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Curtin Sarawak’s School of Foundation & Continuing Studies typifies university’s commitment to grooming high-calibre graduates


Miri – 23 February 2010 – The School of Foundation & Continuing Studies at Curtin University of Technology, Sarawak Malaysia (Curtin Sarawak) typifies the university’s commitment to grooming high-calibre graduates due to its excellent academic programmes, teaching methods, highly-qualified academic staff and academic and technological support it offers its students.


“Our specially-designed programmes provide a solid foundation for undergraduate studies at our university. Apart from familiarising themselves with the requirements for successful undergraduate study, students develop academic diligence, critical analysis and a raft of generic skills,” said Beena Giridharan, dean of the school.


Our programmes are in line with Curtin Sarawak’s commitment to offering world-class education and producing career-ready graduates with a passion for life-long learning. They also support Curtin’s vision of being an international leader shaping the future through our graduates and research and to be positioned among the top 20 universities in Asia by 2020.”


She added that the Foundation students enjoy a number of distinct advantages that include modern, diversified teaching methods such as the conducting of workshops, introduction to research methods, laboratory and group projects, and oral and multimedia presentations.


“Furthermore, all our international academic staff have undertaken higher education research and introduced innovative teaching methodologies to our programmes based on their research findings,” remarked Beena, who herself has a multi-disciplinary background and impressive research record, with graduate qualifications in science, English language and literature and postgraduate qualifications in research in education.


According to Beena, the School of Foundation & Continuing Studies also provides academic support in the form of additional teaching and learning workshops, tutorials and consultations to students, as well as a very effective Advisory Programme for lecturer-student mentorship.


Other plus points include small student-lecturer ratio in classrooms, and advanced technological support available to students such as a well-equipped library and laboratories, high-quality learning resources, and electronic access through learning management systems.


Furthermore, students are also assured that the fees they pay are free of any hidden costs. They pay flat fees that are inclusive of exam fees and fees for all units in their programmes.


The school’s Foundation Engineering and Science programme prepares students for undergraduate study in Engineering and Science, Computing and Information Technology. In addition to several units that are common to all its Foundation programmes, students study units in engineering mathematics, physics, chemistry and programming in C++.


Its Foundation Commerce and Arts programme, meanwhile, readies students for undergraduate study in Arts, Commerce and Social Sciences. Students have a choice of Commerce or Media Studies streams, and apart from units that are common to all Foundation courses, study units relevant to their chosen streams. Those in the Commerce stream study commerce mathematics, economics, accounting and business management, while Media Studies students study media and communication, journalism, screen production and visual culture.


Students who obtain satisfactory results in either the Foundation Engineering and Science or Foundation Commerce and Arts programmes are eligible for admission to undergraduate courses offered at Curtin Sarawak or Curtin’s main Bentley Campus in Perth, Western Australia.


Both programmes are approved by the Malaysian Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE) and have been awarded full programme accreditation by the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA), which is a testament to the quality of the programme curricula and the high teaching standards practiced by the school.


In addition to the Foundation programmes, the School of Foundation & Continuing Studies also offers diploma programmes.


Its Diploma of Business programme, which is designed by the Australian business community and delivered in collaboration with Curtin’s Vocational Training and Education Centre (VTEC), is one of Curtin Sarawak’s most popular business programmes and recognised worldwide.


Delivered over five semesters, it includes a comprehensive English programme to support students as they complete it. Graduates from the programme may chose to enter the workforce directly or continue their studies at degree level at either Curtin Sarawak or Curtin Bentley.


An increasingly popular programme is the school’s Diploma of Process Plant Technology (Oil Industry) programme, which was jointly developed with the Central Gippsland Institute of TAFE (GippsTAFE) in Australia and designed to provide students with the skills and knowledge to work in a process plant facility.


The initiative to conduct the programme was driven by oil and gas industry players, particularly by Petronas, Shell, Murphy Oil and Nippon Oil, and a minimum of 20 full scholarships is offered by the industry for eligible students annually.


Through a balanced programme of practical, technical and theoretical training, students learn the planning, procedural, technical, mechanical, maintenance, and safety aspects of process plant operations in addition to the responsibilities of plant operators working in the field.


“A career in Process Plant Technology provides good employment opportunities and remuneration. There is a high demand for process plant operators in the region right now as the existing workforce retires, evolves and expands. Career prospects include becoming senior plant technicians or senior production technicians,” commented Brad Shaw, visiting academic from GippsTAFE who travels regularly to Miri to conduct lectures.


According to Beena, six of the latest graduates from the Process Plant Technology programme are undergoing 4-month internships with Exxon Mobil at its Port Dickson refinery, which upon successful completion, will lead to tenured positions with the international company. We have other graduates working with Murphy Oil, Nippon Oil, Shell and other major oil and gas companies in the country, on offshore installations, refineries and distribution centres.”


A new diploma programme available this year is the Diploma of Occupational Health (OHS) and Safety, which is a 2½-year programme designed for those who want to become OHS practitioners. Endorsed by the Australian Government, the programme ensures students acquire all the competencies required in the workplace by OSH practitioners.


Like the Foundation programmes, all the diploma programmes are also approved by MoHE.

In addition to its academic activities, the School of Foundation & Continuing Studies also engages in community outreach project like its recent one-day ‘Communications, Culture and Creativity @ Curtin 2010’ camp for 120 secondary school students, which introduced the participants to essential skills for tertiary education such as building communication, critical thinking, creativity and leadership.


Other recent activities organised by the school have included a cultural show aimed at promoting the 1Malaysia concept promoted by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and showcasing the different cultures and ethnic groups represented at Curtin Sarawak last October, as well as the Gold Ribbon Project (GRiP) in aid of the Sarawak Children Cancer Society (SCCS) which was organised jointly with the University Life Department in conjunction with University Life Month.


Recently, the school commenced its five-week January Intake Programme, which achieved well over its targeted number of students. The programme, which will end on 12 February 2010, gives SPM and STPM school leavers a head start on their tertiary education, allowing them to complete two compulsory units required for completion of tertiary studies by MoHE, in addition to Curtin’s introductory ‘Essentially Curtin’ course, in a short semester during the current summer break.


For more information on the programmes offered by the School of Foundation & Continuing Studies, contact Curtin Sarawak’s Student Recruitment Department at +60 85 443939 or e-mail


Academics and staff of Curtin Sarawak’s School of Foundation & Continuing Studies.


Beena Giridharan, Dean of the School of Foundation & Continuing Studies.

Curtin Sarawak’s modern campus in Miri, Sarawak.