conference on all aspects of mathematical sciences, organized by the Institute for Mathematical Research, Universiti Putra Malaysia.

The present conference is the fourth in the series (jointly organized with Institute of Mathematics, Vietnam Academy of Science & Technology, Bandung Institute of Technology, Indonesia) and Malaysian Science Mathematics Society and it carries the theme of Meeting Challenges of Global Research & Education in Mathematical Sciences.


*To promote and encourage exchange of ideas on recent discoveries in the field of mathematics, statistics and mathematics in education.

*To provide a forum for researchers, contributors and users of mathematical knowledge to discuss the current development in mathematics.

*To identify areas of collaborative research between local and foreign researchers. All disciplines in mathematical science that include:

*Applied Mathematics and Theoretical SciencesQuantum Information Science, Wave Propagation, High Performance Computing and Scientific Computing and Applications, Mathematicals Biology and Computational, Fluid Dynamics, and Numerical Analysis

*Mathematics Education Philosophy of Mathematics and Ethnomathematics, Pedagogy in Mathematics Education, Instructional Design and Technology in Mathematics and Psychology of Teaching and Learning Mathematics

*Pure MathematicsAnalytical Methods in Number Theory, Mathematical Cryptography, Structural Theory of Algebras and Chromaticity *Statistics Computational Mathematics, Statistical Modeling and Forecasting, Computational Statistics and Inference and Reliability Analysis

Date: 21-23 October 2009
Contact person: icrem4 secretariat
Contact no: +60389468458,

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Govt Wants Civil Service To Be First Career Choice, Says Sidek - Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR, May 13 (Bernama) -- The government will offer job positions and salaries that are competitive to make the civil service the first choice for a career among job seekers, said Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan.

He said the government would soon introduce remuneration and employment schemes that would be attractive to job seekers based on their academic qualifications and work experience.

"As an example, if an applicant had 10 years experience in the private sector and is interested in joining the civil service, he will not have to begin from the bottom but will be put on a scale commensurate to his experience," he told reporters after participating in Radio Television Malaysia's "Dialog" programme at Angkasapuri here tonight.

At the same time, high performers already in the civil service would also be duly rewarded in terms or promotions and increase in pay irrespective of which grade they were in, he added.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

NUS is 10th in Asia varsity rankings - The Malaysian Insider

SINGAPORE, May 13 - A new ranking of Asian universities that has the National University of Singapore (NUS) in 10th place has raised eyebrows among academics here.

They are questioning how Quacquarelli Symonds Ltd (QS), the compilers of the Times Higher Education-QS World University Rankings, gave NUS such a low ranking.

The university was placed fourth in Asia in a worldwide survey done last year - by the same company. It was listed as No. 30 globally in that ranking.

However, in"s latest ranking of varsities in Asia, schools in Hong Kong took three of the top four spots, ahead of the University of Tokyo (Todai), a perennial regional powerhouse.

The Nanyang Technological University was placed 14th - it finished 12th in Asia in the worldwide survey last year.

The Singapore Management University was unplaced. (There were no Malaysian universities in the top
20 with University Malaya placed 39, followed by Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia in number 51 and Universiti Sains Malaysia in number 69).

QS head of research Ben Sowters said the reason NUS dropped down the charts is that new criteria reflecting Asian contexts were used to calculate the rankings.

For example, he said, many Asian university faculty members lose out on the citations per faculty criterion, which is used in the world university rankings.

This is because many write and publish research papers in their local language and are therefore not cited as often in international journals, which are mostly in English.

To reflect this, the new criteria of papers per faculty and citations per paper, which measure both productivity and quality, were introduced.

But NUS president Tan Chorh Chuan said the university is still trying to understand how its 10th-placed ranking was derived.

"Clearly, survey methodologies will affect the rankings of individual universities, but for NUS, all other indicators show that we are indeed a leading global university centred in Asia," he said.

In total, nine categories were measured: Asian academic peer review, papers per faculty, citations per paper, student-faculty ratio, Asian employer review, international faculty, international students, inbound exchange students and outbound exchange students.

NUS received perfect scores in five categories: peer review, recruiter review, papers per faculty and international faculty and international students. However, it lost out in the faculty-to-student ratio.

Professor Simon Marginson, an authority on higher education at Melbourne University, also expressed surprise at the rankings.

He said: "This is great for Hong Kong, which does have an excellent university system, but even the strongest supporter of universities in the island would not claim this kind of primacy over Singapore and

He added: "NUS is respected throughout the higher education world. It is emerging as the most globally effective university in Asia and has very strong and improving performance on research, as well as an advanced model of teaching and internationalisation."

Prof Marginson said he did not consider QS"s methods for data collection "sound" - for example, academics are surveyed on their views of the universities - and therefore does not see it as an important ranking.

"Reputational surveys are notoriously poor research instruments. Studies show that most respondents usually know only their own university, and perhaps the one where they did their PhD," he said.

"I don"t think NUS has reason to think its performance has declined. Different rankings produce different results and some are more sound than others."

NTU, meanwhile, did well for most of the categories, but lost out in those for faculty-to-student ratio and citations per paper.

Reacting to its 14th placing, NTU president Su Guaning said the university is "pleased to be ranked among the top in Asia".

He added: "While the high rankings are cause to celebrate, we do not look at rankings as the only or the most important guide for developing the university.

"We shall continue to focus on enhancing the global education for our students and building our faculty and facilities befitting a top university." - The Straits Times

PSD scholarships make no sense: Wee - Sun

by Kong See Hoh

KUALA LUMPUR (May 12, 2009) : MCA Youth chief Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong (pix) says the way Public Services Department (PSD) awards scholarships "makes no sense", and wants the Cabinet to deliberate on the matter.

He also wants the department to be transparent and to explain in detail how the candidates were chosen, the Chinese press reported today.

Wee, who is deputy education minister, said the movement has already requested party chief Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat and the three other MCA ministers to raise the PSD scholarship topic at the Cabinet meeting tomorrow to determine if PSD has gone against the present government policy in awarding scholarships under the foreign degree programme.

He told reporters this at the party headquarters in Kuala Lumpur on Monday after receiving complaints that applicants with 14 A1s and 13 A1s were not awarded scholarships to study abroad but were offered courses in local universities or the matriculation programme.

The PSD interviewed 8,363 out of the 15,084 candidates who had applied for the 2,000 foreign degree scholarships up for grabs. The results of the PSD offer were made known last Friday.

He said the complainants were told by the department that their results were not good enough.
"But the students (complainants) told me their schoolmates with nine A1s were awarded scholarships!"

He said based on what Ong had earlier announced, that 20% or 400 of the 2,000 scholarships would be awarded to the top-scorers, the 52 Chinese who scored 13 A1s or better should have been selected.

For the 2008 SPM, three Chinese candidates obtained 16 A1s, two obtained 15 A1s, six scored 14 A1s and 41 received 13 A1s.

Wee urged the PSD to list the criteria for the selection of government scholars to pursue studies overseas.

Even if the department has other plans such as retaining some of the outstanding students to study in top universities in the country, it should not keep mum, he said, adding that this is, after all, an era when transparency is emphasised.

Wee also described as unfair a decision by PSD to require those awarded scholarships or those given alternative offers to study locally to reply within three day from May 8.

He urged applicants who were not successful to also appeal through the MCA Youth after having appealed directly to the department online.

They can download the appeal form from MCA Youth website ( and submit the completed form, together with the relevant documents, to the movement's education bureau (Biro Pendidikan Pemuda MCA Kebangsaan, Tingkat 7, Wisa MCA, 163 Jalan Ampang, 50450 Kuala Lumpur) by tomorrow the latest.

Gerakan Youth secretary-general Dr Dominic Lau also urged PSD to be more transparent in awarding scholarships.

He expressed regret that the department failed to provide acceptable reasons why it rejected the applications of five straight As students from Malacca.

Meanwhile, PSD Director-General Tan Sri Ismail Adam said the department will arrange for some of the high-achievers who were not awarded scholarships to study overseas to pursue their studies in local universities, such as Monash University.

He told Sin Chew that some 8,000 applicants fulfilled the PSD scholarship criteria but with only 2,000 places, "some people will definitely be disappointed".

"All of them are good academically and are separated only by their points in extra-curricular activities, interview and family economic background."

Monday, May 11, 2009

Five Malaysian Institutions Among Top 100 Asian Universities

KUALA LUMPUR, May 11 (Bernama) -- University of Malaya (UM) led four other Malaysian universities into the Top 100 Asian Universities list, the first regional ranking issued by The Times Higher Education (THE)-Quacquarelli Symonds (QS).

UM clinched 39th spot while four other universities on the list were Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (51st), Universiti Sains Malaysia (69th), Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (82nd) and Universiti Putra Malaysia (90th).

Managing Director of QS Nunzio Quacquarelli said the result of the Asian University Rankings was based on regionally relevant measures of excellence.

"The top performing universities were distinguished not only by quality, but also by high productivity of research, compared to their regional peers," he said in a statement here, today.

He said Malaysian universities had performed well, with high numbers of international students and faculties, which made Malaysia an attractive option for international students.

Meanwhile, three Hong Kong universities clinched the top five spots with University of Hong Kong taking up the number one spot, followed by Chinese University of Hong Kong (2nd) and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (4th).

Japan's University of Tokyo and Kyoto University were ranked third and fifth respectively.

QS is the world's leading information specialist in higher education sector and operates globally from offices in London, Paris, Singapore, Tokyo, Shanghai, Sydney, Johannesburg, Boston and Washington.