KUCHING: Technical education institutions must rise to the challenge of producing skilled workers to meet the requirements of the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE).
Deputy Education Minister Datuk Mary Yap said the state government aimed to increase the number of technical graduates by 200% or 68,000 people by 2015.
However, she said this was still considered insufficient to meet the needs of SCORE, with 230,000 jobs expected to be created by then.
She called on institutions like the Sarawak Skills Development Centre (PPKS) and International College of Advanced Technology Sarawak (i-CATS) to meet the challenge and help to realise the government’s ambition.
“I believe PPKS and i-CATS can become one of the top providers of technical education in Sarawak. This is in line with the government’s aim of elevating technical and vocational education to international standards,” she said at the 16th convocation of PPKS and i-CATS at Inti College Sarawak yesterday.
PPKS, through its subsidiary PPKS Ilmu Sdn Bhd, had signed a sales-and-purchase agreement last week to buy the Inti College campus at Jalan Stampin here.
Yap said the convocation at the new campus was a milestone for PPKS and i-CATS as it marked their progress in enhancing technical and vocational education in the state.
She also said it was important for higher learning institutions to produce human capital of international quality, who were not only well trained and educated but creative, innovative and able to keep up-to-date with the latest knowledge in their fields.
“The government’s aim of turning Malaysia into a developed nation by 2020 depends very much on education and the development of our human capital,” she said.
“Educational institutions should not just focus on academic achievements but also on nurturing the creativity and talents of students so that they are well-rounded and competitive in the global market.”
Meanwhile, PPKS chairman and i-CATS president Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Husain said the new campus would enable i-CATS to expand its programmes when it begins operations next year.
“It will be named the i-CATS West Campus and offer new courses in business, management, tourism and hospitality,” he said.
According to him, PPKS and i-CATS had produced over 35,000 graduates since their inception 19 and 11 years ago respectively.
He said a tracking study conducted last year showed that 57% of their graduates were employed within six months of graduation while 24% found jobs after six months.
“Another 18% opted to further their studies to a higher level. These statistics show that our graduates are able to compete with those from other higher learning institutions,” Aziz said.
A total of 880 graduates received their certificates and diplomas at the convocation.
Nursing diploma graduate Michellina Rintha Thomas was named as the recipient of the President’s Award while 17 others received best student awards from various industries.