En­cour­ag­ing higher learn

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - WORK & STUDY -

UNI­VER­SI­TIES around the world are con­stantly look­ing at of­fer­ing a wide range of cour­ses to at­tract new stu­dents, es­pe­cially in­di­vid­u­als who have al­ready en­tered the work­force.

Be­sides run­ning niche pro­grammes within spe­cific fields and knowl­edge ar­eas, uni­ver­si­ties are in­tro­duc­ing mas­sive open on­line cour­ses and on­line resources for the masses.

These trends are tes­ta­ment to large seg­ments of the work­ing pop­u­la­tion that are in­ter­ested in pur­su­ing fur­ther study. Be it for bet­ter ca­reer op­por­tu­ni­ties or purely for per­sonal en­rich­ment and de­vel­op­ment, many peo­ple are in­ter­ested to up­skill and gain deeper knowl­edge ir­re­spec­tive of in­dus­try.

It has been es­ti­mated that the global e- learn­ing busi­ness that gen­er­ated US$ 110bil ( RM450­bil) last year is ex­pected to hit US$ 250bil ( RM1.02tril­lion) by 2020, in­creas­ing the like­li­hood for ev­ery per­son to be ex­posed to some form of on­line learn­ing.

As Malaysia has a large work­force without prior ter­tiary ed­u­ca­tion, the Ac­cred­i­ta­tion of Prior Ex­pe­ri­en­tial Learn­ing ( APEL) was in­tro­duced in 2011 by the Malaysian Qual­i­fi­ca­tions Agency ( MQA) to al­low Malaysians who lack for­mal aca­demic qual­i­fi­ca­tions an al­ter­na­tive route into uni­ver­si­ties.

This flex­i­ble eval­u­a­tion pro­gramme recog­nises knowl­edge ob­tained through work ex­pe­ri­ence, short cour­ses, in­de­pen­dent study, hob­bies and leisure ac­tiv­i­ties and other in­for­mal learn­ing sources.

Un­der the purview of the Higher Ed­u­ca­tion Min­istry, the ba­sic ad­mis­sion cri­te­ria for the dif­fer­ent lev­els of ter­tiary ed­u­ca­tion are listed be­low.


Above 19 years old Rel­e­vant work ex­pe­ri­ence


Above 20 years old in the year of ap­pli­ca­tion

Rel­e­vant work ex­pe­ri­ence

Bach­e­lor’s de­gree

Above 21 years old in the year of ap­pli­ca­tion

Rel­e­vant work ex­pe­ri­ence

Master’s de­gree

Above 30 years old in the year of ap­pli­ca­tion

Pos­sess at least STPM/ diploma/ foun­da­tion stud­ies or equiv­a­lent qual­i­fi­ca­tions

Rel­e­vant work ex­pe­ri­ence


Above 35 years old in the year of ap­pli­ca­tion

Pos­sess at least a bach­e­lor’s de­gree in a rel­e­vant field or equiv­a­lent

Have five years of rel­e­vant work ex­pe­ri­ence

All ap­pli­cants are sub­jected to APEL as­sess­ments con­ducted by the MQA be­fore be­ing al­lowed to en­rol in in­sti­tu­tions.

Un­for­tu­nately, work­ing adults who are in­ter­ested in pur­su­ing fur­ther study are bound to face mul­ti­ple chal­lenges such as fam­ily re­spon­si­bil­i­ties and a short­age of time and fi­nance, there­fore shunt­ing the idea of go­ing back to uni­ver­sity.

It is cru­cial then for work­ing adults to be pro­vided with the means to com­plete their ed­u­ca­tion.

Em­ploy­ers should al­ways look to help­ing their staff ob­tain ad­di­tional learn­ing as they will even­tu­ally reap the ben­e­fits of hav­ing a bet­ter- skilled work­force.

Some ways an em­ployer can help its staff are:

The hefty tu­ition fees are of­ten be­yond the reach of many em­ploy­ees and those who de­cide to fur­ther their stud­ies are some­times in­el­i­gi­ble for the fi­nan­cial aids avail­able.

The strict reg­u­la­tions and the lack of flex­i­bil­ity of some of these op­tions can prove dif­fi­cult to achieve for most peo­ple. These in­clude PTPTN loans that gen­er­ally do not cover the to­tal cost of the pro­gramme and Em­ploy­ees Prov­i­dent Fund with­drawals that are only ap­pli­ca­ble for cer­tain mem­bers.

Fur­ther­more, opt­ing to cover or pay part of the ed­u­ca­tion costs will en­ti­tle the com­pany for tax in­cen­tives and de­duc­tions.

To en­sure em­ploy­ees con­tinue to work at a com­pany upon grad­u­a­tion, the terms and con­di­tions for spon­sor­ship can in­clude an agreed du­ra­tion of ser­vice with the com­pany.

– Hav­ing days off in ad­di­tion to an­nual leave will give em­ploy­ees ad­e­quate time to com­plete the var­i­ous course as­sign­ments, at­tend sem­i­nars or study trips and pre­pare for ex­am­i­na­tions.

Spon­sor­ships – Study leave

By hav­ing a re­source of highly trained pro­fes­sion­als with new knowl­edge and ex­per­tise, em­ploy­ers will have a group of in­spired in­di­vid­u­als who are ea­ger to ap­ply what they have learnt to their work, con­se­quently im­ple­ment­ing im­proved pro­cesses that will ul­ti­mately lead to more cost- and labour- ef­fi­cient out­comes and ex­cit­ing busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties such as ex­pan­sions and ac­qui­si­tions.

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