Manyin: Stop stigmatising vocational education

Manyin presents a trophy and certificate to a student. At left is Kuching Vocational College director Ng Fook Yin. — Photo by Chimon Upon

KUCHING: Vocational education should not be stigmatised as an option for dropouts because skilled workers are key to steering Malaysia towards developed nation status.

Minister of Education, Science and Technological Research Dato Sri Michael Manyin Jawong stressed that parents should instead motivate their children to go for vocational training.

According to him, as early as the 1970s, vocational education became stigmatised as the option for dropouts who failed to excel in public examinations.

“At that time, people thought that you’re there because you’re a dropout, so vocational school was not very popular. Our education system is academic-centric and does not emphasise skills training,” he said during the Kuching Vocational College’s awards presentation ceremony yesterday.

“This is why today we are so far behind in terms of skilled workers compared to other developed nations.” Manyin said Malaysia only has a 7 per cent skilled workforce at present compared to South Korea’s 96 per cent, Germany at 80 per cent, the United States at 75 per cent, and China at 45 per cent.

“Malaysia has only 7 per cent, so how do we compete with the world? So we don’t talk about the 4.0 industrial revolution. We are now still at 2.0 industrial stage,” he lamented.

Manyin pointed out that in the next five to 10 years, about 80 per cent of jobs would be science- and engineering- or skills-based.

He also quoted a projection that 1.5 million jobs in Malaysia would require skills training by 2020.

“Our education system is too exam-oriented and in Malaysia, people are embarrassed to tell others that ‘I’m a plumber’ or ‘I’m an electrician’. In Germany, they don’t ask you what degree you have, but what skills you have,” he added.

He stressed that with the right training, skilled workers could even earn more than those in other sectors.

“Get the correct training and you will be the future of Malaysia. When we reach 4.0 industrial revolution, those with degree qualifications might not be able to get jobs but with specific skills, you will be competitive and employable.

Let vocational training be the first choice for our boys and girls. Tell the world that you have skills, that you can be more productive than others,” he said.

MCA Youth holds second round of vocational education talks

Leong (centre) and other MCA Youth members with posters promoting the talks.

KUALA LUMPUR: A series of technical and vocational education and training (TVET) education talk will be held in several states to promote its importance as an alternative education and career path for students.

MCA Youth secretary-general Datuk Leong Kim Soon said the second session of the talk was organised following the success of the first session in April.

“Unlike the first session which was organise in our headquarters and several MCA branches, this time, we will have it in secondary schools for students.

“We had the first educational talk of the second session in Segamat, Johor on Sept 13 and response was encouraging.

“More than 1,000 attendees are expected to attend the (TVET) educational talk and is open to the public,” he said during a press conference at Wisma MCA here.

The talks, organised by MCA Youth, will be held in Setiawan, Perak; Kapar, Selangor; Sungai Petani, Kedah; Kuala Lumpur, Seremban, Negeri Sembilan and Teluk Intan throughout October and November.

Leong reiterated that students should look into the importance of TVET as there was a severe shortage of skilled workers, especially in the agricultural and wood-based industries.

“Under the 11th Malaysia Plan (11MP), the Government announced an allocation of RM1bil for the Skills Development Fund for students to receive vocational education.

“However, vocational education should not be seen as an option for poor academic achievers but an additional choice for the right career path one wished to venture in,” he said,

“Parents should also encourage their children to consider vocational education as an alternative path in their career,” he said, adding that there will more talks to be added soon.

Technical, vocational education to be main pathway for post-SPM students, says minister

oHigher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh says there will be more vacancies for technical and vocational roles in the next 10 years. – The Malaysian Insider pic, August 25, 2015.oHigher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh says there will be more vacancies for technical and vocational roles in the next 10 years. – The Malaysian Insider pic, August 25, 2015.Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programmes will become the premier education pathway for students after obtaining their Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) by 2025.

Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh said this was because the ministry had forecasted that TVET programmes would grow by 8% by 2025 compared to only 3% for the academic field.

“TVET will become the premier route for SPM school leavers because the salary offered in the market would be more lucrative with a minimum of RM2,500 a month after graduation.

“Parents do not have to worry about the future of children if they fail to enter a university because they can choose to undergo TVET programmes at community and vocational colleges to ensure a brighter future (for them),” he said when opening the Internship Programme Convocation ceremony at the MMC Gamuda Community College in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Idris said that according to a study there were some 30 million unemployed people recorded worldwide but there were 50 million job vacancies to be filled.

“The job vacancies mostly involve skilled labour and a lot of companies, such as those in the construction and engineering field in the country, are in need of such expertise.

“With the emergence of more TVET graduates, it is expected to fill the job vacancies on offer by most of the companies in the country,” he said. – Bernama, August 25, 2015.

Source: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/technical-vocational-to-be-main-pathway-for-post-spm-students

 

Vocational education: A new driver for economic diversity in ASEAN?

Pic: AP.

Pic: AP

By Murray Hunter

Education is generally accepted to be one of the major drivers of economic growth. This is one of the major infrastructural investments any government will channel a large percentage of their GNP into, to build an educational system that will support the country’s vision of its intended future growth path.

To the majority of the ASEAN economies the intended growth path has been industrialization. Within the education sphere, we have seen a mad scramble by government to create and develop universities as the prime medium to educate their young citizens in discipline based knowledge that will lend well to enhancing industrial skills and productivity. In Malaysia, this has led to a fervor to achieve high university rankings.

Most ASEAN governments have built a number of vocational training schools and institutes that focus on providing ‘hands on’ and ‘practical skills’ in specific trades like engineering, electronics, automotive, ICT, petrochemical, tourism and hospitality, food, textiles, agriculture, and nursing, etc. These institutions are in parallel to the university system, principally aimed to provide higher education opportunities to students who could not be generally be accepted into universities.

For this reason, vocational education has long been depicted as second class, which prompted the government of Malaysia to upgrade vocational schools into colleges with certificate and diploma structures that resembled university structures. As such, most courses are two and four year long with the objective of placing the student into the industrial workforce after graduation.

However the evolving social-economic panorama within the ASEAN region is shifting dramatically. The major cities in the region can be considered fully developed metropolises in the economic sense of the word. In contrast, many rural areas are still very much underdeveloped. These areas are losing skilled people, who drift to the cities with expectations of ‘big economic opportunities’, leading to a labor and expertise drain in rural areas. This rural malaise has been compounded with the collapse in the prices of commodities like rubber of late.

There has been a great emphasis on creating the economic usefulness of graduates. In Thailand for example, most vocational colleges are in the hands of the private sector which produce high numbers of graduates with certificates and diplomas, targeting career jobs in industry, medical, hospitality, and the service sectors. Malaysian polytechnics are producing graduates with diplomas in disciplines like robotic studies, which are only useful in specific industries. Polytechnics are created on the premise of providing infrastructure to produce human capital to service foreign manufacturers in specific industries.

The vocational education infrastructure within the ASEAN region, with its emphasis on developing industrial skills for industry, has been largely at the expense of creating craft and skills-based education that would assist enterprise start-ups of micro-SMEs.

With the changing economic landscape, ASEAN policy makers need to look beyond industry as the prime economic driver. They need to consider new paradigms of education beyond developing industrial skills to increase diversity and create new and enhanced value in their respective economies today.

Business schools have been generally considered the centres where most new entrepreneurs will be created. However the curricula and modes of teaching are not installing creativity and innovation very well in their cohorts. This can be best seen with final year students doing useless unpaid jobs at banks, airports, and government departments, giving queue cards to customers for their internships. By their very nature, business schools with no technology anchors are not coupling general business skills with technical skills. They disseminate business knowledge without the ‘hands on’ enterprise skills which are needed to set up new businesses. In effect students within ASEAN business schools are getting an incomplete entrepreneurial education.

This is where vocational education can step in. Vocational training should become much wider than occupational training and incorporate entrepreneurship as one of the prime objectives. There needs to be a focus within curriculum about how to develop value through innovation.

There has been some successes in the area of coupling business skills with technology through many of the agricultural colleges and institutes in both Thailand and Malaysia, where many very competent agro-entrepreneurs have been created. In particular, Thailand has showed great success in developing appropriate agricultural technologies with innovative renewable energy production systems, which have had a major impact on farming within the country. Community colleges and informal programs in both countries have created many successful rural based micro-entrepreneurs.

This type of approach needs to be expanded across all activities in the economy to create even more diversified value and diversity at the SME level within the economy.

However attempts in Malaysia to widen this have generally been lackluster. Both ministry and private contractors have tended to use ‘standard modules’ on entrepreneurship, which tend to be really about small business, leaving out important entrepreneurial issues about how to be creative in an enterprise sense, apply innovation to a business model, and develop new products rather than copy others. These courses are also most often taught by people who themselves have never been entrepreneurs.

If one agrees with the premise that entrepreneurship is one of the prime activities that can create new sources of value within economies, then practical entrepreneurial education is of utmost importance. So this is the basic challenge ahead for vocational education within the ASEAN region. ASEAN countries will need to develop enriched economies filled with diversity, which can only be achieved through creating value. However this is something that current micro-SMEs struggle to do as they are primarily only really duplicating other micro-SME activities, as copy-cat businesses.

A major rethink is needed.

Business school education is creating more executives and clerks to fill offices within the major cities of the region. Business schools have generally failed in coupling business knowledge with technology.

In addition, multinational manufacturers are not the long term answer to economic growth. They have proved to be very fickle, moving to lower cost production bases as current host countries lose their competitiveness. Wealth and diversity will come from SMEs in the future. Vocational education may be the best vehicle in helping to create these attributes in the nation’s youth.

Vocational education will be better able to serve the growing number of seniorpreneurs start new businesses, with short course formats. As unemployment increases and human life spans continue to lengthen in the region, entrepreneurship education for seniorpreneurs will be critical to prevent new bouts of urban poverty erupt within the region.

If vocational education becomes the vanguard of reframing education focus away from developing industry skills back to developing community enterprise, then the objectives of these institutions need to change. Rather than focusing on industrial employability, the primary objective needs to be personal development within an entrepreneurial culture.

This is going to lead to a few problems. There has been an emphasis on building structured curricula with diploma structures within the vocational system, in an attempt to make vocational education a stepping stone to further study in other higher education institutions, rather than gain a trade. The concept of disciplinary education needs to be widened to accommodate appropriate (rather than industrial) technology based enterprise approaches. The vocational system needs build competence and install confidence in students. This type of education doesn’t have to be diploma based. It will be better served through short courses and mentorship.

Mentorship points to a second problem, that of getting enough competent teachers for this approach. This is where the governing ministries and quality assurance agencies must accept experience over qualifications and consider allowing retired experienced and practical people to become part-time teachers of entrepreneurship as practidemics. This approach has been successfully adopted by Tecnologico de Monterrey of Mexico, now considered to be one of the leading entrepreneurship universities in the world today.

As there is a need for both enterprises and labor markets to be much more diverse than before, vocational education must come to the forefront. Vocational education should produce better accountants, chefs, agriculturalists, tourist operators, and small scale engineers, who can create new sources of value, than the university structure. Focus needs to be put on specific educational needs, rather than forcing students to take compulsory studies on Asian Civilization, etc., in a university environment.

Research indicates and experience shows that potential entrepreneurs will be better suited to short courses within a vocational system rather than the longer tertiary education route. Highly motivated people tend to have much shorter attention spans. This list of successful entrepreneurs who dropped out of university due to boredom is large and impressive.

This is the challenge in the next decade that goes out to all ASEAN governments. They need to view the entrepreneurial economy as the next carryover stage of development, from the current industrial stages the larger ASEAN economies are now immersed within. They need to change the educational paradigms within their vocational systems to take the best advantage of this opportunity.

Source: http://asiancorrespondent.com

Vocational education, an attractive option

Way to go: Muhyiddin trying out a solar-powered car created by students from Kolej Vokasional Arau in Perlis as student Azruk Abdul Rahim, 17, looks on. – BernamaWay to go: Muhyiddin trying out a solar-powered car created by students from Kolej Vokasional Arau in Perlis as student Azruk Abdul Rahim, 17, looks on. – Bernama

VOCATIONAL and technical education has proven to be increasingly popular among students as it saves time and money.

Those who opt to enter a vocational college after sitting for the Penilaian Menengah Rendah (PMR) will receive their diplomas after just four years of studies, as opposed to the common pathway which is to sit for the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM).

Students pursuing vocational and technical education which is based on the Sijil Kemahiran Malaysia curriculum will be exposed to practical components to strenghten their knowledge and skills that will enhance their career prospects.

Just ask vocational student, S. Lakxessnah, 16, who said taking up the vocational school pathway was a wise decision.

The database management system student saw it as a “fast-track” to acquire tertiary qualifications.

“Instead of taking the conventional pathway (which is to sit for SPM), I will get my diploma when I am 19. It is not for weak students but for people like me who already have a clear idea on what we want to do with our future,” said the Kolej Vokasional Perdagangan Johor Baru student.

Lakxessnah was one of the students who attended the 1Malaysia Kolej Vokasional carnival in Klang recently.

The Kolej Vokasional Perdagang-an Johor Baru student, came to the career carnival with her schoolmates and teachers.

The objective of the four-day carnival was to highlight the various courses available as well as the career alternatives for vocational and technical school leavers.

It is also to disseminate information of the Government’s initiatives to transform the vocational and technical education.

The Government has vowed to transform the technical education and vocational training (TEVT) sector in a move to make TEVT more appealing to students.

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said there was a need to produce at least 3.3 million skilled workers in the next 10 years in order to meet the demands of the country’s economic developments.

Muhyiddin, who is also Education Minister, said the average enrolment of upper secondary students in technical and vocational courses in Malaysia was about 10%, compared to the average 44% enrolment of students from the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries.

In Germany, Finland and Austria, for example, 50% to 80% students pursued vocational education at upper secondary level or through apprenticeship.

“We received 117,000 applications to enter vocational colleges while we can acommodate up to 21,000 students. This is very encouraging and we should provide more places for those interested,” he said.

Student Nurul Ain Fatihah Mohd Hisam, 16, said society should regard vocational education as a desirable study option.

She said vocational and technical schools were a great place to discover talents.

“The Government is actively promoting such education because it is a good way to identify and groom young people who can in turn help contribute to the economy of our country,” she said.

Kolej Vokasional Klang student T. Peravin said it was time for the public to change their perception about vocational education.

“For those who think vocational and technical education is just for weak students, they should come to our college and see for themselves.

“The institution offers comprehensive education because there are both theoretical and practical components,” he added.

Source: The Star Online – 21st April 2013

COMMENT: This is a very good initiative by the current government but I hope the corrupted practice during procurement of equipments/materials by these government owned colleges/institutions can be minimised (I don’t believe it can be totally eradicated in a short span of time) by hopefully a BERSIH government!

Vocational education mooted as girls leave behind ‘lost boys’

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 24 — Putrajaya has launched a pilot programme for vocational training in a bid to narrow the education divide between both sexes as girls continue to outnumber and outshine boys in secondary school. Singapore’s Straits Times (ST) reported today the government’s “taster programme” was this year introduced in 15 schools to “expose academically weak male pupils starting from the age of 13 to vocational skills in areas such as carpentry and electrical wiring” and as a means to keep them in schools. “We are trying to catch potential dropouts before they fall out of the system,” Deputy Education Minister Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong was quoted as saying by the Straits Times today. He added those in the scheme earn certificates for each year of study completed, with the Form Four certificate being the vocational equivalent of the usual Form Five school certificate. The ST report said its purpose was to teach these “lost boys” work and life skills, and keep them in school long enough that they do not end up on the streets. The “lost boys” phenomenon was raised in the preliminary National Education Blueprint launched this month which warned of the risk of creating a “community of educationally marginalised young Malaysian men”. Referring to the blueprint, the ST article noted reports on interviews with parents and teachers suggest that some boys struggle with mainstream academic curricula and would benefit from vocational training. This in turn reflected UNICEF’s report last year that from 2005 to 2009, 34 per cent of 500,000 primary pupils a year in Malaysia did not move on to secondary school. Most were boys, with 85 per cent from poor families. Girls now make up 70 per cent of intake at some major universities and performed better in school examinations from primary school onwards. Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) educationist Dr Abdul Jalil Ali said shifting towards vocational education could be one way to ensure that all young Malaysians learn some useful skills. “Not everyone thrives in the academic world. The country also needs highly skilled workers,” he told the ST. However, he explained the government now needs to review teaching methods to keep boys interested as research has shown that girls and boys learn differently — girls tend to learn well in classrooms while boys are less likely to enjoy passive learning.