Miri – 30 March 2011 – A total of 30 students from Curtin University, Sarawak Malaysia (Curtin Sarawak)’s marketing and public relations courses recently visited Pusat Pemulihan dalam Komuniti (PDK) run by Persatuan Ibu Bapa Kanak-Kanak Istimewa (PIBAKIS).
The visit to the centre, which is located in Piasau Camp, was one of the many ongoing initiatives of Curtin Sarawak’s School of Business to reach out to the Miri community through networking activities with non-governmental organisations, as well as a requirement of courses conducted at the school, which focus on linking theories learned in the classroom to real life case situations.
Upon arrival at PDK, the Curtin students were warmly received by PIBAKIS president Lau Siew Hui and given a briefing about the centre by one of its pioneering and long-serving staff, Chiong Bee Lan.
The students later toured the centre, accompanied by Lau and staff of the centre, and got to interact with the special children. They also had the opportunity to look at how the special children undergo physiotherapy sessions, as well as the centre’s early assistance and intervention programme and living skill training programme, where the special children create handicrafts for sale.
One of the highlights of the visit was the presenting of gifts sponsored by the School of Business to the children.
Joseph Sia, the marketing lecturer leading the marketing students for the visit, said, “From this visit, our marketing students were able to learn how an NGO like PIBAKIS operates, what the issues and challenges the centre faces, and how they can help the centre solve its problems in terms of marketing. The students are expected to apply theories they have learnt from textbooks to solving such real life problems.”
Yong Kah Hian, the public relations lecturer leading the public relations students, meanwhile, said the public relations course at Curtin Sarawak adopts a very practical and hands-on approach, incorporating real-life client visits as part of student assignments which give the students a realistic picture of what is happening in industry and the world outside of the classroom.
Chiong acknowledged the continued support of Curtin Sarawak and its students and staff. She said Curtin students have been continuously supporting PIBAKIS through various volunteering activities.
“Last year, Curtin mass communication students produced a professional corporate video for PIBAKIS which we now use for presentations to the public,” she added.
Established in 2000, PIBAKIS runs the government-sponsored Pemulihan Dalam Komuniti (PDK) programme for special children at the centre. According to Lau, the centre was initially set up by a group of parents with special children with the aim of providing their children with professional therapy, treatment and living skills training. Through the years, the centre has played a crucial role in providing group support, talks and family-oriented activities for parents with special children in Miri.
Curtin Sarawak’s School of Business was one of the schools set up in 1999 when Curtin University first established in Miri, the others being the School of Engineering and Science and the School of Foundation and Continuing Studies.
Currently there are more than 1,000 Malaysian and international students studying courses in accountancy, economics, finance, management, mass communication, marketing and public relations in the school. In addition to undergraduate courses, the school also offers postgraduate courses such as the Master of Accounting, Master of Science in Project Management and Master of Corporate Governance.
More information of Curtin Sarawak can be obtained by visiting its website at www.curtin.edu.my.