Ensuring youth choose tertiary

KOTA TINGGI: Five new initiatives will be introduced next month to attract more youth to further their education at the tertiary level, says Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin.

These include the introduction of a flexible study environment, reducing the course period, and providing more industrial and work-based learning.

“We are aware that some of the concerns for students not to further their studies are the lack of market demand, unemployment, and low salary despite having a higher level of education.

“All of these matters are being addressed. The ministry is pushing for closer cooperation between universities and industry so that all of our graduates are marketable,” he told reporters after attending the Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (UMT) Semarak Komuniti Kota Tinggi programme at SK Sedili Besar here yesterday.

He said this when asked to comment on Education Minister Fadhlina Sidek’s statement that 180,680 SPM students from the 2021 school session have chosen not to further their education.

Mohamed Khaled said among the initiatives to get youth to continue their studies are a flexible study course allowing them to do some of their courses online and reducing a four-year course to three years.

He also said there has been an increase in university enrolment from 2020 until 2022, with 85% of the applications going to the country’s 20 public universities.

Last month, StarEdu reported that data from the Education Ministry revealed that only half of 2021 school leavers (50.3%) were interested in pursuing a higher education, with 30.8% looking to immediately work after secondary school.

This was a massive decline from 2019 and 2020, which saw 65.2% and 64.8% of students continuing their studies, respectively, while only 25.9% and 24.6% opted to work immediately after leaving school.

On school teachers, Mohamed Khaled said there would be a forecast of how many were needed to deal with any oversupply of graduates in the future.

He said the supply of teachers should not only be limited to public schools but include private and international schools, and technical and vocational education and training (TVET) centres.

“We will be working closely with the Education Ministry to get its forecast of teachers needed in the future so that we can address this matter.

“I have also told Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris to pay extra attention to producing TVET teachers,” he said.

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