UCTS expects reduced enrolment due to Covid-19 impact

Khaiduddin (front row centre) with his senior staff giving update on UCTS' activities.

SIBU, July 8: University College of Technology Sarawak (UCTS) is expecting 30 per cent less enrolment for its new intake in September as compared to previously due to the impact of Covid-19 pandemic.

Speaking at a press conference today, its  vice-chancellor and president Professor Datuk Dr Khairuddin Ab Hamid said parents are still skeptical whether it is safe to send their children to study during this period.

“Most parents still have no confidence of sending their children to university. They have been asking whether the environment in the university is safe for study and (for outstation parents) how are universities going to take care of the safety of their children staying in the hostel,” he said.

Khairuddin said the pandemic affects all institutions of higher learning elsewhere and not just UCTS.  In the last intake in April, he said there were already students who had postponed their study.

“For the new intake, we will try to get 100 per cent if possible. Our marketing team needs to work very hard to convince parents that learning can also be done online,” he said.

The marketing team is now also doing online registration instead of at the university campus as has been done traditionally.

On the request by parents for discount on tuition fees, he said it is logical as classes had been called off when Movement Control Order (MCO) came into effect on March 18.

“We have submitted our proposal to the board and I am sure the board will agree. We will definitely give discount for courses that involve lab activity,” he assured.

The university which currently has 1,850 students, he said would also give consideration for family who are seriously affected by the pandemic.

“They can come to us and we will consider on case-by-case basis. For example we will consider family who has to sell their house due to financial problem. We are here to help,” said Khairuddin.

During the MCO period where learning was halted, he said the university with funds from the Education Ministry provided three meals a day for outstation students who were confined to its hostel.

The university expected that by 2022, at least 50 per cent of courses could be delivered according to online standards and quality, he added. -DayakDaily