Tag Archives: Nurul Izzah

Nurul Izzah calls for TVET commission

PUTRAJAYA: The TVET task force headed by Nurul Izzah Anwar (pic) has suggested that a special commission to coordinate the Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) implementation be set up.

Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik said it was suggested that the implementation under the commission be overseen by two ministries, Education and Human Resources, during a recent Cabinet meeting.

“It was an idea by Nurul Izzah to table a motion in Parliament for the establishment of a TVET commission.

“It expresses our seriousness to enhance TVET and bring it to the next level.

“She’s in the process of lobbying all ministers and MPs to support this idea.

“I hope we will make it a reality,” Dr Maszlee told reporters after attending a national industry dialogue titled “Living Skills in the 21st Century: TVET Empowerment/Initiative” yesterday.

Nurul Izzah chairs a task force to strengthen and improve TVET.

Currently, seven ministries are overlooking TVET.

A coordination committee has been approved by the Cabinet, he said, to coordinate TVET activities between the ministries.

On the duties of the task force headed by Nurul Izzah, Dr Maszlee said it is tasked to conduct research across all ministries that provide TVET education and training.

“The role of (her) committee is to make recommendations on how our TVET system can be improved.

“This includes a review of our current laws in TVET education and training, as well as the idea for a TVET commission,” he added.

Dr Maszlee said TVET was given emphasis during the mid-term review of the 11th Malaysia Plan (11MP) 2016-2020 and the tabling of Budget 2019.

This is the way forward, he said, emphasising that collaboration between the Education Ministry and industry showed “we are on the right track”.

The government also plans to conduct a major mapping exercise to ensure TVET programmes meet industry standards set by professional accreditation bodies, he added.

Source: https://www.thestar.com.my

Mapping for TVET to meet industry, professional standards

Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik delivers a speech during the National Industrial Dialogue Launching Ceremony 2018 at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre on Nov 15, 2018. — Bernama

PUTRAJAYA: The government plans to conduct a major mapping exercise on Malaysia’s Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programmes to enable it to meet the industry standards and standards set by professional accreditation bodies.

Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik said the exercise would ensure that the graduates could “hit the workplace running”.

“TVET is the ministry’s key priority as it plays a major role in the development of a highly-skilled workforce and the government will continuously strive to provide education and training that is in line with global industry standards.

“All of this is to ensure that young Malaysians from all walks of life find employment in fulfilling jobs and that they are competitive in the global job market,” he said in his speech at the National Industry Dialogue 2018, Living Skills in the 21st Century: TVET Empowerment, here, today.

Maszlee also said that the government’s goal was to ensure that technical and vocational schools would be at par with other streams so that they were a primary choice amongst students.

He said the TVET committee led by Permatang Pauh Member of Parliament, Nurul Izzah Anwar would conduct research across all six ministries that provide TVET education and training and make recommendations on how to improve Malaysia’s TVET system.

“This includes a review of our current laws in TVET education and training as well as the idea of setting up a TVET Commission,” he added. — Bernama



vocational education

Vocational Education

Vocational Education in Germany

The German vocational education and training system, also known as the dual training system, is highly recognized worldwide due to its combination of theory and training embedded in a real-life work environment. The dual system is firmly established in the German education system.

vocational education in Germany

Vocational Education in Malaysia

The crux of the problem with the Malaysian TVET system is that it is school-based. Vocational school teachers themselves often lack industrial experience. Malaysia’s TVET system also has other challenges, including multiple certification and quality assurance systems, limited access to vocational education for students with special needs and minority groups, lack of skilful vocational teachers, limited pathway for tertiary vocational education and minimal involvement by the industry. In addition, there is no single oversight body to coordinate the TVET system in Malaysia.

Ramlee B. Mustapha
Low pay. Dirty work. No prestige. Uneducated. Not interesting. Useless. These are some of the perceived characteristics associated with vocational students in Malaysia. For many of us, we have been told that our life depends on our academic grades. Coz if we fail, we’re doomed, right?

Our ears bleed from hearing our elders emphasise way too much on the academic science stream as the ultimate path to success! We’re also raised to think that vocational education is an option for school dropouts, non-academically inclined students and slow learners. Well… Thanks to this stigma (situation has improved), the system receives a generally low enrolment of students.

Now, there are calls for collaboration in transforming the system and making it a first choice. With the establishment of a committee to prep Malaysia for the 4th Industrial Revolution, committee head Nurul Izzah is studying reform reports and having discussions with the relevant ministries.

Put your hands together for… TVET reforms!! Image from NST.

Among the initiatives, the Ministry of Education wants to work more closely with the UK to provide English language training to STEM and vocational teachers. But actually…

What in the world is the problemo with our vocational education?

Many problems. Before we get to them, first… it’s formally known as TVET, and this is how UNESCO defines it:

“Technical and vocational education and training (TVET) is understood as comprising education, training and skills development relating to a wide range of occupational fields, production, services and livelihoods.” – UNESCO’s definition of TVET.

TVET is usually referred to as education for “blue collar” jobs, which involves more handy work (like technicians, plumbers, hairstylists, chefs, farmers etc) than a “white collar” job.

Ooohh, that’s why they’re called “white collar” and “blue collar”.
Image from The Conversation.

Here’s how it works. If a 15-year-old student wants to pursue something hands-on after PT3, s/he can go to a vocational college to get a SKM (instead of SPM) in the first 3 levels and then proceed to a diploma or advanced diploma in either a vocational college, community college, polytechnic or a university (can choose public or private). SPM leavers can also walk the same path – just opt for a vocational tertiary institution. If you want to find out more, click on this link.

It generally uses different forms of learning (formal, non-formal and informal) to facilitate a well-rounded transition into the job market. When it comes to education, we all get excited seeing the word “well-rounded”, right? But then, why does our current TVET system seem so unpopular here?

For starters, TVET Journal and Professor Dr Ramlee Mustapha of Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI) said that some characteristics of TVET schools could be improved. Like getting better infrastructure and equipmentTeaching approaches need to be more interactive and digital, especially for millennial students.

The education system and labour laws must also be more flexible and responsive to our country’s economic goals. And since the whole point of vocational education is to prepare students for employment, it’s super important that schools buddy up with potential employers. Imagine a 20-year-old graduate with sound mechanical skills going STRAIGHT into companies like Proton or Western Digital, without having to search and apply from scratch.

On top of this, Nurul Izzah said that tertiary education and TVET systems are so out of sync. Despite a government funding of about RM4.5billion on TVET, it is not running at full capacity, according to the Human Resource (HR) Ministry. This is where the collaboration and coordination between the TVET Committee and relevant ministries become significant.

Still not convinced? Then…

Let us tell you why our TVET needs a makeover

TVET needs to be integrated into mainstream education since [an article by the New Strait Times (NST) said that] TVET provides highly skilled human resources which will boost our country’s economy and enable it to become a “high-income nation”. A journal article by Margarita Pavlova (definitely a human being, not a drink or dessert) also said that TVET is “a tool for productivity enhancement and poverty reduction” in the Asia-Pacific.

But for Malaysia to truly prosper in the long term, the elephant on the couch- sorry, in the room needs to be addressed: youth unemployment and employability. Yes, we’re emphasising on jobless freshies. Malaysian Industrial Development Finance (MIDF) said that youth unemployment rate remains frustratingly high at roughly 204,000 due to the demand and supply mismatch of skills.

A senior researcher at Malaysian Institute of Economic Research (MIER) explained how young adults end up jobless. They are more likely to be job hunting either because they’re fresh grads or changing jobs. But, job vacancies don’t match-match with the skill sets freshies have but instead ask for more experienced candidates. Moreover, Azeem Abu Bakar of the Organisation for National Empowerment (ONE) pointed out the need for grads to adapt to the tech evolution of the job market by learning new types of skills.


Great tractor skills but isn’t he too young for this? Image from Giphy.

We came across some success stories of TVET graduates who proved the naysayers wrong (if you want, you can read them in detail here and here). If there is one thing these grads can agree on, it’s that TVET has prepped them up for the real world.

“TVET helped me advance in my career and created healthy competitionbetween me and my male colleagues. The training is also important to produce skilled workers that the country lacks.” – said Nur Izzati Athirah, who is pursuing underwater welding, a male-dominated profession.


Hold up! Don’t get too excited. It has some disadvantages too (in other countries as far as data brings us). American Leaf Group’s Classroom claimed that TVET grads face lower lifetime earnings (despite a high earning potential) and specific fields of study (which limits flexibility in learning further on the job and adjusting to newer tech). Career Ride also said that TVET programmes are not widely recognised and have higher costs for lab-related stuff.

But it’s not clear if the same applies to the career prospects of TVET graduates here. Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) president Datuk Abdul Halim Mansor said that there was NO DATA on the number of employed Malaysian TVET graduates as of 2017 and their salary scale. No wonder it was so hard to find data supporting these claims of disadvantages for Malaysian TVET grads. 

Actually right… other countries depend on TVET kids for success lor

Former Deputy Education Minister Datuk Chong Sin Woon said that the percentage of Malaysian students in TVET are pathetically lower than that of some countries. According to him, we only have 8% of our secondary students in TVET. Germany? 60%! Let’s see how it works.

Germany practices a dual vocational education system (Malaysia also has adopted it) which emerged from the Vocational Training Act to ensure that every industry had enough talent for a modern Germany. Why dual? Simply because it has two components: apprenticeship and theory classes.

So, the students get the best of both worlds! They have technical know-how AND hands-on experience. If that’s not great enough, the theoretical classes don’t neglect some academic subjects like German, English and social studies, which cuts out the previously mentioned disadvantage of specificity.

Because of its pros, its graduates are highly employable. No wonder the Germans find it socially acceptable to pursue TVET.

“In Germany, people studying TVET would go on to become PhD holders, but it is not the same here,” said HR Minister Kulasegaran.

Of course, despite a few technical issues, its success couldn’t be possible without a well-coordinated TVET system. And because it’s so good, the German TVET system is evident in some places including Malaysia (via the German-Malaysian Institute) and Slovakia.

As for an Asian example…

Singapore pulak has been implementing TVET since its merdeka in 1965. Our fun-sized neighbour houses vocational universities like Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP), Singapore Polytechnic International (SPI) and Institute of Technical Education (ITE).

ITE’s former CEO Dr Law Song Seng‘s case study on Singapore’s TVET policies brings us through the literary museum of Singapore’s 5-decade history with TVET, consisting of three phases:
  • labour-intensive economy (1960s-1970s): Expanded the education system to meet the needs of industrialisation.
  • capital-intensive economy (1980s-1990s): Involved economic restructuring when the Singaporean govt decided to set a minimum of 10 years of general education for everyone, so TVET became a post-secondary education option.
  • knowledge-intensive economy (2000s): Built a globalised, knowledge-driven economy by working on making itself an education hub.
Look at how Singapore's GDP has grown over the past 5 decades! Screenshot from The World Bank.

Look at how Singapore’s GDP has grown over the past 5 decades! Screenshot from The World Bank.

Right now, WorldSkills and SkillsFuture are major initiatives in promoting TVET in Singapore. WorldSkills is the “global hub for skills excellence” while SkillsFuture is a national movement to encourage Singaporeans to continuously develop their skills. If TVET grads want to gain career opportunities related to their field of study, they can participate in the SkillsFuture Earn and Learn Programme, a work-learn programme.

So, how about we jump on the bandwagon?

If you still insist on bashing TVET kawkaw, then these two things (as claimed by Datuk Chong Sin Woon) might probably convert your mindset to favour TVET: starting salary and employment prospects. It turns out that TVET freshies earn between RM2,000 and RM5,000 monthly, which isn’t so different from what uni freshies earn. TVET grads are also in high demand by employers and not limited to certain industries.

By the way, the salary range mentioned is probably applicable to minority industry (or maybe even none, common, RM5K for freshies??

“They are highly sought after by industries – 90% of the cohort in our TVET(technical and vocational education and training) who graduated last year are already employed. Vocational and technical graduates don’t just end up opening beauty salons or bakeries, many of them work for multinational companies like Boeing.” – said Chong.

               Or maybe General Electric? Image from the New Strait Times.

Chill, guys. We’re not badmouthing mainstream education but we wanna tell y’all that TVET is not as bad as you’d think. There’s hope for TVET here if proper reforms are made to fix its current issues. We’re not alone in this as other places like Bangladesh, countries in the Pacific region, as well as countries in Latin America and The Caribbean, are also trying to reform their TVET systems. 

TVET can actually make Malaysia great again like our advanced counterparts since it makes employees more employable with skills that match job requirements and familiarity with the working environment, hence boosting the country’s productivity and curbing youth unemployment.

With that in mind, maybe it’s time to stop making fun of that one relative who is pursuing a vocational course, eh?

Source: https://cilisos.my/

Mimos to revise govt’s tech training curriculum

Nurul Izzah said the government will hold a townhall session to discuss the TVET masterplan and the budget for it soon. — Picture by Hari Anggara
Nurul Izzah said the government will hold a townhall session to discuss the TVET masterplan and the budget for it soon. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 9 — Tech research and development agency Mimos Berhad has been put in charge of improving the government’s Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programme.

Nurul Izzah Anwar, who heads the government’s TVET task force, said there is an urgent need to enhance the curriculum for Malaysia to remain competitive in the era of Industry 4.0.

“The need for strengthening and transforming TVET has been evident globally in recent years due to the new and more challenging demands from industry, as more nations began opening up and embracing the Fourth Industrial Revolution, in particular, Industry 4.0,” she said in her speech during a seminar on the subject at Mimos’ headquarters here.

She said there was an urgent need for more skilled technicians in the electrical, telecommunications, design sectors and elsewhere.

But she added that they needed to be trained to compete against the automation and artificial intelligence.

She also said the government will hold a townhall session to discuss the TVET masterplan and the budget for it soon, but did not provide a date.

She said TVET has a budget of RM180 million this year, through the Skilled Development Fund Corp Masterplan, a reduction compared to the RM300 million allocated last year.

Source: https://www.malaymail.com

Nurul Izzah mahu status rahsia dokumen TVET digugurkan

WAWANCARA | Akta Rahsia Rasmi (OSA) telah digunakan untuk menyembunyikan fakta yang boleh menjejaskan reputasi pentadbiran BN, seperti yang dapat dilihat pada laporan audit 1MDB sebelum ini.

Satu lagi dokumen yang diletakkan bawah akta itu adalah berhubung program pendidikan teknik, vokasional dan latihan (TVET) – usaha kerajaan dulu yang bertujuan melahirkan pekerja berkemahiran di kalangan mereka yang tidak cenderung kepada akademik.

Akhir bulan lalu, anggota parlimen Permatang Pauh Nurul Izzah Anwar dilantik sebagai pengerusi Jawatankuasa Pemerkasaan TVET.

Beliau kini mempunyai akses terhadap dokumen rahsia – yang turut ditunjukkan kepada Malaysiakini – berhubung pencapaian pusat TVET berdasarkan wawancara dengan orang awam dan institusi swasta.

“Apa yang mengejutkan dan kontroversi adalah mereka membuat senarai kedudukan institusi TVET berdasarkan produktiviti mereka.

“Tiada siapa yang mahu dikenali sebagai paling tidak produktif, lemah kerana tidak menghasilkan graduan yang baik, tetapi kita ada data itu.

“Baik untuk rakyat Malaysia tahu perkara ini. Apakah anda tidak mahu tahu institusi Mara mana yang berjalan dengan baik, yang menghasilkan pekerja industri yang cemerlang? Hak kita untuk tahu dan kita tak boleh sembunyikannya,” katanya ketika wawancara bersama Malaysiakini minggu lalu.

Dokumen itu masih berstatus rahsia tetapi Nurul Izzah berkata akan berusaha agar ia dibuka.

Beliau menegaskan ia bukan untuk mengecam kumpulan tertentu yang tidak menunjukkan pencapaian yang baik, tetapi sebagai langkah ke depan.

“Kita perlu tahu kedudukan sekarang baru kita dapat melangkah ke depan untuk mungkin menyusun semula matlamat mereka atau mengadakan kerjasama yang lebih baik dengan industri, atau mungkin menswastakan mereka.

“Ada banyak pilihan yang saya akan kemukakan berdasarkan kajian kemapanan,” katanya.

Terdapat sekurang-kurangnya 1,300 institusi TVET di seluruh negara. Program itu bawah skop pelbagai kementerian antaranya Sumber Manusia, Pendidikan, Belia dan Sukan, Pembangunan Luar Bandar dan Wilayah, Kerja Raya serta Pertanian dan Industri Asas Tani.

Berikut adalah wawancara lanjut Malaysiakini dengan Nurul Izzah berhubung isu ini.

Malaysiakini: Salah satu isu terbesar TVET adalah persepsi ia untuk mereka yang tidak bagus dalam pelajaran. Bagaimana anda mahu baiki persepsi itu?

Nurul Izzah: Pertamanya untuk mengubah persepsi ia perlu bermula dengan diri anda sendiri, bermula dengan apa yang pemimpin boleh lakukan. Jadi pada tiga minggu pertama ketika kita mengumpul maklum balas, saya cuba yang terbaik untuk melawat dan berhubung dengan pusat TVET yang cemerlang, dan ada banyak pusat yang sedemikian.

Ketika saya di Mersing, jelas mereka memang cemerlang. Mereka mengeluarkan pakar keselamatan siber. Apa yang bagus adalah permintaan terhadap mereka memang tinggi kerana memenuhi standard industri. Apabila ia berlaku, akan ada kewujudan bersama yang baik antara graduan yang dikeluarkan pusat itu dengan keperluan industri.

Jadi bagi saya, apa yang penting adalah untuk menonjolkan wira tak didendang ini. Kisah kejayaan anak tempatan perlu diangkat dan itulah perancangan saya.

Pada masa sama, jika anda ingin ubah persepsi, mahu gaji yang lebih baik, anda perlu buat beberapa langkah dan keputusan sukar. Ini bermakna, untuk sesetengah pusat yang tidak berjalan dengan baik, peranan mereka perlu dilihat semula, perubahan sistemik dan struktural perlu dilakukan.

Jika anda lihat laporan sebelum ini oleh PricewaterhouseCoopers, Boston Consulting, dan juga PEMANDU, mereka berterus-terang terhadap beberapa keputusan yang telah menghalang kemajuan TVET dan ia membawa kepada masalah dan keadaannya pada masa ini.

Saya mahu sintesiskan semua laporan ini termasuk dengan yang dikeluarkan Kementerian Sumber Manusia, serta daripada perbincangan kita sendiri, dalam satu laman web yang mengumpul semua dapatan ini.

Saya gembira apabila kabinet (berpandangan) laporan saya akan dibawa ke tahap itu, tetapi untuk langkah seterusnya kita juga perlu ingatkan semua kementerian tentang apa yang perlu dilakukan.

Malaysiakini: Adakah anda merancang untuk mengubah pemikiran ibu bapa – gred yang bagus adalah segalanya?

Nurul Izzah: Gred yang bagus penting. Sebagai ibu saya tak mahu jadi hipokrit dan berkata saya tak kisah jika anak saya tidak cemerlang dalam pelajaran.

Tetapi setiap anak adalah istimewa dan anda perlu berikan peluang kedua. Setiap mereka ada kelebihan tersendiri. Mereka mungkin tidak dapat menyerap sebahagian pelajaran secara automatik, tetapi tidak bermakna walau dengan usaha mereka tetap tidak akan berjaya.

Tetapi yang penting bagaimana sebuah kementerian dapat menaikkan TVET jika institusi anda sendiri tidak mengeluarkan sijil yang diterima industri dan pihak akreditasi lain? Jadi perkara ini perlu dilihat.

Saya seorang graduan tetapi tidak akan dapat faham. Misalnya ketika saya menggunakan penerbangan MAS, dalam pesawat baru Airbus, tandas tiba-tiba tidak berfungsi. Dan pramugari sibuk mencari juruteknik untuk membaikinya.

Kenapa? Kerana jurutera seperti saya tidak akan dapat membaiki apa yang perlu dibaiki. Jadi bagi saya, ia satu peringatan kecil bahawa anda mengeluarkan pekerja yang berguna, efektif untuk industri dan negara.

Tetapi jika anda biarkan masalah seperti kemahiran yang tidak sesuai atau gaji yang rendah berterusan, tidak ramai yang akan berminat. Dalam fikiran ibu bapa, “Saya banyak mengeluarkan belanja untuk ijazah TVET ini tetapi anak saya tiada pekerjaan yang baik, sijil pun tidak diiktiraf”.

Ini adalah masalah yang perlu dibaiki dulu sebelum kita dapat menjadikan TVET lebih baik atau di tahap sama dengan pemegang ijazah.

Malaysiakini: Apakah yang anda mungkin akan bentangkan dalam laporan kepada kabinet?

Nurul Izzah: Saya perlu siapkannya dalam masa setahun. Untuk tiga bulan pertama, kita akhirnya berjaya mendapatkan dokumen OSA. Ia benar-benar membantu kami untuk memberikan respons yang lebih mendalam. Saya sudah gariskan banyak program dan acara.

Sekian lama saya tertumpu kepada pemegang ijazah dang graduan, kemudian saya lihat dalam sistem tidak formal, ada setengah juta anak muda yang tidak berada bawah sistem pendidikan formal. Jadi bagaimana?

Anda dapat lihat ramai di kalangan mereka yang benar-benar bergantung kepada TVET. Ia mengejutkan dan menyedarkan saya bahawa inilah jalannya. Malah di United Kingdom dan Jerman, kerjaya ini adalah sesuatu yang dibanggakan. Anda memberi kepakaran kepada juruteknik.

Kita perlu mula berusaha agar sistem, ijazah dan imbuhannya menepati jangkaan.

Sumber: Malaysiakini.com

From TVET in Industry 4.0 to reshaping of our perception of education

LETTER | It was a timely decision for Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik to appoint Permatang Pauh MP Nurul Izzah Anwar as the chairperson for a newly formed Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Empowerment Committee.

So far, TVET in Malaysia has been given much less attention than mainstream academic education system. It has been run under seven ministries – the Education, Higher Education, Human Resources, Public Works, Agriculture and Agro-based Industries, Rural and Regional Development, and Youth and Sports Ministries.

There have been so many ministries involved in TVET, with an allocation of RM 4.9 billion in 2018 for the TVET Master Plan, but merely seven percent of school leavers eventually join TVET programmes.

There is an undersupply in 10 out of 12 key economic areas, while only 70 percent of vacancies in TVET are being filled up.

It is acknowledged that there has been a severe lack of coordination between the respective ministries and departments whose functions are overlapping, and some are redundant.

Streamlining TVET

There is a study underway by the Human Resources and Economic Affairs Ministries to combine all TVET into a single agency and a single ministry. TVET should be an integrated part of the education system where education is to nurture productive and competitive workforce.

This is certainly a wise and timely move to elevate the country’s economy effectively towards industrial revolution 4.0 through an effective education system. The combination of automated assembly line, the internet of things and artificial intelligence, requires highly-skilled workers highly proficient in ICT. It will also lessen our dependency on labour, especially migrant workers, while elevating our workers’ competitiveness and earning powers.

Even though there has been a positive decrease of up to 75 percent in the dropout rate from the year 2000 to 2013, youth (15 to 24) unemployment rate remains high compared to other age groups. Even if they are employed, whether they possess adequate skills affects their level of income and self-esteem.

According to Education Ministry statistics, the number of students who dropped out before completing their primary education was 3,920 students in 2013, or one percent of the total primary school student population. The number of those who do not continue to finish their secondary school is 14,396 or three percent of the student population.

In other words, we have about 20,000 non-skilled youth entering the job market, who are at worst unemployed or at best get to work as non-skilled workers at the lowest wage spectrum.

According to a Statistics Department survey in 2015, when the national unemployment figure was at 3.1 percent, the unemployment rate among youths was about 10.7 percent (15. percent for the age group 15-19; 9.3 percent for the age group 20-24) ,which is three times the national average, or make 60.8 percent of the total unemployed workforce.

This is due to their lack of education attainment, work experience and vocational skills.

Better opportunities

In 2015, of the 405,000 youths with tertiary education, 24 percent were unemployed six months after their graduation, as compared to the fact that only 9.8 percent out of 2.162 million youths without tertiary education were unemployed. 54 percent of graduates who were employed earned less than RM 2,000 a month.

On the other hand, the starting salary of vocational and technical graduates at between RM 2,000 and RM 5,000 a month is even slightly higher than university graduates. 90 percent of TVET graduates (technical and vocational education and training) are employed within a year after their graduation, and their unemployment rate is lower than the university graduates’.

Two questions have been raised as to whether what university graduates learn are mostly irresponsive to demands of the job market, and hence leads to a higher unemployment rate among them, and whether workers without tertiary education do not have quality jobs and wages to lift up their standards of living.

Besides the importance of academic and civic requirements, our education has to be more demand-driven and socially oriented. A high degree of social partnership between public and private sectors has to be sought if tertiary education is made relevant to the socioeconomic development.

Despite these facts, only eight percent of our secondary students are in TVET, which is low compared to advanced countries like Germany and Switzerland, where almost 60 percent of their students are in TVET. In Singapore, as much as 75 percent of secondary students end up in TVET, and only a minor fraction (25 percent) end up in universities.

More importantly, Singapore has geared its country for Industry 4.0 for decades. Accordingly, as a vital strategy to always stay ahead of its neighbours in order to maintain its economic relevance and competitiveness in the world economy, Singapore has long undergone a meticulous pathway charted for Industry 4.0.

According to International Federation of Robotics Report 2017, Singapore is currently ranked number 2 in the world in terms of robotic density –that is, 488 industrial robotic arms per 10,000 workers according to the International Federation of Robotics.

Like Germany, Singaporeans could start TVET as early as lower secondary school, and TVET students could eventually converge into tertiary education in an education system that advocates learning process as a life-long matter. TVET has even been a debatable issue in Singapore to be started as early as the upper primary school level.

TVET qualifications are made as equivalent as academic qualifications in South Korea. Its marketability depends heavily on the demands of the job market, especially since South Korea has been the world number 1 since 2010 for the highest industrial robotic density-that is, 631 robotic arms per 10,000 workers, reflecting its leading role in industry 4.0.

According to Bank Negara’s Economic Development Report 2017, Malaysia has an industrial robotic density of only 34 per 10,000 workers that is even lower than the Asian average of 63 per 10,000 workers, and our industrial robot density is only five percent that of South Korea’s.

Race to the bottom

There are significantly adverse trends in the country’s economic development which is heading for a more regressive labour-intensive and migrant-worker-dependence direction at the expense of the local workers’ competitiveness, productivity and earning capacity.

Firstly, in the last 15 years, the high skilled jobs’ ratio has decreased from 45 percent to 37 percent while low skilled jobs’ ratio has increased from 8 percent to 16 percent. Secondly, the most alarming trend is that 81.5 percent out of the new jobs created have gone to the foreigners, while university graduates unemployment rate has gone up yearly. There has apparently been a mismatch between the education system and the job market.

To solve the adversity in our future economic development, we need a paradigm shift from the conventional labour-intensive and migrant worker-dependent economy to a newly high-skilled and digital-proficient local workforce. The answer to it is the dire need for a highly ICT-digital-proficiency oriented TVET system.

Even though only 9.43 percent of South Korean secondary students take up vocational courses, its tertiary education enrolment rate is as high as 93.18 percent, of which 22.82 percent students engaged in vocational education at the tertiary level. Moreover, 90 percent of South Koran youth commanded a minimal level of digital literacy.

In Germany, apprenticeships in TVET, starting as early as upper secondary school at age 15, expose the apprentices to real industrial working situations. Being protected by a youth employment legislations, apprentices spend 70 percent working in real industries with paid wages and 30 percent in formal classroom education. Almost all German TVET apprentices would be re-hired by their original industries after completion of their apprenticeship.

The close social partnership between TVET institutes, public sector, private individual industries, and the relevant chambers of commerce and guilds play a vital role to make it an effective mechanism for TVET in the 4th Industrial Revolution.

Industry 4.0 involves not only automation and big data exchange in manufacturing technologies, but also includes cyber-physical systems, the internet of things, cloud computing and cognitive computing. It requires not only high skilled workers, but also a workforce with high ICT and digital proficiency.

Therefore, TVET has to be made first choice for some best students, revamping the traditional thinking of TVET as merely the choice for less capable students and academic drop-outs, in order to meet future societal and technology challenges.

The role of industry

Complaints have also been made by TVET educators themselves that Malaysian graduates do not get the deserved wages and job opportunities. This requires an open attitude from educators, and the relevant ministries and TVET institutes to work closely with private industrialists, chambers of commerce and guilds who keep afresh with the latest industrial development and market demands all the time.

Industries have to be made more willing to provide early starting point for apprenticeship as social partners or stakeholders in the process of upscale our TVET as the essential preparation for industry 4.0.

The TVET Committee is vital in institutionalise coordination between too many federal ministries undertaking TVET with the private sector and relevant guilds. For the TVET Committee to be more effective, its chairperson could be upgraded to the level of a cabinet co-minister, who coordinates all ministries, state governments, private industrialists, civil society involved in TVET and streamlines all forms of TVET and their accreditations.

Many public TVET institutions have become underutilised or unutilised where buildings are built and left astray. TVET has to be planned according to the socioeconomic demands.

Franchises of public institutions certification to non-profitable industry guilds initiated training programs are feasible to maximise utilisation of public funding and facilities. This social partnership and franchising of TVET programs is termed as “socialisation” of our education system.

Nonetheless, promoting TVET in industry 4.0 involves “democraticisation” of our education system by which the federal government needs to decentralise and share powers of administering education system including TVET with state and local governments, who know the local demands better.

State and local governments could coordinate between the chambers of commerce, guilds of various artisanship with our education system especially TVET institutes, which in turn has to be tailored according to a tripartite relation between international trends, national aspirations and local demands.

On the other hand, local industries already provide existent machineries and facilities for apprenticeship while the institutes could cut down its expenditures on setting up, but concentrating on teaching theories to the apprentices and training the trainers about on-job teaching.

TVET for Industry 4.0 forces us to review seriously about how our industries would run. While there is a high number of illegal foreign workers (1.7 million) and a marked proportion of semi-skilled local workforce, about half (54 percent) of female productive-age population actually work.

The currently inactive but potential women workforce well surpasses the number of foreign workers and could fulfil the need of our job market. The solution is to provide more welfares such as nurseries and on-job TVET.

The solution to stagnant economic performance and over-dependence on foreign workers is to “socialise” and “democraticise” our education system including targeting 60 percent youth in TVET, of which 40 percent would be female as in advanced countries like in Germany, South Korea and Taiwan, in order to achieve not only a targeted 80 percent women to be in the national workforce, but also be as competitive as their male counterparts.

The issue is not only about TVET alone. but the powers-that-be need to revamp their own perception of what ‘education’ means, which has been conventionally interpreted as the major tool to maintain the social status quo and train the future generation to be living ‘robots’ listening to the commands of their ‘owners’ – and, in recent decades, for cronyists close to them as a means to get kickbacks from construction projects of TVET institutes – than the noble intention to making our workforce prepared for the new challenge of Industry 4.0.

To promote TVET, we have to begin with reshaping our perception and policy towards education, which is not a privilege for some to profiteer, but as a birthright for all Malaysians to be equitably competitive, regardless of gender, race, religion and creeds, in an increasingly challenging world economy.

DR BOO CHENG HAU is the former state assemblyperson for Skudai.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini (source of article)

Hello Industrial Revolution 4.0! ― Nurul Izzah Anwar

Nurul Izzah says reforming TVET requires thinking beyond courses and institutions. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Nurul Izzah says reforming TVET requires thinking beyond courses and institutions. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, June 22 ― Seven ministries. Two Malaysia National Plans. More than RM10 billion spent in a span of three years, from 2015 to 2017. And where is TVET now? Plagued by stories of thousands of stranded, unqualified youths, awaiting placement and promise of a better future.

Regardless the state of affairs, everyone who cares about Malaysia’s future should support TVET as a means to empower Malaysia’s young ― in line with our upcoming embrace of Industrial Revolution 4.0.

Yesterday, Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik announced my pro bono-related appointment as the head of the national taskforce on reforming our country’s Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programme.

Today, the head of NUTP decides it was a non-starter, considering the mammoth powers required to structurally reform our TVET sector.

NUTP is certainly not wrong in raising concern on the viability of action pertaining to the Pandora’s box-filled TVET.

I recall a conversation with the Secretary-General of Youth and Sports Ministry, Datuk Lokman Hakim Ali, who filled with excitement, planned for our Institut Kemahiran Belia Negara (IKBN) to adopt IR 4.0 as part of its curriculum.

Clearly, to bear fruition, the new government would have to continue with worthier initiatives of its predecessor ― transparently, accountably and efficiently.

To succeed, we need all quarters onboard. This is our Malaysia. It requires all of us to make anything work.

Reforming TVET requires us to think bigger than just courses and institutions.

At its very heart, while we accept the fact that people come with different talents in this world, we have a system that only measures and rewards one, academic talent.

And students who don’t make the cut are thrown into a barrel we now call the TVET system.

This is a systemic problem. And we should treat it as such.

Few would dispute the necessity of TVET in a modern economy; through formal and informal learning, TVET seeks to train and equip individuals with technical skills for the purposes of employment within certain industries.

While conventional education obtained through completion of university remains relevant, the incorporation of TVET as a mainstream option is of equal importance for young Malaysians seeking technical expertise for the working world. TVET is also effective for developing a sustainable, inclusive and socially equitable society and thus should be central to plans for educational reform in Malaysia.

Although TVET has existed in various forms since the 10th and 11th Malaysia Plan, the reality is these efforts have been seriously disjointed in their implementation and are in dire need of thorough structural reforms.

TVET has almost been an afterthought, with incoherent policies often in conflict with each other. Current TVET efforts for example, are supply driven which sees individuals trained in certain skills first prior to any work placement, leading to a severe mismatch of skills and industry. Elsewhere, funding is usually wholly dependent on the government, a dependency which suggests a lack of focus on TVET should funds begin to dry up, as vocational training has not been a priority of the government in the past. Certification to this point has been optional for both individuals seeking work and businesses, which has led to a lack of standards in employment. Trainers involve in TVET have also lacked the quality required for those in their office, lacking clear industry expertise while usually poorly trained themselves. Additionally, synchronization with tertiary education has been found wanting, making it difficult for those with TVET skills and certification to pursue university degrees and higher learning.

Revamping TVET has always been a key goal for Pakatan Harapan, included in the manifesto where we have promised to develop technical and vocational schools to be on par with other streams making it a viable option or alternative to all. This includes setting up a full-board TVET school for outstanding students from all walks of life enabling greater access to opportunity for Malaysians.

Alongside these manifesto promises, significant overhaul is needed for TVET implementation both in the long and short term especially if we hope to make significant progress before by year end. We should look to adopt international best practices as has begun in Penang with the implementation of the German Dual Vocational Training (GDVT).

This scheme offers financial incentives to companies that offer industrial training and/or internships to TVET students. This is reflective of a demand-based approach, where industries are committed to offering apprenticeships based on their own requirements and TVET institutions meeting that demand.

This helps to ensure individuals are equipped with relevant skills and assured to a strong degree of employment, representing an efficient outcome for everyone involved.

Industries and chambers should lead the way as they are best positioned to know the needs of the economy, supported by federal and state governments. Reducing the dependence on the government for both financial and institutional support compliments an industry-driven approach with the state providing assistance as necessary.

Policy reform is thus the best approach for government, creating favourable conditions for TVET institutions and providing incentives to both trainers and trainees, while ensuring coordination between industries and training centres.

With proper oversight, coordinated by the Jabatan Pembangunan Kemahiran under the Ministry of Human Resources, work will be done to ensure proper certification at all levels of both training and business. Where certification was previously optional, it should now be made mandatory in order for those with TVET training to find employment as well as for businesses to be eligible to hire TVET graduates.

Such standardisation of qualifications is long overdue if we want to treat TVET with the same seriousness and respect accorded to tertiary education. Alongside this is better integration and crossovers with academic pathways to provide more opportunities for those who wish to further their formal education to enhance themselves as individuals or change their career entirely.

At present, a lack of integration and accreditation prevents TVET graduates from qualifying from degree programmes at universities. The Penang state government has sought to address this by introducing short term measures aimed at providing accreditation, measures that can further be improved with concerted federal support.

These policy suggestions barely scratch the surface of the potential of TVET, one that can be harnessed to the total benefit of Malaysia and Malaysians through an inclusive approach and better engagement with all stakeholders. These steps will go a long way to dial back on the stigma against TVET and its graduates through better integration in the economy, helping to increase their economic value and ultimately providing better wages.

A holistic improvement of education in Malaysia includes the recognition and enhancement of TVET, elevating it to a status equivalent or superior to traditional tertiary education.

We must demonstrate that a university education does not have to be the be-all-end-all goal for many Malaysians, that many alternatives exist alongside these options, while a system that has for so long practiced various forms of exclusion shall now be expanded to ensure no Malaysians are left behind.

The mandate given to me is to come up with a report on structurally reforming TVET before one year is up. I’ll make sure post engaging with stakeholders, we will have a clear operational step by step action plan.

I urge NUTP to be as loud and demanding as they are today. Time and tide waits for no ministers in implementing much needed reforms.

Malaysians, say hello to industrial revolution 4.0!

*Nurul Izzah Anwar is MP for Permatang Pauh, vice-president and co-elections director for Keadilan. Nurul Izzah wrote this for Malay Mail.

Nurul Izzah to head new committee on technical and vocational training development

Nurul Izzah will head a new committee on the government's Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programme. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Nurul Izzah will head a new committee on the government’s Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programme. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

PUTRAJAYA, June 21 ― Permatang Pauh MP Nurul Izzah Anwar will be heading a new committee on the government’s Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programme, under the Education Ministry, its minister Maszlee Malik said today.

“This committee’s role is to prepare a report to strengthen and upgrade the standard of TVET.

“YB Nurul Izzah is someone who is very concerned about TVET, and has discussed with me on how TVET can help youths compete for jobs and become entrepreneurs,” Maszlee said.

“The Pakatan Harapan government understands the importance of the technical and vocational stream, and in line with Pakatan Harapan’s manifesto, we are committed to develop this stream, so that it is truly on par with other streams, and is not viewed as a mere second choice,” he added.

Nurul Izzah when met, said that she hoped to make Malaysia’s technical and vocational training on par with that in Germany.

“We know that there are over half a million Malaysian children who are outside the formal education scope, so it is our duty to lift the standard of TVET, so they will feel confident, they will feel proud with the accreditation, as proud as they would be if they are medical doctors,” Nurul Izzah said.

In January, then human resources minister Datuk Seri Richard Riot said that a TVET Council will be established, and to be chaired by then-prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Bernama quoted Richard as saying after a TVET ministerial coordination meeting that among others, the formulation of TVET master plan, which is expected to be ready by October 2018, involving industry engagement model, TVET financing model, matching demand to supply, strategic collaboration among TVET providers and efforts to achieve 35 per cent of skilled workforce by 2020, was discussed in the meeting.

Riot also reportedly announced the appointment of Limkokwing University of Creative Technology founder and president, Tan Sri Lim Kok Wing, as TVET Malaysia adviser.

Source: https://www.malaymail.com

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