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STUDENTS who graduated from Islamic studies should not limit themselves to stereotypical careers such as religious officers or teachers.

Rather, they should explore other fields of work including becoming entrepreneurs, said International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) deputy rector (student and alumni affairs) Hamidon Abdul Hamid.

With that in mind, IIUM has set up the Waqec Business and Entrepreneurship Training Centre within its Department of Quran and Sunnah Studies.

“We hope that the new centre will spearhead an entrepreneurship drive among students, including those from other departments and faculties,” said Hamidon at the launch of Waqec on Feb 23 by Deputy Entrepreneur and Cooperative Development Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah.

In his speech, Saifuddin said that only 2.4% of graduates become entrepreneurs in Malaysia, compared to 10% in the United States.

He acknowledged that more needs to be done to inculcate an entrepreneurship mindset among local university students.

“We introduced a one-year entrepreneurship placement programme for Islamic graduates last year to increase the number of halal product consultants,’’ he said.

A total of 100 graduates are currently on the programme. A further 200 will be accepted into the programme this year and next. The programme is also open to Malaysian graduates from overseas.

Other measures the ministry is taking to boost the number of entrepreneurs among graduates include improving the effectiveness of entrepreneurship programmes at local universities, enabling final-year students to apply for entrepreneurship loans instead of having to wait until they graduate and encouraging undergraduates to form companies while still in university.

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