PUTRAJAYA: There are plans to upgrade Politeknik Ungku Omar in Perak to become the country’s first Accelerated Programme for Excellence (Apex) polytechnic and make it a “technology institute”, says Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin.
This means the institution will offer a variety of more advanced and competitive programmes.
He also said that up to half of the courses offered at an Apex polytechnic will be degree programmes.
“All this is geared towards making this polytechnic a technology institute,” he said, adding that they will refer to the prestigious model of Bandung Institute of Technology, Indonesia.
“All polytechnics in our country must have a benchmark of excellence to follow.
“In fact, it is important for the technical education and vocational training (TVET) ecosystem to be empowered with the presence of a superior and competitive technology institute,” he said at the launch of the Polytechnic Transformation 2023-2030 programme yesterday.
Apex is part of the Polytechnic Transformation 2023-2030 programme, which has 13 critical reform agendas.
Mohamed Khaled also said the transformation will see polytechnics becoming more accessible.
This includes open distance learning to allow students to study while still working, with various short-term micro-credential courses, and the establishment of an Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning A Centre at Politeknik Ungku Omar.
Mohamed Khaled said the second goal of this transformation is to diversify the special admission pathways and develop an organised, shorter and competitive academic pathway.
Among the plans is to allow more disabled people (OKU) into polytechnics, beginning with 210 seats this year.
He also said they will open up places to any OKU who can perform physical work and carry out practical training because currently, only those who are hearing- and speech-impaired are allowed into polytechnics.
“Hopefully, the ministry can offer more places to them (those who qualify for the special pathways) in the next three to five years,” he added.
Mohamed Khaled said the other goals are to increase technology adaptation in polytechnics and strengthen cooperation in the industry.
There are four steps to strengthen cooperation between polytechnics and industry, including utilising the Government-Industry TVET Coordinating Body as a specific platform that will boost the relationship and cooperation between government, industry and TVET institutions.
Also present were Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who launched the programme, and Agriculture and Food Security Minister Datuk Seri Mohamad Sabu.