Malaysian OU opts for Heriot-Watt expertise

August 3, 2001

Tan Sri Abdullah Sanusi, president of the fledgling Malaysian Open University, has finalised an e-learning deal with Heriot-Watt University to give new Malaysian students access to Heriot-Watt's pioneering Scholar programme.

Dr Sanusi, former vice-chancellor of the University of Malaya, who was awarded an honorary doctorate by Heriot-Watt, said Scholar meant that Malaysia's Open University, Unitem, which launches its foundation courses next month, did not have to "invent the wheel".

The online Scholar courses are designed for senior school and first-year higher and further education levels in Scotland, which Dr Sanusi said were comparable to the Malaysian system.

More than 1,400 students have enrolled with Unitem, and those taking undergraduate courses in information technology and mathematics will use Scholar material.

"We've been looking around for partners. I think the Heriot-Watt Scholar programme is the best I have come across for the level about to enter university. The quality of the course is assured because we know it comes from a prestigious university," Dr Sanusi said.

Unitem is a private company established by Malaysia's 11 public universities with the aim of delivering e-learning opportunities throughout Southeast Asia.

Heriot-Watt is not revealing how much the deal is worth, but Roy Leitch, assistant principal for learning strategies, said it would receive a share of student fees.

Professor Leitch added that Malaysia had rightly decided that it was better to boost its system through international links rather than use resources to send students to study abroad.

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