Archive for the ‘Polytechnic and Vocational Education.’ Category

TVET, the way forward.

Sunday, February 10th, 2019
Yeoh (left) and Junita share the stage during the forum.

Yeoh (left) and Junita share the stage during the forum.

EXPERIENCED Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) practitioners need to be part of the education system as specialists.

Innovation in TVET must be strengthened.

Integrate STEM into TVET.

These were some of the points that were put across during the Malaysian TVET Forum 2019; a one-day forum organised by Kingsley Strategic Institute (KSI), that discussed important aspects of TVET over four sessions.

KSI president Tan Sri Michael Yeoh said as the nation moves towards the fourth Industrial Revolution and digital disruption, TVET will be critical in providing the skilled manpower the industry needs.

“We need (more) public and private partnerships to further scale-up the delivery of TVET programmes,” he added.

IBM Malaysia government and regulatory affairs director Hasnul Nadzrin Shah said TVET must be seen as a strategic enabler for national competitiveness, in the digital economy.

“In today’s world, we have to ensure that the country implements a “no one gets left behind” policy.

“TVET enabled employees will be an integral part of the digital transformation revolution.

“We have to make sure that TVET students are digitally literate and we leverage on their natural propensity to enjoy materials from the web.

“TVET must become mainstream and (be made) an integral part of the education (system),” he said.

Provide a platform for TVET students to improve on their skills, said National Union of the Teaching Profession secretary-general Harry Tan.

“This is so they can serve at a higher level.

“This is what we aspire to have, and it is a challenge we are facing,” he added.

Tan said the country needs to look at TVET not as an alternative, but as the main way forward. “Academics propel the country forward, (but) it cannot build (the nation).

“We need to stand up on our own feet and the only way we can progress is by (implementing) good policies,” he explained.

Taylor’s University faculty of innovation and technology executive dean Prof Dr David Asirvatham believes TVET will be a major supplier of the workforce as it is critical for the economy of the country.

“Some of the things we need to look into is how to introduce innovation in TVET.

“Among the approaches to strengthen innovation in TVET is, we need more project-based learning.

“The teaching of concepts must be strengthened, especially in terms of ideas, skills and knowledge, as well as building a (collaborative) team because innovation isn’t about individuality,” he added.

Relevant programmes and suitable career paths must be looked into, he said, to prepare graduates for a global market.

On the integration of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) into TVET, Eduspec Holdings Berhad chief executive officer Lim Een Hong feels TVET offers an ideal platform for integration.

“When STEM is taught, we need to focus on critical thinking, problem solving and creativity, which are essential for the workforce.

“(Here), there are similar elements between TVET and STEM, and how we can integrate them,” he explained.

It is possible to integrate STEM skills into each subject, he said, but more research needs to be done.

Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran said the 11th Malaysia Plan projects an increase in the percentage of skilled workers among the local workforce from 28% to 35% by 2020.

“In order to achieve this target, TVET is to become a game changer so that it could easily meet the demand and requirement of the industry in terms of addressing the mismatch.

“The target is to increase TVET students’ annual intake gradually from 164,000 in 2013 to 225,000 in 2020,” he added.

His speech text was read by human resources department planning and research division director Junita Mohamed Ali.

Kulasegaran said there are 564 public and 690 private TVET institutions in the country.

Among the challenges TVET face, he explained, include factors such as dual accreditation bodies, overlapping of courses offered by the institutions, non-uniformity of entry requirements and different fee structures.

Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching said changing the social perception of TVET is not an easy task.

“We have made significant progress in addressing the acceptance of TVET into mainstream education. “However, it is still perceived as the ‘second-best option’ in comparison to general education,” she said.

Her speech text was read by Education Ministry polytechnic and community college education department senior director (academics) Zainab Ahmad.

As economies transform, Teo said, TVET must as well, as it needs to adapt to the new configuration of the economy and a different cluster of needs.

By Sandhya Menon
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TVET, a stepchild no more

Sunday, January 20th, 2019
Students of Politeknik Ungku Omar get hands on training on automotive engineering at the workshop at their campus in Ipoh.

Students of Politeknik Ungku Omar get hands on training on automotive engineering at the workshop at their campus in Ipoh.

A framework has been proposed to address the long-standing problems of our TVET system

A NEW framework for technical and vocational training is in the pipelines.

If approved, the proposal will see a more streamlined, effective, and industry-relevant, Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) system.

Proposed by the National TVET Movement to the Economic Planning Unit last month, the framework aims to address the country’s ailing TVET system.

National TVET Movement vice-chairman Datuk Ahmad Tajudin Jab said if implemented, the framework would simplify our fragmented system, and prevent the overlapping of responsibilities between different government bodies.

“Our focus is on upper secondary school students. We want to create a TVET champion.

TVET students being trained to be industry-ready. — File photo

TVET students being trained to be industry-ready. — File photo

“We want students to have better access to choices between academics and something more hands-on like TVET. This is what’s happening in other countries,” said Ahmad Tajudin, who recently retired as the Education Ministry deputy director-general.

Among those part of the Movement are the Federation of Human Resources Ministry’s Department of Skills Development (JPK) Accredited Centres (FeMac), National Council of Professors, and the National Parent-Teacher Associations’ Vocational and Technical Consultative Council.

For too long, TVET has been the “troubled stepchild” of the education system, he said.

This framework tackles long-standing problems like the:

> Overlapping of programmes and certifications;

> Misguided focus on post-secondary TVET students instead of upper secondary students;

> Existence of multiple accreditation bodies and agencies implementing TVET;

> High operations cost resulting from the many ministries involved;

> Weak policies; and

> Private TVET providers being treated as competitors.

“All TVET institutions should be streamlined, rationalised, and consolidated, under the Education Ministry.

“This ensures that teachers and trainers are better taken care of under one scheme of service. And, there won’t be a need to close down any institutions if all facilities and resources are under one roof,” he said, adding that it would also be more cost effective for the Government while ensuring smoother communication between the industry and institutions.

Other reforms proposed by the Movement include:

> Reducing existing certifications to an important few;

> Having a single accreditation body for TVET;

> Establishing two educational pathways for students to choose from;

> Allowing industries to take the lead;

> Enhancing TVET apprenticeship programmes based on models from other developed countries; and

> Formulating policies and legislations to enhance careers in TVET.

Greater emphasis, and an overview, of TVET implementation is needed, Ahmad Tajudin said.

There should be training provisions to facilitate contributions from private TVET providers, and there must be closer collaboration between the industry and these providers.

“Our TVET system needs stronger institutional coordination, and greater transparency among the multiple public agencies.

“TVET restructuring is a small part of a holistic solution, but it’s a start to the reform,” he said, adding that strong political will from the Government was crucial to ensure the country’s TVET success.

Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik said the Government would continue enhancing the capabilities of TVET institutions and systems to remain competitive and meet industry demands.

Speaking during his annual new year address in Serdang on Monday, he said the ministry would implement a harmonised accreditation and quality assurance system to enable student mobility in TVET institutions, which includes the Malaysian Technical University Network (MTUN).

The launch of Limkokwing TVET International, a TVET Malaysia Training Centre at Limkokwing University.MOHD SAHAR MISNI/The Star

The launch of Limkokwing TVET International, a TVET Malaysia Training Centre at Limkokwing University.MOHD SAHAR MISNI/The Star

MTUN, he said, should move in the direction of Fachhochschule – Germany’s tertiary education institution specialising in topical areas.

MTUN, he added, shouldn’t be evaluated solely based on publications, but also on the ability of the graduates produced to solve technical issues.

He said the ministry plans to increase the quality and delivery of TVET by enabling the industry to lead the curriculum development, avoid overlapping of programmes and resources, improve cost effectiveness, and widen the funding to increase enrolment.

He said the ministry was also in the midst of addressing recognition issues involving controversial vocational colleges.

He assured polytechnics and community colleges that they wouldn’t be sidelined in the reform process.

“To ensure the employability of our graduates, closer collaboration between these institutions and the industry – especially with the big players – will be prioritised,” he said, adding that these were part of the ministry’s efforts in making sure that TVET, polytechnics, vocational colleges, and community colleges, are no longer seen as second choice options.

In June last year, Dr Maszlee appointed Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar to chair a special TVET task force.

The duties of the task force, said Dr Maszlee, was to conduct research across all ministries that provide TVET education and training, and recommend how the country’s TVET system can be improved. This includes a review of TVET education and training laws, and the possibility of a TVET commission.

However, the TVET industry was left reeling following Nurul Izzah’s resignation as PKR vice president on Dec 17, and her decision to no longer serve the federal government in any capacity.

By Sandhya Menon and Christina Chin
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Boost to TVET

Wednesday, November 21st, 2018
(File pix) The automotive industry is one of the sectors with openings for TVET graduates. Pix by Owee Ah Chun

ACCORDING to the Education Ministry’s Malaysia Education Blueprint (Higher Education), there will be an increase in demand for an additional 1.3 million Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) workers by 2020 in the 12 National Key Economic Areas identified under the government’s Economic Transformation Programme.

Under the 2019 Budget, the government will set up a TVET fund to create a more competitive environment as well as training programmes to fulfil industry need. Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng, who made the announcement in parliament, saidRM30 million has been allocated to this fund

TVET programmes in the country are offered at certificate, diploma and degree levels by seven ministries that include the Education Ministry, which offers the most TVET programmes to the highest number of students.

Presently, qualifications for academic (higher education) and vocational education offered by universities, polytechnics and community colleges under the ministry are accredited by the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA), whereas programmes offered by skills training institutions are accredited by the Department for Skill Development of the Human Resources Ministry.

With a renewed focus and direction given by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to fulfil the national agenda of Vision 2020, TVET education strives to provide a skilled Malaysian workforce which can benefit the industry.

It is estimated that 98,000 students sign up yearly to enrol in TVET programmes at 34 polytechnic institutions in the nation.

While the allocated sum for the fund was lauded by TVET providers such as polytechnics, community colleges and technical and vocational colleges as well as industry players, they also expressed their concerns.

Polytechnic and Community College Education Department senior director Zainab Ahmad stressed that the TVET fund is not enough to leverage on.

“Public TVET institutions are not rich organisations. Year after year, we are doing more with less budget allocation, spending more on operations and development.

“It is for us to come up with new curricula to stay relevant to cater to industry demand. However, we also need up-to-date and top-notch equipment, facilities and machineries for the students. Sometimes, we don’t have enough for maintenance or even our day-to-day operational costs,” she said.

“With the TVET fund, we need to allocate for training programmes as well as teaching and learning at 36 polytechnics and 102 community colleges nationwide.

“But we have the passion to nurture our students,” she added.

The department is aware that the industry must come first, hence it sets curricula that meet MQA requirements.

“MQA is an international accreditation agency equal to those in Australia, the United Kingdom and New Zealand.”

Kolej Vokasional Ekonomi Rumah Tangga (ERT) Setapak director Nor A’idah Johari is hopeful that vocational colleges will also get an allocation from the fund.

“We have 90 vocational colleges throughout the country including Sabah and Sarawak. We need to value add our facilities and infrastructure.

“At ERT Setapak, we are focused on upgrading our industrial kitchen and sewing machines so that students will experience the real world environment similar to hotels and the fashion industry.

“For example, our aim is one fashion student, one machine so that they know the tools of their trade,” said Nor A’idah.

University Teknologi Malaysia Corporate Fellow (UTM-Malaysia Petroleum Resources Corporation) Institute for Oil and Gas Adjunct Professor Zulkifli Abd Rani said as the government has a vision to create a 60 per cent TVET workforce by 2020 in line with the country’s aspirations to emerge as a developed nation, a dedicated and right funding is essential.

“The TVET fund is timely as without a dedicated fund, nothing will move effectively and efficiently.

In addition, the management of the fund must be given the utmost attention by all parties involved in TVET enhancement,” added Zulkifli.

Zulkifli, who is Techno Diverge Link Sdn Bhd managing director, said the acronym TVET also stands for Towards Victory in Educational Transformation—the reform of the TVET education system in line with the aspiration of the New Malaysia government.

“We need to ensure that 20 per cent is spent on planning and 80 per cent on execution with 100 per cent commitment on follow-up correction and proactive enhancement.

“Some may argue that the RM30 million allocation for the TVET fund is not enough. But it is an opportunity to work together smartly as one team with common objectives to come up with the desired programmes to meet TVET deliverables with the allocated fund.

“It is better than nothing. We need to ensure the right integration and seamless interface between various key ministries involved in TVET programmes under the purview of the newly set up TVET Coordination Committee led by Nurul Izzah Anwar. Professional members representing regulators from the government, academicians from polytechnics/universities, industry technocrats and consultants as well as non-governmental organisations representatives must be brought in,” added Zulkifli.

Apart from the restructuring and transformation of TVET training programmes, key stakeholders such as the government, polytechnics and the industry need to align and chart the way forward on areas of priority for the courses.

“This is to produce competent and highly skilled graduates to meet industry demand. In my view as a technocrat, the key relevant industries in the current landscape and future prospects which are extremely important to the nation are oil and gas, renewable energy, construction, manufacturing of electrical and electronics products, automotive, aviation, plantation, culinary and hotel management.”


The landscape of the industry has changed rapidly and tremendously over the last few years.

The industry needs highly skilled TVET graduates with leadership qualities and a good command of English.

Zulkifli said: “The overall framework on restructuring and transforming TVET training programmes needs to be revisited to reflect the current landscape of key relevant industries.

“The programmes need to address the country’s dependency on foreign workers especially in the skilled job categories.

“We must also recognise the shift of the industry from labour-intensive to knowledge-and-innovation-based-economic activities. TVET institutions must be equipped with the state-of-the-art technologies to expose both lecturers and students to the real world.

“TVET institutions must assist the industry in identifying training that suits its requirements. The collaboration must focus on regular site visits and specific duration of industrial hands-on training, for example.”

At a forum and dialogue session titled Building a Brighter Talent through TVET at the one-day National Industry Dialogue 2018: Living Skills in the 21st Century: TVET Empowerment, Zainab added: “At the Polytechnic and Community College Education Department, we try our best to take care of all the institutions under us — after all ‘poly’ connotes ‘many’ and there’s the ‘community’.

“We are at the crossroads of the old and new TVET mindsets.

“In addition to industry demand, we also have to cater to parents’ wants for their children. Society and the industry have high expectations of TVET institutions.

“And the companies may want the graduates to work for them until they retire but we have to consider their’ career development too. That’s why we also provide for a pathway to higher learning.”

The retail sector is a good area for vocational graduates.

“If they dream big, they may own their own businesses one day. The younger generation is IT-savvy and this gives them the chance to work on the Internet of Things open source networking so the country can go global.

“The majority of lecturers in polytechnics are from the engineering and technology fields. We also have a strong foundation in electronics and electrical and mechanical engineering to embrace the Fourth Industrial Revolution.


The transformation of vocational education, which began in 2013, has spurred the trend in the education scene in the country. This transformation has promulgated a shortcut for students to get their diploma qualification at vocational colleges after they finish Form Three.

Indeed the expansion of the vocational stream in the education system has been practised in many countries as the number of students gets bigger in line with technological advancement and economic demands of a particular country.

TVET also aims to produce a labour force competent in certain areas, hence internationalisation is one of the platforms to expose students and lecturers to the development of TVET abroad.

Nor A’idah said TVET students compete on the international stage and TVET institutions partner with industries and foreign universities to gain exposure.

Recently a delegation from vocational colleges went to China to look into internationalisation programmes.

“We visited colleges in Beijing that offer technical courses similar to our vocational programmes in Malaysia.

“The visit also opens up an opportunity for students to learn about living and learning abroad through dialogue sessions with the Malaysian Students Association in Beijing during the campus tour,” she added.

The visit was also designed to look at pedagogical practices of Malay Language Studies at Beijing Foreign Studies University.

“Students and lecturers also explored the learning environment and the use of technology and equipment at schools that offer skill-based courses in Beijing.

By Zulita Mustafa.

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National movement of TVET formed

Sunday, November 4th, 2018
Nordin (left) and Sailanathan speak on the TVET issue.

Nordin (left) and Sailanathan speak on the TVET issue.

NON-GOVERNMENTAL organisations, experts, academics and stakeholders have come together to form a body called the National Movement of TVET (Technical and Vocational Education Training) Empowerment.

The movement has devised a national framework for the betterment of TVET.

“We hope to propose this framework to the Government in the coming weeks.

“Some of the parties involved in the movement include the Federation of JPK Accredited Centres (FeMac), National Council of Professors and the National Parent-Teacher Associations’ Vocational and Technical Consultative Council.

“The crisis that has befallen it isn’t about our training model not meeting international standards but its structural governance,” said FeMAC honorary advisor Nordin Abdul Malek.

Nordin said it is imperative for relevant ministries to meet stakeholders and plan the future of TVET.

FeMAC is an association comprising members who are accredited TVET training providers.

Currently, there are over 350 accredited centres in the country registered with it as members.

One of the aspects put forward in the proposal by the movement is for the Government to be clear on TVET’s funding mechanism.

“In the future, we don’t want the Government to depend only on the Skills Development Fund Corporation (PTPK) but instead, on CSR funds as well as contributions from government-linked companies and industries,” he added.

FeMAC president P. Sailanathan outlined several pivotal issues affecting TVET.

“Currently, we don’t have a representative from FeMAC in the PTPK board.

“If stakeholders are not represented in the board, who else will then speak on behalf of the private sector?” he asked.

Sailanathan also called for transparency in the funding of PTPK loans, saying it should be independent and for it to function like the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN).

Between 2015 and 2018, PTPK loans have been cut by 60%.

“It should come under the Finance Ministry where there is no quota.

“Every student who applies for a PTPTN loan will receive some amount of money for their education.

“However for PTPK, the loan is based on the availability of funding.”

Sharing an example, Sailanathan said when an accredited centre with 400 students, for example, applies for loans, PTPK often only has enough funding quota for 100 students, due to the limitation of funds.

Therefore, the funding mechanism should be seamless like PTPTN, he added.

FeMAC hopes Human Resource Minister M Kula Segaran can meet stakeholders.

“We want to know whether we are and will be relevant as we currently have no clear guideline for the next five years.

“Let us know your plans for TVET’s private sector.”

Give Malaysian TVET trainers opportunities as we have capable trainers, Sailanathan added.

He was commenting on Kula Segaran’s recent announcement on the Government’s plans to recruit trainers from India and Ukraine to train Malaysian TVET trainers.

By Sandhya Menon

Tvet, a viable pathway

Wednesday, October 17th, 2018
(File pix) Mohd Hazzerwan Mohd Hazzlee is collaborating with big names in fashion.

For many students, tertiary education is the ticket to good jobs, opening up opportunities to be successful in life.

Parents, teachers and society in general have ingrained this in children from a young age.

To graduate with a degree, students spend years learning in class which may leave them little time for internships to gain experience at the workplace. But in today’s competitive job market, practical experience is the number one quality employers look for in hires.

Although tertiary education has always been the top choice for many students, technical and vocational education and training (Tvet) offers a compelling career path especially for Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) school-leavers.

Tvet graduate Mohd Hazzerwan Mohd Hazzlee, co-founder and creative director of Wan & Mary, said a vocational college education has helped him to realise his dream. The collection consists of arts and cultural elements which mix high fashion with street fashion to meet current trends.

The Diploma in Fashion Design graduate from Kolej Kemahiran Tinggi Mara Rembau (KKTMR) said: “I rejected offers of different courses from top public and private universities because I wanted to pursue something that I love—fashion and art.”

Mohd Hazzerwan later pursued the Degree in Fashion design course at Heriot Watt university of Edinburgh, United Kingdom.

“At first I was a bit hesitant to apply for the fashion course at KKTMR as the institution was new then and was taking in its first batch of students. But I am glad I took a chance.

“I had the most amazing experience at KKTMR. until now, the lecturers have been supportive as it is not easy being in the fashion industry.”

Having recently won a prize of RM100,000 in Gen F (generasi Fesyen), a programme for budding fashion designers, Mohd Hazzerwan is collaborating with big names in fashion.

He is excited at his latest partnership with Fashion valet for its ready-to-wear collection.

He is also preparing to make his debut at International Fashion Week next year in either London, Paris or Milan.

There has been growing concern over the rate of employability among fresh graduates, be it from local or private institutions. Students today may aspire to professions which may not be relevant to the country’s needs.

This may be due to lack of exposure and knowledge on the economic outlook in the country. Nevertheless, students have to plan their careers carefully.

TVET programmes are often deemed inferior to courses offered by private and local universities. It is unfortunate that there seems to be a stigma attached to those who pursue TVET. The younger generation needs to realise the importance of TVET and regard it as a viable pathway.

Associate Professor Dr Mohamad Sattar Rasul from the Department of Learning and Teaching Innovation (Technical and Vocational Education/Engineering Education) at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s Faculty of Education said that this misconception of TVET is common among low academic achievers.

“We have heard success stories and achievements of TVET graduates who may earn more than degree holders,” he commented, adding that a teacher’s role is imperative to see TVET in a new light.

“It is essential to expose secondary school teachers to the TVET educational framework and career path. Teachers have to stop regarding TVET as the second or last option for SPM school-leavers.

“Our country’s TVET framework is unique where students have many course options. Those who do not do well academically have the chance to pursue higher education regardless of their SPM results.

“TVET in Malaysia must be revamped or remodelled after the German and Japanese curricula which are endorsed by the industry. Professional bodies in Malaysia need to step up and ensure the standard curriculum is in line with industry need. The curriculum here was developed by the board at an institution which sometimes does not cater to industry demand.”

The country needs a skilled workforce and innovators who possess a high creativity in utilising its resources for manufacturing and produce good services to compete globally.

“TVET is important is many ways especially in the economic and social context. The government has emphasised that TVET graduates are not job seekers but job creators. This will contribute to the country’s economic growth and the sustainability of our social context in handling future challenges.”


TVET offers a rich array of programmes in many fields including automotive, culinary arts, electronics, engineering, entrepreneurship and journalism. It involves learning in class and hands-on training, which provide knowledge and skills for employment.

TVET students are equipped with specific skills in a specific field. Early exposure to practical and on-the-job-training ready them for the workplace.

CKL Group of Companies, which is best known for its Lim Tayar car service centres, established School of Skills (SoS) to meet industrial need for local experts and skilled labour in the automotive industry. SoS aims to instil its students with real-world experience, ready for the workplace.

CKL Group of Companies, executive director Clement Lim said that SoS is important to produce skilled workers in the automotive sector.

“SoS acts as a self-mitigation tool for the company to alleviate dependency on foreign workers. We hope to nurture more talents and hone quality recruits for the industry.

“SoS offers programmes designed to give students the skills they need to become skilled and professional workers. The number of cars on the road is increasing, making the automotive field a big market. Hence, once students finish their studies at SoS, a job placement is guaranteed.”

SoS training department head Daneshwaran Krishnasamy said trained experts in all fields are in demand in the country.

“Our programmes boost skills and the workforce in the automotive field. By doing something practical and hands-on, we are able to draw out students’ interest easily. Many of our students, who did not perform well academically, are passionate when it comes to practical training.

“This industry is lacking in manpower. I used to work at BMW car services where the technicians were highly paid. Some were confident enough to leave and set up their own workshops for premium cars.

“The biggest advantage of SoS is its workshop where students spend most of their training hours. However, this school is not for Lim Tayar alone. After finishing their advanced diploma, students can apply for internships at any automotive workshops in the country,” he added.

SoS offers theoretical and practical training, and the work-integrated Train and Place programme, which involves four months of classroom-based learning followed by eight months of industry exposure.


Generally, students go through 11 years of academic-based primary and secondary education.

Students who are not academically inclined can opt for vocational college as early as 16 years old upon completing Form Three.

Aiman Hakeem Aminuddin decided not to follow the mainstream path of applying to university despite scoring 8As in the SPM examination. The MRSM Tun Ghaffar student enrolled in the Diploma in Light Vehicle Maintenance course at SoS instead.

“I chose to pursue a TVET programme because I realised that picking up a skill benefits me in many ways, not only for future job prospects but also in my daily life.

“My family and I were going back to our hometown when the car tyre was punctured. Having learnt the skills in my diploma course, I was able to change the tyre without help,” he said.

“My parents convinced me to pursue a TVET programme. When the results for university applications were released, I did not even check mine as I was determined to study at a vocational college.


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Degree level studies for TVET diploma holders

Thursday, October 4th, 2018
Deputy Energy, Technology, Science, Climate Change and Environment Minister Isnaraissah Munirah Majilis (fifth from left) with Malaysia Board of Technologists (MBOT) president Tan Sri Ahmad Zaidee Laidin (fourth from left) and Deputy Human Resources Minister Datuk Mahfuz Omar in a group picture to commemorate the signing of the memorandum of understanding between MBOT and the Technology Expert Panel in Putrajaya. Pix by Ahmad Irham Mohd Noor

TECHNICAL and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) diploma holders will soon have the opportunity to study at the bachelor’s degree level in four universities under the Malaysian Technical University Network (MTUN), creating better career opportunities for their future.

This follows the exchange of 21 memoranda of understanding (MoUs) between the Malaysia Board of Technologists (MBOT) with the Technology Expert Panel (TEP), a strategic alliance between three sectors, namely government agencies, industry and the academia, under the purview of the Human Resource Ministry, Energy, Technology, Science, Climate Change and Environment Ministry, and Education Ministry, in Putrajaya last week.

Deputy Human Resources Minister Datuk Mahfuz Omar said the initiative will look at existing gaps that TVET graduates face in terms of qualifications to enable them to further their studies at Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia, Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka, Universiti Malaysia Pahang and Universiti Malaysia Perlis.

“What seems to be the problem for most TVET diploma holders is that they don’t have the necessary Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia credits required by MTUN for entry. We hope to prepare students at TVET colleges with the necessary requirements before they apply to enter MTUN universities,” he said.

However, Mahfuz said, even if TVET diploma holders did not further their studies at universities, they will have the advantage of being recognised as professional technologists and certified technicians.

“We must explore collaborations with international bodies so that our TVET graduates will not only have certificates from Malaysia but also be internationally certified.

That way, they can either work abroad or gain better positions when foreign investors come to Malaysia through recognition accorded,” he added.

MBOT, the professional body that gives professional recognition to technologists and technicians in related technology and technical fields, has already embarked on the articulation process to enable TVET diploma holders to bridge the gap towards the bachelor’s degree level education, said its president, Tan Sri Ahmad Zaidee Laidin.

“The process entails matching the courses, requirements and coursework at vocational colleges with that at higher education institutions. This will ensure that courses the students complete will not have to be repeated at the institution to which they are transferring”, said Zaidee.

He said MBOT has signed an MoU with Education Ministry’s Malaysian Qualifications Agency to facilitate the process for the MTUN initiative.

“On the private higher education side, UniKL is already working with MBOT to facilitate entry of technologists and technicians into their degree courses,” he said.

Mahfuz said in supporting the country’s aspiration towards Industrial Revolution 4.0, MBOT is seen asadynamic and flexible professional body and most relevant platform to leverage expertise and skills from various areas of technology under its wings.

“This advanced technological elements are pervasively embedded into the TVET curricular right up to the technological practicing provision, to add value to the various booming industrial sectors in Malaysia,” he said.

At the MoU exchange, among the TEP panel members that were represented were CyberSecurity Malaysia, DRB-Hicom University of Automotive Malaysia. Allied Aeronautics Training Centre Sdn Bhd, Mara Corporation, the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport and Federation of Malaysian Skills Development Centres.


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TVET, a relevant choice

Wednesday, September 5th, 2018
School of Skills head trainer Daneshwaran Krishnasamy (left) explaining to students the inner functions of a motor engine.

IN coping with today’s competitive job market, students have to plan their future and career aspirations carefully.

Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programme is an option worth noting, although often seen as inferior to programmes offered by other tertiary education institutions.

The perception that TVET is only for students who do not excel in their studies has completely changed today. TVET is relevant as it involves education and hands-on job training, which provide knowledge and skills for employment.

People are starting to realise its importance and are opting for vocational courses to gain skills in different fields. TVET prepares students with specific skills for a specific job, thus, making employment easier as they are trained and equipped with the right skills. This gives TVET graduates an advantage in the job market compared with fresh college graduates, who may not have the relevant skills for the working industry.

Realising the deficit in the supply of skilled labour in the local automotive industry, CKL group launched the School of Skills (SoS), that provides vocational training for youths to fulfil the automotive industry’s need for skilled labour.

Executive director of CKL Group Companies, Clement Lim.

With the changes arising from economic and social development, this country requires a worker to be well trained in technical and professional skills. This is what SoS aspires to do — to groom its students with a real-world experience for their future employment.

SoS wants to further develop the vocational training offerings in Malaysia to build human capital, which has been proven to increase youth employment and benefit the industrial sector.

CKL Group started off with Lim Tayar, a homegrown automotive retail service company in 1985.

Clement Lim, executive director of CKL Group Companies said: “The main reason for the establishment of SoS is to act as a self-mitigation tool for this company. We want to produce more local experts in the automotive field as it is against the rule to hire foreign workers.”

“In SoS, we offer courses and programmes that are designed to give students the skills they need to become skilled and professional workers in automotive industry.”

“This industry is a big market. We can guarantee a job placement for each of our student so they can put their obtained skills to work after finishing the programme,” he said.

SoS Training Department head Daneshwaran Krishnasamy said picking up a skill is never a waste.

“The number of cars is increasing every day. I believe we are lacking of professional manpower in this industry. This programme will boost the skills and workforce in automotive field as Malaysia is in demand of trained experts.

“TVET will result in productive employment and act as an important factor in the country’s economic development,” he added.

“The biggest advantage of SoS is that we have our own workshop, where students spend most of their training hours. After their advanced diploma, the students will go through a three-month internship at any of 20 Lim Tayar outlets or other automotive workshops in Malaysia.

“However, students do not necessarily have to work with Lim Tayar once they graduate,” he said.

Located in Setia Alam, the training centre offers theoretical and practical training and a work-integrated learning programme called “Train and Place”, which involves four months of classroom-based learning followed by eight months of industry exposure.

Among the courses in SoS are Sijil Kemahiran Malaysia (SKM) in Automotive after Sales Servicing, Diploma in Automotive Technology and Advanced Diploma in Automotive

Diagnostic Technology.

Students attending a briefing with School of Skills trainer.

“Additionally, students learn English communication skills, personal grooming and self-discipline as a part of their assessment. These are the skills that they need once the step into the industry,” said Lim.

The school will introduce a new non-automotive programme — Electronic, Plumbing and Air-conditioning (EPAC) course starting next month.

Lim said promoting SoS was a challenge as TVET programme was not the mainstream path for SPM school-leavers as compared with other education institutions.

He believed that TVET ensured individuals were equipped with relevant skills and assured to a strong degree of employment.

“There are many misconceptions about those who choose TVET as they are known as the blue-collared workers. However, their work prospects are high in demand and they can do the things that we can’t,” said Lim.

“In Malaysia especially, there is no awareness on boosting the skill workforce although our country needs more of them. Some of them are earning a higher income than degree-holders,” he said.


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Making TVET a relevant choice

Sunday, August 12th, 2018

THE Asia Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Forum 2018 recently concluded with Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik promising to make it the first choice for students in Malaysia.

Few countries have attracted a majority of their students to join a vocational track as their first choice. An exceptional case is Germany.

I visited Germany last year as a TVET visiting professor. I believe the German students are attracted to TVET due to its first-class infrastructure, industry-driven curriculum and high employability.

When visiting a German Berufsschule (vocational school); it was as if I was at a Technical University with first-class equipment, advanced technology and teachers with Masters’ degrees and craftsman qualifications. No wonder, German students are attracted to making this their first choice.


Elite Meister High School in South Korea has attracted high-achievers to choose the vocational track because of its prestige.

In the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the usage of smart robots, autonomous vehicles and Artificial Intelligence should be ubiquitous. Klaus Schwab, the founder of the World Economic Forum, asserts that the fourth industrial revolution will fundamentally alter the way we live, communicate, work and play.

According to McClean (2018), it is estimated that 75% of future jobs will involve Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) knowledge and skills. We will increasingly need workers who have critical thinking and problem-solving skills; have multidisciplinary and cross-cultural competencies; communication skills, and social, emotional, digital and vocational intelligences. In other words, a learner with multiple intelligences should be welcomed to join TVET.

A Korn Ferry recent report shows that a major faux pas is imminent throughout the world. Demand for skilled workers will outstrip supply in most countries. On the global scale, the report has highlighted a global talent shortage of more than 85.2 million people by 2030. In the context of talent crunch, the shortage in Asia Pacific region could reach 12.3 million people and estimated US$4.23 trillion (RM17.46 trillion) of revenue loss by 2030 due to the talent deficit in certain sectors. Even companies that are using Artificial Intelligence and smart robots foresee a growing need for human talent with advance intelligent skills. The Korn Ferry report shows that 67% of CEOs believe that advanced technology is critical for companies’ growth.

The gap between TVET and industry should be reduced. Lack of specific legislation in Malaysia that requires companies to shoulder training hand-in-hand with the public vocational training institutions as in Germany is evident.

Since 1969, Germany’s Federal Legislation makes it compulsory for industry involvement in Vocational Education and Training.

As a TVET expert, I admire the German Vocational Education and Training System because of its focus on quality without any political interference. Excellence in any system requires two things: quality and merit. We need a critical mass of intelligent-workers who are using cutting edge technologies. Malaysia should also become a magnet for attracting the best foreign talent. But more importantly, the government should be mindful of its citizens’ employability in the context of the global talent market.

Adjusting teaching styles

It is essential that TVET institutions and industry invest in intelligent skilled talent, first-class infrastructure and provide continued access to both formal and on-the-job training opportunities. In this sense, the government should embrace more flexible education and training eco-system and labour laws.

Generation Z or millennials will make up 60% of the workforce by 2020. These techno-junkies and Wifi generation prefer an interactive approach to learning, which blends information through a montage of images, icons, sound, video, animation and Artificial Intelligence. Gen Zs take advantage of the enormous resources of the cyberspace by using digital technologies to create something innovative. Unless teachers possess digital intelligence and skills, Gen Zs will get bored. Educators have to adjust their teaching styles to accommodate the psyche of Gen-Tech. A new digital pedagogy is required.

In the digital age, to accommodate the expectations of the Gen Zs, educators need to possess digital intelligence, digital literacy, creative thinking, agility and flexibility. The future of education will be more virtual, mobile, interactive, personalised, dynamic and innovative. Digital learners prefer customised curriculum, instruction, and assessment. To embrace true digital transformation, the need for visionary, creativity, agility, flexibility and esprit de corps among teachers and learners is a must.

SThe intelligent-based TVET model isn’t only about technology, it is about bringing together the power of innovation, a new culture and a new mindset that embraces the change brought by the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

TVET has been rebranded several times in the past. They mostly focused on enhancing the quality of TVET talent and skills. But building “intelligent TVET” is missing from the reform agenda. An intelligent-based TVET model should be developed to bridge its curriculum with the industry’s needs.

Key resolutions from the Asia TVET Forum 2018 are to enhance the 3As: Accessibility, Articulation and Accreditation. But what is lacking is the fourth A – Autonomy for TVET institutions.

American philosopher of education, John Dewey argued that in order for education to flourish, it requires “substantial autonomy” for institutions, teachers and learners.

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The value of technical skills

Wednesday, June 13th, 2018
Hanis Syuhada works with cows as it has been her ambition to care for the well-being of large animals since her primary school days.

Hanis Syuhada works with cows as it has been her ambition to care for the well-being of large animals since her primary school days.

ALBERT Einstein once said: “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.”

Yet in this corner of the world, many people – the older generation in particular – still do so by holding on to the mindset that achieving high academic scores equates to success.

They deem university education as most prestigious and believe nothing else, including Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), can beat that.

However, TVET graduates Nur Izzati Athirah Mohamad Yusof, 21, and Hanis Syuhada Abd Halim, 21, beg to differ.

Nur Izzati Athirah, now a full time certified underwater welder and trainer, said she chose the tough profession as it presented challenges, which allowed her to improve her skillsets through experiential and practical learning.

Nur Izzati Athirah dressed in full gear as she prepares to carry out her job under water.

Nur Izzati Athirah dressed in full gear as she prepares to carry out her job under water.

“Some misconceptions people have towards vocational training is that it doesn’t offer job opportunities and that it is hard to enter university with it. We all have opportunities, but it is up to us to find and secure them,” said the lass who completed her diploma in welding technology from a vocational college in Taiping, as well as underwater welding training from Weldzone Training Centre Sdn Bhd.

Hanis Syuhada, a full time assistant veterinarian in a dairy farm in Desaru, Johor, said TVET allowed those – like herself – who are not academically inclined to pursue something which they are passionate about.

“The perception whereby academic achievement is deemed as success is wrong. Getting a string of As in exams does not determine our success in the workplace.

“Those who are good in academics are idea contributors, but it is skilled workers who execute the work,” said the animal lover who now tends to the cows on the farm, caring for their every need from feeding, nursing to performing surgery during their labour.

“Caring for the well-being of large animals was my ambition since primary school, even though I knew it wouldn’t be easy and that not all ladies can handle it,” said Hanis Syuhada who graduated from Kolej Vokasional Datuk Lela Maharaja, Rembau, Negri Sembilan in August last year.

Challenges and advantages

Fondly known as “cow girl” due to the nature of her work, Hanis Syuhada – who wants to be the top in her field – said it was tough breaking into the male dominated sector.

“I have faced discrimination where my male colleagues would tell me that I’m doing is a man’s job.

“I turn their negativity into motivation. The more they tell me I can’t do it, the more I’ll do it to prove to them and myself that I can,” she said, adding that no one should be afraid of pursuing their dreams.

“TVET also made me realise that I can do what my male colleagues can do, and this gave my confidence a boost,” said Hanis Syuhada who hopes more females would follow in her footsteps to take up a course of their liking in TVET.

Fortunately for Nur Izzati Athirah otherwise known as the Iron Lady, she did not face discrimination in the workplace. However, her work environment is its own challenge.

The brave lass has to muster her courage to overcome her fear of water and has to risk running into wild marine animals each time she carries out her job underwater.

Hanis Syuhada works with cows as it has been her ambition to care for the well-being of large animals since her primary school days.

On the advantages, Nur Izzati Athirah said it helped her be braver and toughened her up.

“TVET helped me advance in my career and created healthy competition between me and my male colleagues.

“The training is also important to produce skilled workers that the country lacks,” she said.

Hanis Syuhada agreed, saying that the country can gradually reduce its dependence on foreign workers if more skilled and certified workers are produced locally.

“TVET can also help raise the reputation of Malaysia’s skilled workers sector because the country does have talented individuals,” she said, adding that good skilled workers can also venture overseas to make a good living as well as expand their knowledge in their respective fields.

Bright futures for certified grads

Weldzone Training Centre Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Mohd Shukri Mohd Abdul Aziz said he was proud of Nur Izzati Athirah, noting that she is a good role model for the youth.

“She is doing very well. She tries very hard to do her best because she is competing in a male dominated occupation,” said the man who has over 30 years of experience in the field.

Nur Izzati Athirah’s achievement can open the eyes of other youths, helping them realise that underwater welding can provide one with a promising career, he said.

She has a bright future ahead of her as she has had many job offers coming from within and beyond the country, he added.

Former Deputy Education Minister Datuk Chong Sin Woon previously said TVET students are highly sought after and are being offered good jobs – with about 90% out of 13,000 TVET students securing jobs even before graduating last year.

He noted that the starting salary of TVET graduates started from RM2,000, reaching up to RM5,000 a month – which is comparable to university graduates.

“Vocational and technical graduates don’t just end up opening beauty salons or bakeries, many of them work for multinational companies like (aircraft manufacturer) Boeing, which has a service centre in Malaysia.

“If your children aren’t interested in academic studies, don’t force them. Let them choose their career paths according to their interests,” he said previously.

More to be done in TVET

Mohd Shukri said TVET enables individuals who are not academically inclined to excel in whichever field they are capable in.

“They are able to gain valuable hands-on experience as well as get good certification upon completing a certified programme,” he said.

However, he pointed out that initiatives to propel TVET are still lacking in the country.

“There are roughly 53 institutions in Malaysia that train welders, but sadly many of them train students using outdated machines and technology.

“I engaged about 100 TVET graduates previously and they didn’t know how to operate the new machines. They had to go through another round of intensive training and that cost time and resources,” he shared, noting that there is a gap between TVET institutions and the industry that needs to be filled.

“Institutions need advisors who are from the industry to keep them updated on what is happening at grassroots level. They also need to be more open to suggestions and should not get angry when issues are brought up,” he said.

He also shared that success stories of TVET graduates as well as those who draw a salary of RM5,000 a month make up a very small percentage and this should change.

For more females to break into male dominated fields, Mohd Shukri said workers’ – the males in particular – need to improve their proffesionalism.

“Some female welders I have trained were prohibited from entering their work premises to carry out their jobs, not because they were not good in what they do, but because the management was concerned on their safety as the number of male workers greatly overshadowed them,” he said.

With only about 8% of secondary students involved in TVET last year, Chong had reiterated to parents to change the outdated view that university education was more prestigious, especially when university graduates were struggling to secure jobs.

He pointed out the country must catch up to advanced countries like Germany and Switzerland, where almost 60% of their students are in TVET.

During the Going Global 2018 international conference held in Kuala Lumpur last month, Asean Secretariat deputy secretary-general for socio-cultural community Vongthep Arthakaivalvatee said Asean was trying to give TVET the recognition it deserves and a special working group has been formed “to push TVET to a higher level within Asean.” He added that these are all part of efforts to prepare the region for the fourth industrial revolution.

By Lee Chonghui
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TVET, fulfilling human capital needs

Monday, May 14th, 2018
Equal value: One of the aspirations of the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2015-2025 (Higher Education) is to have academic and TVET pathways valued and cultivated equally. — Bernama

Equal value: One of the aspirations of the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2015-2025 (Higher Education) is to have academic and TVET pathways valued and cultivated equally. — Bernama

TECHNICAL and vocational education and training (TVET) is not only meant to fulfil the human capital needs of the industry, but also to provide social mobility opportunities to the marginalised.

Higher Education Ministry Polytechnic Education director-general Prof Dr Mohd Ismail Abd Aziz said about 80% of students in polytechnics are from families in the B40 category.

“Many people enrol in TVET courses because they’ve missed the opportunity to enter university.

“This isn’t because they are not smart but it’s because they come from difficult backgrounds,” he said.

For those who are less academically inclined, he added that, the TVET pathway still allows students to gain professional certification, obtain decent jobs and move up the social ladder.

He explained that students can pursue their certification at one of the 105 community colleges in Malaysia before continuing their diploma at a polytechnic.

From there, they can study for their degrees in university and even continue right up to PhD level.

During the recent Going Global 2018 international conference, Prof Mohd Ismail said Malaysia is actively promoting TVET as the educational pathway of choice to its citizens.

He said one of the aspirations of the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2015-2025 (Higher Education) is to have academic and TVET pathways valued and cultivated equally.

Under the Economic Transformation Programme, Malaysia will require a 2.5-fold increase in TVET enrolment by 2025.

Pathway of choice: Prof Mohd Ismail (standing) speaking to delegates during the Going Global 2018 international conference.

Pathway of choice: Prof Mohd Ismail (standing) speaking to delegates during the Going Global 2018 international conference.

Presently, there is an undersupply of TVET workers in 10 of the 12 National Key Economic Area sectors.

Prof Mohd Ismail was one of the presenters during the “What Skills Do Learners Really Need?” during the conference.

He said that the ministry has also been actively and continuously engaging with the industries to find out how TVET institutions can fulfil industry needs.

“We ask them what it is they want from the education institutions? What do they want in the curriculum? What type of graduates do they want and when do they want them?” he elaborated.

He said that industry representatives also come to the polytechnics to teach students.

They have also given their input and helped design our programmes, he added.

The Malaysian polytechnics and community colleges have a very good employability record.

“Around 95%, which is the expectation set by the Higher Education Ministry for our TVET programmes,” he added.

“The industries expect students coming out from our TVET institutions to be able to start work immediately after completing their courses.”

There are many industry-led components to ensure TVET graduates are highly employable.

One of them is work-based learning, said Prof Mohd Ismail, where the students spend a year or more working in the industry to gain experience.

There are about 16,000 industry partners working with the ministry to improve and promote TVET education in Malaysia.

Based on their discussions, he said the industry has asked that students coming out from TVET institutions be holistic, entrepreneurial and balanced.

To achieve this, Prof Mohd Ismail says all 37 polytechnics, 105 community colleges and 20 public universities have implemented the Integrated Cumulative Grade Point Average (iCPGA) system to gauge student outcomes.

The iCGPA assesses students across eight domains of learning outcomes including knowledge, social responsibility, communications, leadership and teamwork, problem solving skills, entrepreneurial skills, as well as values and ethics.

With these skills, combined with the “hard skills” they learn at the TVET institutions, these students are ready to meet the needs of the fourth industrial revolution, he added.

During the Redesigning Higher Education for 4.0 Industrial Revolution – The Asean Experience session, Higher Education deputy secretary-general and chief information officer Datuk Dr Kamel Mohamad said the Higher Education Ministry wants to recognise the importance of TVET professions.

“Right now we are promoting TVET no longer as a second choice,” he explained.

He added that the government has taken various initiatives to promote TVET including the formation of the Malaysia Board of Technologists to recognise technologists and technicians as recognised professions.

The ministry, he added, has merged the department of polytechnics and department of community colleges to ease collaboration among the departments.

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