WHEN it comes to working and studying at the same time, Jude Stephen @ Judy Mingkong is practically a veteran.

The 51-year-old first enrolled in Open University Malaysia (OUM) in 2011. Since then, she has completed her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in psychology, which she earned with flying colours.

Though she did not possess the qualifications to enrol in a bachelor’s degree, Jude managed to do so via accreditation of prior experiential learning (APEL). APEL is a pathway that allows working adults such as Jude to use their work and prior learning experience to gain admission into OUM’s programmes.

Like other working adults, Jude knew studying while working would not be easy.

“It’s a tall order to be a wife, mother, employee and learner all at once,” explains the mother of two. “Twenty-four hours a day never seems enough, but with a little planning and time management, any obstacle can be overcome. To get the most out of my studies, I had to make every minute count. I carried my books everywhere. I read on the bus. I read while waiting in line at the bank. I even read while waiting for food to be served.”

Once a stewardess with Malaysia Airlines, Jude is now a finance and human resource management executive at a firm in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

“There are so many benefits to being a part-time learner,” says Jude, who hails from Penampang. “For one, your income can cover your study expenses. Also, studying can add value to your career, help you land a promotion and even boost your employability.

“With OUM, what is difficult can become a breeze, especially since the university designed its programmes with working adults in mind. When learners enrol, they bring different levels of prior knowledge, they study in different ways and at different paces. OUM knows this and has introduced means to ensure everyone can achieve the learning outcomes in any course.”

OUM strives to provide career-relevant programmes through a learner-friendly approach, which is especially valuable to working adults looking to upgrade their qualifications or simply learn something new.

The university leverages on e-learning to make teaching and learning truly accessible, affordable and flexible. myINSPIRE, OUM’s all-in-one learning management system, hosts e-modules, e-forums, video lectures and unlimited access to digital library resources, providing an engaging and enriching learning experience for everyone.

“I was looking for the perfect learning partner, and I found it in OUM,” Jude says. “A friendly, approachable and supportive attitude among staff and lecturers makes this university a great place to study. With OUM, I know I’m placing my future in the hands of the right institution.”

She may have just received her master’s degree last September, but Jude is already back at OUM. This time, she is enrolled in the PhD (Arts) programme.

“OUM is a dream come true for working adults like me,” she explains. “The university’s flexibility is what sets it apart from other institutions. OUM understands what it means to work and study at the same time. And this is the quality that made me decide to continue studying at OUM for my PhD too.

“With a PhD, not only do I hope to get ahead in my career, but I also want to use my knowledge and expertise to contribute to my community.”

Alternatively, those in East Malaysia can visit any of OUM’s 10 learning centres. Sabahans can visit OUM in Kota Kinabalu, Kota Marudu, Sandakan, Lahad Datu, Tawau and Keningau, while Sarawakians can visit learning centres in Kuching, Sibu, Bintulu and Miri.

For more information on OUM’s programmes, call the speed line at +603-7801 2000, email or visit