Five Minutes with YBhg Prof Dato’ Dr Mansor Fadzil, President & Vice-Chancellor, OUM
BY DR DAVID CL LIM (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Dr David Lim (DL): Entering into a new year in 2018, OUM learners, supporters and other stakeholders must be wondering what new developments are in store. Please could you oblige, Dato’?
YBhg Prof Dato’ Dr Mansor Fadzil (DM): Thank you, Dr David. OUM is pleased to announce, firstly, the introduction of a new undergraduate course called ‘Chinese Language for Basic Communication’. This is a new course that all OUM undergraduates may opt for under the ‘Basic Compulsory’ course category. We are offering it for the first time in the January 2018 semester at selected learning centres in the Klang Valley. We expect to make the course available nationwide in the subsequent semesters. The great thing about this new course is that there are no prerequisites. Those without any prior knowledge and communication skills in Mandarin Chinese are encouraged to pursue it.
DL: The merits of learning Mandarin Chinese are obvious in the twenty-first century, also known as the Chinese Century, a time when China is expected to be dominant geopolitically and economically. But tell us anyway, Dato’, why OUM learners should take this opportunity to learn the language, if they haven’t already.
DM: If you ask me, learning a new language will always enrich one’s life in more ways than one. This is especially true with Mandarin Chinese which linguists expect to become as globally dominant as the English language is today, if not more so. It is a language that will open many doors and OUM learners should seize the opportunity to learn and master it sooner rather than later.
DL: What’s the course coverage like for OUM’s ‘Chinese Language for Basic Communication’, otherwise known by the code ‘OUMH 1403’?
DM: Among other things, the course covers Basic Chinese Phonetics known as the Hanyu Pinyin System, and an introduction to reading and writing 120 selected Chinese characters. The emphasis is on practical communication skills, such as asking for directions, telling the time, greeting and meeting new friends, and similar everyday situations.
DL: I understand that more language courses are to be introduced as optional undergraduate courses?
DM: More language courses are indeed in the pipeline. Japanese is likely to be the next course to be offered by OUM. As soon as plans are firmed up, we’ll be making the announcements.
DL: Featured in this issue of inspired is the myOUM mobile app. Why was this app produced, and how has it been received so far, Dato’?
DM: The spanking new myOUM mobile app, which was launched late last year, has been enthusiastically received by our learners. The idea with this one app is to provide all learners with immediate access to the key university services. Not only is this access instant and convenient, it is also transparent. It takes out the guess work, and displays important info as-is and on-demand.
DL: What other new endeavours can our stakeholders expect to see in 2018?
DM: Unbeknown to most, and with deliberate silence, we have been sending OUM-appointed ‘mystery shoppers’ to engage with our frontliners. OUM staff from academics to executives providing services to our learners and prospective learners may at random and without prior notice receive product and service enquiries that are meant to evaluate and improve the quality of the services they provide. But let’s keep this to ourselves so as not to spoil the fun [laughs]!
As final heads-up for now, and as was announced internally recently, OUM is making preparations to relocate its headquarters from the current Kuala Lumpur location, which has been bought over by Bank Negara. We’re still in the midst of planning but it’s very likely that the new headquarters will be based in Kelana Jaya, where we have purchased an office block.
DL: Thank you, Dato’, for the inside scoop!