KUALA LUMPUR: Universiti Tenaga Nasional (UNITEN) and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) plan to continue with online teaching-and-learning even after all the students have returned to campus in October. UNITEN vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Ir Dr Kamal Nasharuddin Mustapha said the (PdP) system in the university will be conducted through a combination of online and face-to-face learning for courses which require the students to be present in laboratories or studios.

“For instance, students have to go to engineering laboratories to do practical work or tests, but some can be done in online classes. Even though 100 per cent (of students) return to the campus, we do not have to give up online, it’s just a combination,” he said.

Kamal Nasharuddin was speaking to Bernama before appearing on the Ruang Bicara programme produced by Bernama TV to discuss the topic ‘Post Covid-19: The Opening of Public and Private Universities in the New Normal’ last night.

Last week, Higher Education Minister Datuk Dr Noraini Ahmad allowed four more categories of tertiary students to return to campus in stages beginning July, with full intake in October.

This is in addition to the five categories of students who have been given permission earlier.

The four categories include 30 per cent local students in private institutions as requested by the Malaysian Association of Private Colleges and Universities.

In connection to this, Kamal Nasharuddin said UNITEN has allowed 30 per cent or about 2,000 students who faced problems accessing internet and do not have a conducive environment to study online in their villages to return to campus.

“There are many students who want to return to campus so that they have access to the internet and the teaching-and-learning environment is more conducive, so we are happy to accept them back in campus, but what is important is that they abide by the standard operating procedure,” he said.

Meanwhile, UKM vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr. Mohd Hamdi Abd Shukor said 66 per cent or two thirds of its students preferred online classes.

“So we will try to conduct online classes except for courses which require them to be in laboratories or studios. We will also conduct online classes even though the students are on campus. They are more comfortable with that as they have become used to studying online, and they want to maintain that method,” he said.

Mohd Hamdi said about one third of the students want classes to be conducted the conventional face-to-face way as they are from poor families which do not have computers or laptops.

He said UKM was looking at providing used laptops to about 260 students who need help to study online.

“We are looking for funds to provide them with secondhand notebooks, with help from the alumni and the Student Affairs Department, ” he said.

He added that the computer laboratories will be opened until 10 p.m. for students who do not have computers. - Bernama