Big step: Muhyiddin (third from left) and Mustapha (third from right) displaying the word puzzle arranged by trainees at the launch of the Cyberjaya Graduate Employability Enabler 2 programme in Cyberjaya.
CYBERJAYA: No minimum pass in English language means no degree. This is the challenge Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin will be putting to students in public universities.
He has not said when this will be implemented but was expected to address the matter at length soon.
Muhyiddin, who is also Education Minister, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak approved the new policy at a meeting last week.
“The confidence to communicate in English is what it (graduate employability) is about today. Multinational companies have a certain benchmark. They don’t just want qualified (graduates) but also ambassadors who have the ability to communicate.
“We want universities to ensure that every student will undergo training in English and that they not only pass (the subject) but are able to communicate effectively as well,” Muhyiddin said when launching the Cyberjaya Graduate Employability Enabler 2 (CGEE2) programme here yesterday.
Several language experts and parents welcomed the move but were concerned over how the policy would be implemented and whether it would burden the students.
But all generally agreed that the policy was a good initiative and a necessary one if graduates and the nation were to benefit in the long run.
At present, students enrolled in a tertiary education institution must pass in three subjects as stipulated by the Malaysian Qualifications Agency.
The subjects are Bahasa Malaysia, Malaysian Studies and Islamic Studies for Muslim students or Moral Studies for non-Muslims.
An exemption for Bahasa Malaysia may be granted to students who obtained a credit or above in the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia or a pass at the Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia level.
Muhyiddin highlighted the importance of English at the launch of the CGEE2 programme after noting that an estimated 10,000 new job opportunities had been identified for the next three years in Cyberjaya alone.
The CGEE2 was aimed at assisting selected graduates from local institutions of higher learning to meet the skills needed by multinational companies in Cyberjaya, where more than 800 corporations, including 486 MSC-status companies, were located.
More than 40,000 knowledge workers were employed with these companies.
Setia Haruman Sdn Bhd chairman Tan Sri Mustapha Kamal Abu Bakar, the CGEE promoter, said only seven out of 333 graduates surveyed in the CGEE pilot project last year were successful in gaining direct employment at four participating companies.
Seventy-four graduates who were unsuccessful were then selected to join the 12-week CGEE training and 70 of them were employed after the instruction.
The second edition of the CGEE pairs trainees with their seniors from the pilot project who were employed in high-impact companies in Cyberjaya as part of a mentorship initiative.
“We realise that it is not just about (a graduate’s) knowledge but also confidence.
“Having a first-class degree is impressive but it is pointless if they (the graduates) are not able to deliver or communicate effectively,” Mustapha said.
Experts caution against rash implementation