TVET allowance issue being cleared

JOHOR BARU: Some 5,000 students enrolled in private technical and vocational education and training (TVET) institutes across the country, who had faced delays in receiving their allowances from the Skills Development Fund Corporation (PTPK) due to a “technical issue” can expect to receive their funds by next month.

PTPK chairman of the board of directors Zahir Hassan said that all outstanding issues, particularly the RM600 monthly living allowance for TVET students, were officially approved when the board met for the first time last week.

PTPK chairman of the board of directors Zahir Hassan PTPK chairman of the board of directors Zahir Hassan

“Usually, we can process it fast if the paperwork is in order. However, due to the backlog of the number of students involved, PTPK will need a bit more time, and I expect everything to be sorted out by next month,” he told The Star.

Zahir said the board had also decided to maintain laptop and transport allowances for all students until the end of the year, with students receiving a one-off payment of RM2,500 for laptops and RM2,000 for transport. He said that a review of these allowances would be conducted next year.Furthermore, during the more than four-hour meeting, the board approved the licence renewal of numerous TVET institutes and training providers that had expired in recent months.

Zahir, also the Wangsa Maju MP, said the board had decided to scrutinise applications from new training providers seeking to register with PTPK.

He emphasised the need to ensure alignment between the courses offered and what the market demands, aiming to guarantee that TVET courses benefit students and that job opportunities await them upon completion of their studies.

Zahir also said it was important for students to repay their loans promptly to facilitate assistance for other students.

He said since the inception of TVET loans in 2006, over RM1bil has been disbursed to deserving students.

Previously, The Star reported that approximately 2,000 to 3,000 students studying or aspiring to enrol in TVET institutes nationwide faced uncertainty due to delays in receiving their living allowances or study loans.

Moreover, most private TVET institutions nationwide had been unable to register new students to facilitate loan disbursement amid speculation that student funds had been depleted.

Under the three-year certificate or diploma programme, TVET students in private institutes are entitled to a RM600 monthly cost of living allowance. However, students who enrolled before July this year had already received their allowances and subsidies.

Deputy Human Resources Minister Datuk Mustapha Sakmud had previously cited the delay in appointing the new PTPK board of directors as contributing to issues affecting students and private TVET institutes.

He added that the delay had caused problems in appointing new training supervisors, approving new programmes and setting study fees.

On the RM2,500 allowance for laptops and RM2,000 for transport, Mustapha said these incentives were offered in the past to encourage students to pursue TVET courses.

TVET operators said the average cost for a three-year diploma programme ranges from RM50,000 to RM70,000, covering tuition fees, course materials, exam fees and living allowances.

Students must apply for each level separately and repay their loans with an annual interest of 3% on a declining basis over a 10-year period. Many of the students come from rural areas and disadvantaged households.

Due to payment delays, parents were compelled to provide financial support, particularly for those residing in hostels.

TVET institutes typically conduct four annual intakes, offering over 2,000 TVET programmes.

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