SERDANG: The 100,000 students graduating from public universities next year will have an additional certificate besides their degree scrolls.
These students will undergo courses in several areas including communication skills, critical thinking and problem solving skills before graduation to ensure they become competent workers.
They will then be evaluated and a certificate issued based on their proficiency, said Higher Education Minister Datuk Mustapa Mohamed.
“This certificate can be used as a guide by employers,” he said after launching a workshop on a soft skills' development module at Universiti Putra Malaysia yesterday.
Mustapa said the ministry was taking into consideration complaints by employers that graduates lacked soft skills.
“There is not much we can do in a few months but we need to be practical and sensible. Having English skills is certainly an important component, as is writing skills,” he said.
Beginning from the second semester this December, he said, all undergraduates would be taught soft skills in all their courses.
“Skills such as communication and writing would be embedded in all the courses. For example, it doesn't matter if you are studying Chemistry or another subject as students will still be taught certain skills such as how to make a presentation,” he said.
He said many of the components from the module were already present in existing programmes.
“We just want to standardise it as several public universities already offer their graduating students a finishing course in soft skills. We want to ensure this is carried out at all public universities,” he said
On another matter, Mustapa said work on the controversial Ethnic Relations subject for public universities would be completed soon.
“The panel is meeting me in a few weeks' time,” he said.
A multi-racial panel of experts has been tasked with preparing a new Ethnic Relations module for the universities after a reference book used by UPM was questioned and withdrawn last month.
Last week, Mustapa stressed it was imperative for the Cabinet to review the module before it was approved as it dealt with important issues that involved all Malaysians.