Sunday, May 16

UCTS mulls setting up Centre for Academic Excellence

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Khairuddin (front third left) and staff in a group photo after the press conference.

SIBU: University College of Technology Sarawak (UCTS) has proposed to set up Centre for Academic Excellence with online and technology for education part of the scopes and responsibilities.

Its vice chancellor Professor Datuk Dr Khairuddin Abdul Hamid said this was part of plans and initiatives to be carried out by the university post Movement Control Order (MCO).

He said from now, online teaching and learning (T&L) would be a major component of academic delivery system for UCTS.

According to him, the Covid-19 pandemic had opened a lot of opportunities for UCTS to reflect and to plan ways to upgrade its information technology (IT) infrastructure and services to the students and public.

He said the university had tried to do things through online meetings and find solutions based on trial and error.

“With this experience, we plan to set up Centre for Academic Excellence to manage all the academic programmes in terms of technology and the quality.

“Everything related to online education will be handled by this centre, so we are well prepared for the future, h he told a press conference yesterday.

He also hoped that by 2022, at least 50 per cent of courses offered by UCTS could be delivered according to online standards and quality.

He also said the Academic Resource Centre (library) was also promoting its resources to students through online.

Marketing and student recruitment strategies must focus on digital and online approaches, he added.

Khairuddin said they had been planning on using digital technology from the beginning, but the plan was slow.

“With the experience of online teaching and learning during the MCO, we found out that we can actually do it quickly and without resistant.”

They started the fully online T&L for foundation and  undergraduate programmes on June 15.

The online teaching will continue until December with the exception of postgraduate and final year students who require laboratory, workshop, studio or specialised equipment for their research.

The online courses offered during this pandemic are not 100 per cent according to online standard. However, he assured that there is no compromise on quality of education provided because everything adhered to the guidelines set by the Malaysian Qualification Agency (MQA).

On students who do not have access to internet, he said they were allowed to return to the campus and stay at the hostel to use the internet facilities.

He said 143 students had returned to the campus.

On another subject, Khairuddin said UCTS had its academic calendar adjusted due to the MCO.  The university has agreed to give discounts of tuition fees to allo students due to the financial difficulties faced by parents during MCO period,

On student  intake, he said there might be a 30 per cent drop in the September enrollment.

He said they were trying to use different approaches to attract students and convince parents to send their children to UCTS which has about 1,800 students.