A bright path ahead

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - NEW ZEALAND EDUCATION -

SPEAK­ING at the 9th Asean Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ters Meet­ing, held in Malaysia on May 24, New Zealand Ter­tiary Ed­u­ca­tion Com­mis­sion chief ex­ec­u­tive Tim Fowler com­mented that Tech­ni­cal Vo­ca­tional Ed­u­ca­tion and Train­ing ( TVET) is im­per­a­tive and ab­so­lutely crit­i­cal to Asean’s eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment. This aligns closely with the Malaysian Gov­ern­ment’s pro­jec­tions that ap­prox­i­mately one and a half mil­lion jobs will be cre­ated by 2020 and 60% will re­quire TVET- re­lated skills.

Within Malaysia, there has also been an in­creas­ing push to em­brace tech­ni­cal and vo­ca­tional ed­u­ca­tion as a vi­able ed­u­ca­tion op­tion, as op­posed to view­ing it as a sec­ond- class ed­u­ca­tion. Cur­rently, the mar­ketabil­ity of TVET grad­u­ates in Malaysia’s em­ploy­ment mar­ket is higher ( 98%) com­pared to univer­sity grad­u­ates ( 60%). Fur­ther­more, in ad­di­tion to be­ing em­ployed faster, TVET grad­u­ates are also of­fered higher wages due to the high de­mand for grad­u­ates with spe­cific skill sets.

The con­tin­ued sup­port from Malaysian Gov­ern­ment and in­dus­tries has fur­ther helped stu­dents em­brace the TVET ed­u­ca­tional path­way.

These ef­forts have not gone un­no­ticed with Fowler also com­ment­ing that New Zealand is highly sup­port­ive of ev­ery ef­fort made by Malaysia to use TVET as a means to fur­ther de­velop as a na­tion.

In ad­di­tion to be­ing home to a num­ber of in­ter­na­tion­ally renowned uni­ver­si­ties, New Zealand also of­fers a mul­ti­tude of di­verse and well- es­tab­lished TVET in­sti­tu­tions. Cur­rently, ter­tiary TVET falls un­der Pro­fes­sional and Vo­ca­tional Ed­u­ca­tion ( PAVE) in New Zealand and of­fered at In­sti­tutes of Tech­nol­ogy and Polytech­nics ( ITPs), In­dus­try Train­ing Or­gan­i­sa­tions ( ITOs) and Pri­vate Train­ing Es­tab­lish­ments ( PTEs). PAVE pro­vides stu­dents hands- on ed­u­ca­tion that helps them think cre­atively, im­prove their skills and in­crease their em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­nity with a qual­i­fi­ca­tion recog­nised around the world.

En­try to cour­ses gen­er­ally re­quires com­ple­tion of Malaysia’s sec­ondary cer­tifi­cate Si­jil Tinggi Perseko­la­han Malaysia ( STPM) and Si­jil Pe­la­jaran Malaysia ( SPM). Ad­di­tion­ally, po­ten­tial stu­dents must meet English lan­guage re­quire­ments, al­though en­try re­quire­ments vary be­tween in­sti­tu­tions. Cur­rently, the New Zealand TVET sec­tor pro­vides cour­ses at cer­tifi­cate, diploma un­der­grad­u­ate and post­grad­u­ate lev­els. These qual­i­fi­ca­tions recog­nise skills and knowl­edge that meet na­tion­ally en­dorsed achieve­ment stan­dards.

Re­search has also shown in­creas­ing de­mand for in­creased Malaysian ex­per­tise in ar­eas such as tourism, hospi­tal­ity, ICT and engi­neer­ing. New Zealand of­fers a num­ber of in­sti­tu­tions known for pro­duc­ing well- rounded, workready grad­u­ates in these fields.

With cam­puses in Dunedin, Otago and Auck­land, Otago Polytech­nic is one of the fore­most in­sti­tutes in New Zealand. Fur­ther­more, Otago Polytech­nic of­fers study pro­grammes rang­ing from un­der­grad­u­ate cer­tifi­cates, diplo­mas and de­grees, through to post­grad­u­ate mas­ter’s de­grees. New Zealand Qual­ity As­sess­ment’s ( NZQA) Ex­ter­nal Eval­u­a­tion and Re­view in 2014 gave Otago Polytech­nic its high­est pos­si­ble rat­ing – “highly con­fi­dent” in ed­u­ca­tional per­for­mance, vir­tu­ally guar­an­tee­ing a qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion here.

The Wellington In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy ( WelTec) is home to one of the coun­try’s most well es­tab­lished ICT ( In­for­ma­tion and Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Tech­nol­ogy) schools with grad­u­ates re­puted as tal­ented and skilled tech­nol­o­gists. In May, WelTec part­nered with New Zealand’s largest ded­i­cated Mi­crosoft busi­ness so­lu­tions provider In­ter­gen, to help meet its ICT work­force re­quire­ments. In­ter­gen chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Si­mon Bright said, “The grad­u­ates WelTec pro­duces with ad­vanced ap­plied ICT skills is ex­actly what we are looking for.”

One of the most pop­u­lar PTEs is Queen­stown Re­sort Col­lege ( QRC). Widely re­garded as New Zealand’s premier Tourism and Hospi­tal­ity Man­age­ment Col­lege, its holis­tic ed­u­ca­tion pro­vides in­te­grated the­o­ret­i­cal and prac­ti­cal knowl­edge along­side op­por­tu­ni­ties to un­der­take rel­e­vant in­tern­ships and work place­ments.

Last year, Malaysian col­lege Kolej Yayasan Saad ( KYS) part­nered with QRC to of­fer one of QRC’s most pop­u­lar cour­ses, the Diploma in Ad­ven­ture Tourism Man­age­ment, to Malaysian stu­dents. A large part of this part­ner­ship will in­volve Malaysian stu­dents un­der­go­ing a nine- month in­tern­ship with ad­ven­ture tourism op­er­a­tors in Queen­stown.

“The key out­come for these stu­dents is to work in the in­dus­try or be en­trepreneur­s and set up their own ad­ven­ture tourism busi­nesses. There are a few ( ad­ven­ture tourism) ac­tiv­i­ties in Malaysia now but there’s cer­tainly a lot of po­ten­tial,” said Queen­stown Re­sort Col­lege chief ex­ec­u­tive Char­lie Phillips.

A New Zealand ed­u­ca­tion of­fers a holis­tic ex­pe­ri­ence.

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