The TVET op­tion

New Straits Times - - Higher Ed -

SI­JIL Pe­la­jaran Malaysia (SPM) school-leavers have an­other av­enue when fur­ther­ing their ed­u­ca­tion — Tech­ni­cal Vo­ca­tional Ed­u­ca­tion and Train­ing (TVET) pro­grammes.

The Min­istry of Higher Ed­u­ca­tion, as out­lined in the Malaysia Ed­u­ca­tion Blueprint (Higher Ed­u­ca­tion) 2015-2025, en­vi­sions that poly­tech­nics and com­mu­nity col­leges will be the premier higher ed­u­ca­tion TVET providers that de­velop skilled tal­ent to meet the grow­ing and chang­ing de­mands of in­dus­try.

The higher ed­u­ca­tion land­scape is now in the midst of chang­ing from a pri­mary fo­cus on univer­sity ed­u­ca­tion as the sole path­way to suc­cess to one where aca­demic and TVET path­ways are equally val­ued and cul­ti­vated.

Datuk Amir Md Noor, di­rec­tor-gen­eral of the De­part­ment of Com­mu­nity Col­lege Ed­u­ca­tion and act­ing di­rec­tor-gen­eral of De­part­ment of Polytech­nic Ed­u­ca­tion at the min­istry, en­vis­ages that en­rol­ment in TVET pro­grammes will in­crease sig­nif­i­cantly, through ex­ten­sive part­ner­ships with in­dus­try, to en­sure sup­ply matches de­mand.

Poly­tech­nics ed­u­ca­tion, which be­gan in Malaysia with the es­tab­lish­ment of the Ungku Omar Polytech­nic, Ipoh in 1969, was en­trusted to pro­vide tech­ni­cal man­power to cater for the de­mand for semi-pro­fes­sion­als in the en­gi­neer­ing, com­merce and ser­vices sec­tors.

Com­mu­nity col­lege ed­u­ca­tion, on the other hand, was es­tab­lished in 2001 and aimed at pro­vid­ing vo­ca­tional-based train­ing pro­grammes to sec­ondary school-leavers and the lo­cal com­mu­nity through a life­long learn­ing ap­proach.

Al­most all of the pro­grammes of study in poly­tech­nics are de­signed to meet the re­gional and na­tional de­mand for semi-pro­fes­sion­als in the said sec­tors while the ma­jor­ity of the pro­grammes of­fered in com­mu­nity col­leges are tai­lored to suit the so­cio-econ­omy needs of the com­mu­nity.

The dis­tinct dif­fer­ence be­tween pro­grammes run by poly­tech­nics and com­mu­nity col­leges is the level of qual­i­fi­ca­tion — poly­tech­nics mostly of­fer diploma cour­ses while com­mu­nity col­leges pro­vide cer­tifi­cate pro­grammes.

As of June this year, Malaysian poly­tech­nics will be of­fer­ing two pre-diploma pro­grammes, five spe­cial skills cer­tifi­cate pro­grammes, 63 diploma pro­grammes and eight de­gree pro­grammes.

“In other words, the tar­get groups for com­mu­nity col­leges are quite di­verse rang­ing from school-leavers/drop-outs, dis­placed work­ers, com­mu­ni­ties or any mem­bers of the pub­lic who need train­ing for work. SPM hold­ers can ap­ply for full-time pro­grammes at the cer­tifi­cate level in com­mu­nity col­leges and lo­cal com­mu­nity mem­bers can en­rol in short cour­ses of their in­ter­ests ei­ther dur­ing the week­ends or week­days at a nom­i­nal fee.”

Amir said as a rule of thumb, school-leavers should be mind­ful of the fol­low­ing when ap­ply­ing for a pro­gramme in ei­ther poly­tech­nics or com­mu­nity col­leges — in­ter­ests, unique tal­ents, work at­ti­tudes, na­ture of ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing, ca­reer ad­vance­ment, ex­pected salary and avail­abil­ity of jobs.

“De­pend­ing on their SPM re­sults, there are many pro­grammes at both poly­tech­nics and com­mu­nity col­leges that they can con­sider. They should also con­sider con­sult­ing ca­reer guid­ance coun­sel­lors at their re­spec­tive schools on a par­tic­u­lar pro­gramme in these in­sti­tu­tions.”

Amir Md Noor

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