KUALA LUMPUR: An overhaul of Malaysia’s Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) is needed, says a Khazanah Research Institute (KRI) report.
It must be demand-driven with close industry involvement plus strategic coordination among the training providers.
These were among the points raised in KRI’s “school-to-work transition survey” that was launched on Dec 13.
“Promote competency-based education and training using short modular courses linked to specific skill needs,” KRI senior visiting fellow Dr Lim Lin Lean said.
The German dual training system could be evaluated and applied accordingly here, she said.
The dual system is globally recognised for its combination of theory and training embedded in a real-life work environment.
According to the report, only 13% of all upper secondary students are pursuing TVET courses while at the higher education level, less than 9% are in polytechnics.
It is often claimed that students and their parents see TVET as “inferior education” meant for the academically challenged.
However, young job seekers consider TVET as the most useful qualification for getting a good job.
The reasons for such a mismatch need to be addressed, the report said.
The report also found a significant wage difference between TVET graduates and those with other hard skills.
The maximum salary reported by public sector employers for TVET workers was about RM3,000 less than for university graduates, and RM500 more than for SPM holders.
Malaysian Employers Federation executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan said existing TVET programmes must be continuously reviewed.
“Eliminate low impact programmes. Focus on high employability ones and those specialising in niche areas,” he said.
He said mechanisms that connect skills provision with ever evolving jobs were needed.
Policy makers must create TVET centres of excellence where niche industries exist, he said.
“For example, Tanjung Malim and Pekan were established as automotive hubs.
“TVET in these areas should concentrate on the automotive industry to ensure a steady supply of workers for employers.
“A stronger bond between TVET, industries, and the community, must be nurtured,” he added.