Archive for the ‘Skills Development’ Category

More giveaways in Budget 2021 to help disadvantaged?

Monday, June 8th, 2020
the incentive to hire persons with disabilities is a welcome step, together with the Social Assistance Support for Vulnerable Groups targeting vulnerable groups. - NSTP/File picthe incentive to hire persons with disabilities is a welcome step, together with the Social Assistance Support for Vulnerable Groups targeting vulnerable groups. – NSTP/File pic

THE Economic Recovery Plan (Penjana) shows that the government wants to reach out to the most vulnerable in Malaysia, especially persons with disabilities, single mothers and youth. Among progressive measures in the plan include monetary incentives of RM800 per month for up to 6 months for companies hiring jobless individuals up to 40 years of age who would additionally benefit from comprehensive reskilling and up-skilling programmes.

Extremely important also is providing RM1,000 per month for up to 6 months for employment of those who are 40-years-old and above, or persons with disabilities. These kinds of incentives, in the short run, together with a stronger and more inclusive education system and welfare state in the longer run, could really bring meaningful changes in the lives of persons with disabilities.

Dealing with discrimination and vulnerabilities of all kinds requires strong measures based on equity that can readdress the unjust fixtures rooted in society. Witness what is happening in the United States where persistent structural inequalities have been prejudicing the chances of success at life for millions of African Americans.

Therefore, the incentive to hire persons with disabilities is a welcome step, together with the Social Assistance Support for Vulnerable Groups targeting vulnerable groups. In this case, persons with disabilities and single mothers will get one-off financial assistance equivalent to RM300. Interestingly, within the same package, there are also opportunities to foster civic engagement and volunteerism.

In this case, companies where the state has a controlling stake, the so called government linked companies (GLCs), will roll out community partnerships aimed at uplifting local communities under the GLC Penjana Komuniti initiative. New collaborations can emerge with the expertise and resources of these companies matching the skills of students. In order for the government be able to achieve the ambitious set of measures, two suggestions:

First, leverage existing stakeholders to deliver the actions presented. Second, use this stimulus to lay the foundations for an even more socially inclusive and innovative budget next year.

Not-for-profit organisations should play an important role in the service delivery, ensuring that those who really need the most will avail of the promised services. The government should also collaborate and partner with local universities, as many have active student engagement programmes.

The Asia-Pacific University-Community Engagement Network (APUCEN) at Universiti Sains Malaysia could play an important role as knowledge brokers and intermediary, laying the foundations for high impact students’ involvement in 2021 when we all hope the situation will allow universities and learning institutions to go back to normal routines.

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) has a strong tradition in the promotion of volunteerism, including the implementation of the Asean Youth Volunteer Programme (AYVP), which could offer expertise and know-how too, while Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) has a strong programme of working with Orang Asli, one of the most distressed communities even before the pandemic.

A special package for Orang Asli should be inclusively framed with an aspirational vision of uplifting these citizens out of misery in full and equal partnership with them, respecting their traditions and culture, rather than imposing top down solutions.

Service Learning and student engagement should emerge, predominantly in the next budget, supporting existing organisations like Yayasan Sukarelawan Siswa (YSS)/Student Volunteers Foundation.

New innovative national volunteering programmes could be also designed to develop youths’ skills while creating impact locally. Another area that deserves major attention is related to social entrepreneurship. Over the lockdown, some brilliant social enterprises like Biji-Biji – normally focused on recycling and promotion of a circular economy – started producing protective personal equipment.

Others are EPIC and TANDEMIC and NeOOne, all catalysts of impactful social change whose work is truly cutting edge and transformational.

Hopefully, the Penjana stimulus will lay the ground work for an even more inclusive and socially innovative budget under the banner of Sustainable Development Goals, a budget that should also enhance initiatives truly empowering the most disadvantaged segments.

The fact that the stimulus includes a RM10 million matching grant through Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre (MaGIC) totalling RM10 million for social enterprises which will crowdsource contributions and donations for high impact innovative projects, is a good sign that more should come next year.

By Simone Galimberti.

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Plan for innovation centre in every higher learning institution in Sabah

Saturday, November 23rd, 2019

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Ministry of Education and Innovation has planned to establish an innovation centre in every higher learning institution in the state.

Its minister Datuk Dr Yusof Yacob said that this was important as it would enable students to be more innovative and creative.

“Just like universities in the United States, China and Singapore, the centre will enable students to share ideas,” he said when answering Sukau Assemblyman Datuk Saddi Abdul Rahman during the State Assembly sitting here yesterday.

He also said some students still lacked confidence and communication skills especially in English. He said the teaching methods in higher learning institutions must be improved.

“We also want established universities, especially Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institute to open up branches in Papar,” he said.

Meanwhile, when replying to Kiulu Assemblyman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai, Dr Yusof said Sabah needed to produce more skilled local workers in the oil and gas industry.

This is because currently, only a small number of Sabahans were working in the oil and gas sector. “We will provide funds for our local people to take up courses related to the field,” he said.

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Let’s not neglect the soft skills

Friday, July 20th, 2018
(File pix) Technology can do wonders in providing a great educational experience; 21st century education requires universities to engage and students to participate. Reuters Photo

GIVEN that the discussions about the future of education have shifted to world ranking, means of learning, and students’ mastery of languages, this writer forecasts a surge in commitment to improving these areas in the coming years.

Perhaps, this could be a step forward in harnessing the latest technological revolution, in addition to stressing teacher’s hard work and commitment, and student’s participation in current initiatives.

In recent years, this writer has noticed that the tech industry and its cumulative impacts on today’s education are proliferating via the nuances of “digitalisation”. How technology continuously barges its way into sales, marketing, and supply chains is also not a “fleeting” thing. The Mckinsey Global Institute estimates that applying Artificial Intelligence (AI) on businesses could create an economic value of US$2.7 trillion (RM39.4 trillion) over the next 20 years. Many fret that it could wipe out jobs, and take over the psychical and cognitive aspects of labour. Hence, it is not a mere historic event. Technology is playing out to assert its supremacy in education in the 21st century. This writer is certain that there will be more clarity than conviviality in technology than education.

Nevertheless, banking too much on technology makes one less familiar with education. In reality, technology might not be helping students to acquire the much needed social skills and emotional intelligence. Technological advancement causes disruption, and to depart from being held a captive of technology, this writer calls for the mastering of humanities, civic literacy, global awareness, cross-cultural skills, cultural diversity and ecological literacy

Life is remarkably complex as society matures through human inter-relationships, behaviours, attitudes, norms, and foremost, social factors — they all play a central role in shaping our intellectual capabilities. These human trajectories eventually dictate the development of society. The essence of education involves nurturing students with “real skills”. It is because of the following fundamental difference — in AI, the key word is “artificial”, while the human being is “real”.

So, how does education help a student acquire the other essentials? The rule is to re-route intellectual commitment to “engagement” in education. Many are already clamouring that the issue in today’s education is more than just revolutionising the means of teaching and learning. Rather, at the heart of learning is engagement. In principle, engagement influences the process of teaching, and is the key to innovation.

Acknowledging the significance of “engagement”, Professor Andrew Walker of Monash University said, “Engagement is the key to what universities do. We are perfectly situated to engage with industries, and to shape a research agenda that will meet the productivity challenges of industry in the new Malaysia”.

Clearly, the goal of higher education should be consistent with literature that supports the view that, to thrive in the 21st century, universities must engage, and students must participate. This vision of education can be enhanced by:

EXPERIENTIAL entrepreneurial education, in which students take up a year internship at startups overseas; and,

SERVICE learning, in which students engage with local communities to create distinctive solutions to social problems.

The goals of such initiatives commensurate with the long-term agenda of nurturing global leaders with amazing social skills, socio-ecological intelligence and leadership. In a similar vein, it facilitates research.

This writer envisions the 21st century education in the following ways: for scholars, it means the overall work of the academy moves towards increasing participation involving broader public discourses. For students, it will mean nursing creative thinking and empathy. For communities and the public, it will mean they simply cannot be detached from the higher education discourse. The further reality is education’s role in sharing knowledge between learners and for learning from the masses.

By Dr Adha Shaleh.

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Another skills training centre

Saturday, July 1st, 2017

Kota Kinabalu: Efforts by the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) to produce skilled manpower to meet the needs of Sabah and the nation have been so successful that the State will soon have a second ABM training centre in Beringgis, Papar, for the West Coast.

“We expect to have a groundbreaking ceremony to mark the commencement of construction before the end of the year. The project will take about two years to complete,” said CIDB Sabah Director Rosmen Awang Hassan (pic).

Akademi Binaan Malaysia (ABM) conducts the training programmes that range from brick laying and tiling to welding and air conditioning servicing, among others.

Lately, peninsula-based construction giants like Gamuda, PetraEnergy and Pangerang have also been looking to Sabah for trained construction workers.

Rosmen said the existing CIDB Malaysia Skill Training Centre at Kota KInabalu Industrial Park (KKIP) and Centres in Sandakan and Ranau have trained 15,820 youths under the Youth Skill Training Programme from 2001 to 2016.

Another 46,079 completed the Construction Personnel Skill Training Programme during the same period.

“In addition, a total of 12,050 construction personnel/workers went through the accreditation process conducted by CIDB. As for the Customised Programme which is designed to meet the client’s requirement, 21,792 attendees have benefited.

“And during the same period, 35,015 construction personnel, and local and foreign workers were issued with the CIDB Green Card on completion of the Safety Induction for Construction Worker (SICW) programme,” he told Daily Express.

Rosmen said the setting up of CIDB Construction Clubs in schools have helped to promote ABM training programmes.

“Its aim is to educate and expose students to construction-related knowledge and skills as part of the effort to reduce dependency on foreign labour.

“Since its inception in 2013, 10 secondary schools in the state capital and surrounding areas have set up this club while 13 others in Tawau have also taken the initiative to do so in recent years,” he added.

by Mary Chin.

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Enterprise Risk Management The Way To Go For Businesses, Says Expert

Monday, March 14th, 2016

KUALA LUMPUR, March 11 (Bernama) — Sixteen years ago, when the government forwarded a request to risk management specialist Dr Barathan Muniyandy to come up with a structured programme of enterprise risk management studies, he jumped at the opportunity and even proposed a name for the institution that would conduct the course – International College for Business Defence.

“I felt the name was apt as risk management was all about protecting businesses from internal and external ‘attacks’ but the authorities thought otherwise,” he recalled with a chuckle. The institution was, eventually, named Putra Intelek International College (PIIC).

The college got off the ground in 2000 with just one offering, which was the government-requested Diploma in Risk Management course. It has grown over the years to include other courses, which are conducted at its campus in Bandar Puteri in Puchong, Selangor.

“We were asked to come up with structured education for risk management because the government had recognised the need for one, in view of the rapid growth of business and commercial activities in the country, as well as the evolvement of complexities involving risks,” Barathan, who has a Ph.D. in risk management and is PIIC chief executive officer, told Bernama in an interview, here recently.

Since risk management is generally defined as “forecasting and evaluating financial risks to avoid or minimise their impact”, businesses tend to focus on reducing financial risk in their risk management strategies.

But Barathan contended that while the financial risk was being portrayed as the biggest issue in any organisation, most of the big losses companies were facing today were not caused by financial mismanagement or fraud but “decisions made by the senior managements”.

“Some 85 per cent of company failures are due to decisions made by senior management, only 15 per cent are caused by financial mismanagement,” he claimed.


Barathan, who has been a risk management consultant for the past 26 years, said when one studies business management, one is only taught how to run and administer a business. Risk management, on the other hand, entails a wider field.

“When you study business management, they will tell you what you are supposed to do but risk management will teach you what you are supposed to do; what you are not supposed to do; and how to do it.

“These three things combine and become enterprise risk management (ERM)… it means (managing risk) across the business organisation,” he explained.

The world, he said, was currently focusing on business management but he believed that risk management was slow emerging and would eventually supercede the former.

Barathan, who is also CEO of Handal Group – which provides ERM initiatives and consulting and risk mitigation services, among others – said companies today were required to operate with cost effectiveness, prudence and social responsibility in mind, hence “business investments involve more risks from all perspectives than they did in the past, and these need to be addressed diligently”.

As businesses become increasingly concerned about sustaining their growth and surviving in a fiercely competitive business climate, he figured that a winning strategy for them would not only require operational dynamism but the sheer ability to assess and mitigate risks.

“Companies today must embrace a fresh strategy and ability in learning to manage what they don’t know,” he said, adding that this was where risk management expertise would come in.


According to Barathan, risk management covered four elements, namely strategic, operational, financial and compliance risks.

by Rema Nambiar and Kisho Kumari Sucedaram


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Skills Development Must Be Embedded In Academic Program: Mary Yap

Monday, April 13th, 2015

News Pic

LABUAN, April 11 (Bernama) — Students should be active in co-curricular activities as they are equally important to academic achievement.

Deputy Education Minister Datuk Mary Yap said this was because the government wanted to produce high quality human capital who would contribute towards peace, progress and harmony of the country.

She said education would determine the student’s future but at the same time, students must also be active in co-curricular activities like sports and clubs.

“These are the fields important to students before enrolment into higher learning institutions, as such, skills development should be embedded in academic programs,” she said at the closing of the 3rd VokTek Sports Carnival, here Saturday night.

“It is not easy to excel in both the academic and co-curricular activities, but it is not impossible,” she said.

Yap said students who were good in both fields had a better chance of getting into higher learning institutions compared to those who only excelled in one field.

“It is not a waste if students are active in school activities as it helps them to face bigger challenges in future,” she said.


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