The School of Distance Education (SDE) of Universiti Sains Malaysia was established in

1971. It serves its purpose as a medium for all those working people, to pursue their dreams in
obtaining their tertiary education. This program allows working adults, to be able to undertake
undergraduate courses without have to compromise with their bread and butter. It is the pioneer
program that has been introduce in Malaysia which offers degree through distance education.
However, there is no denying the constraints and limitations that need to be improved to enhance
The Education Program in order to produce students who are dynamic and competitive,
consistent with the objective of the distance learning system.
There are a few improvements that can be made to enhance the effectiveness of this
program. First thing to consider, is the possibility to restructure some part of the programs to
allow students to be able to attend the course and complete their study without affecting their
daily schedule, salary, quality of work and such.
Among the benefits to be granted is an annual tax relief and unrecorded leave to attend
the incentives provided by the university. Most of the students for this program are married and
have children, it is desirable that the tax relief given to them. Expenditure and deductions for
home purchases and so on, it has always been a heavy burden for this group. Apart from that,
distance learning students also have to pay fees between RM1000 to RM4000 is a burden.
Therefore, the exemption shall be given to the fees paid by students distance learning to reduce
the financial burden incurred by them especially student working with government. So this will
facilitate the Distance Education Program.
It is very well known that most of students in SDE USM are from outside of Penang
Island. Meaning that they are not local and their worst enemy is not having transportations. This
would be a challenge for some of us to move around let alone to attend the lecture. So, it would
be much appreciated if the responsible department can take a look into this matter and manage a
rental service for non-local students.
Distance education would suggest that E-learning is in place as a medium to study.
Therefore, the use of ICT is essential and to upgrade it, is as important as well. This will help
students greatly, in completing their assignments and to get updated with the news in student’s
portal.
Last but not least, the modules and materials provided should be made more interesting
and interactive. The reason behind this is to attract students to do their revision because as we all
know, majority SDE students are in middle age. So, diversity is very important to capture their
attention as well as their interest.
In conclusion, SDE USM is where people out there should be if they want to further their
study. All the learning facilities provided can be considered as at par from what has been offered
in other international universities. Nevertheless, there are a few minor lacking that have to be
improved, to maintain its reputation.