According to UNESCO (2015), the integral components of TVET consists of the development of literacy and numeracy skills, learning to learn, citizenship skills and transversal. The segments of the society are well established through lifelong learning resources which is associated with training in public and private educational establishments or other forms of formal or informal instruction. Post-industrial human resource requirements and the changing world of work is a result of an increased focus on preparing knowledge workers to meet the challenges. This is the transition from the Industrial Age to the Information Age.
TVET is a major platform for lifelong learning that leads to a pathway for vocational education and skills development. UNESCO (2020) informs the definition of TVET covering aspects related to the process of education which involves not only general education. TVET involves the work of related sciences and technologies with the acquisition of knowledge, practical skills, attitudes, and understanding related to jobs in various economic sectors and social life. Relevant attention needs to be prioritized on its delivery to produce quality graduates for Malaysia. They are:
- Quality of TVET education system
An industry-led curriculum where there is continued developments on the local cooperation and coordination of TVET and its curriculum design and delivery guidelines. Similarly, continuous support from the government in integrating more development plans to the quality of teaching amongst TVET educators has resulted in an increase of performance on TVET education. To date, actions have been done through developing the ability to multi task across teaching and learning requirements; in-house training to use practical oriented pedagogy; inculcating appropriate values and attitudes in teaching and learning; building in competency training on teaching and learning for all; establish new competency training centres for TVET teaching and learning; adopting modular training system; offering tiered training programmes according to skills levels; design core-modules that are transferable between programmes; and qualified master trainers.
Similarly, 10% of educators at Malaysia Technological Universities (MTUN), polytechnics, community colleges and vocational colleges are required to undergo industrial attachment every year. It is made compulsory for the lecturers to develop their own continuous professional development (CPD) on their industrial experiences every two years, incentivising educators with career progression and allowance. Efforts have been implemented on industrial attachment within every grade; cumulative, short and structured industrial attachment and mechanisms of TVET educators to go global through cross-fertilization. In addition, a self-plan for professional recognition/certification via industrial attachment or cross fertilisation programme is put on TVET educators.
TVET needs a new image that can give confidence to the people in the acceptance of the field at the same time can eliminate negative perception especially parents perception towards TVET programme as the second choice in conventional academic education and by those who were not academically successful. Thus, rebranding TVET is one of the ministry strategies to increase its attractiveness by promoting TVET as an attractive career choice. Previously, one of the branding strategies for TVET system is widening the recognition for TVET certificate holders to enhance positive perceptions towards TVET through the establishment of Malaysia Board of Technologists in 2016. Besides that, the government is promoting new TVET programme initiatives to empower the community colleges in the country such as i) ACES- an acronym for Apprenticeship, Professional Certification, Entrepreneurship and ‘Sijil Kolej Community’ are four pathways for secondary school leavers to take up TVET programmes at community colleges; ii) Maker Market- an initiative taken by community colleges to collaborate with industry players including Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation Sdn. Bhd. (MDEC) to create industry ready workers; and iii) Pondok Perdana- to empower and value-add the skills of ‘pondok’ students through more structured and organised programmes.
Established on 2018 by Minister of Education, Malaysia Research Institute for Vocational Education and Training (MyRIVET) is the only independent TVET research institution at the national level responsible for research, consulting, training and advisory services. This institute centred under one of the MTUN members with the aim to provide information on TVET as the national research referral center to fulfil the industry requirements and national development. This provides benefits for both government agencies and non-governmental organizations in Malaysia. MyRIVET also serves as a key platform in expanding international networks and collaborations.
In addition, rebranding of the field of work labelled as 3D which is dirty, difficult and dangerous to be seen as a job depth that has value and potential to venture which will reduce dependency on foreign workers,
A sustainable governance and governance model will make TVET Malaysia more effective and efficient. It affects coordination in the alignment of programme offerings, opening and closing of Institutions. Several committees and councils have been created specifically to see the level of achievement and effectiveness of TVET education in Malaysia as well as to develop better policies and guidelines to improve the current system. Next, a Joint Technical Committee (JTC) was set up between Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA) and Skills Development Department, responsible for coordinating the quality assurance policies and processes of TVET programmes. Eventually, to streamline the accreditations of the two systems under MQA and Skills Development Department, the good practice in the implementation of the TVET programmes, known as the Code of Practice for TVET Accreditation Program (COPTPA) were developed jointly by the MQA, JPK and TVET experts.
Besides that, National Education Policy Study Committee (JKDPN) laboratory was carried out under Education Performance and Delivery Unit (PADU) from May 2019. The establishment of National Council of Malaysia Higher Education Certification (NCMHEC) was aimed to developed a Standardised Qualification Framework including to ensure the standardization of the TVET module content and the quality of TVET educators. Next, the establishment of the National Employment Council (NEC) with the goals to produce a holistic reservoir of skilled and semi-skilled manpower, complete with green skills. A series of green technology practices, industrial workers should be given training that also focuses on the development of generic green skills.
The creation of close and harmonious cooperation between institutions and industry through the sharing of experts / instructors from the industry can be extended to all TVET providers. The latest workforce skills requirements according to industry needs (demand and supply) will be easier to identify. One of the strategies to increase Industry Academia Collaboration through MyCareer @ MoE. The programme Cater for students from first semester until final semester to empowering students/talent to chart their own career roadmap and networking. The aim of this strategies is to identify 100 relevant companies for internship and employment collaboration by 2025. Currently in 2021, 30 companies must be identified and encourage employer-employee relations towards the concept of partnership in line with international standards. “Company Ambassadors” is another strategy to Strengthen industry-led TVET. A company identifies a number of prospect talents at HLIs and these students shall become the ambassadors for the company at their HLIs. In a way, industries are indirectly involved in designing the students’ career path and improve the preparedness of industries to co train students with HLIs.
The following points concludes and makes recommendations to elevate TVET in Malaysia.
- Strong collaboration needs to be established between TVET providers with industries using a hybrid model where the industries play a vital role in providing the demand-led skills for TVET providers.
- Opportunities to look at models of funding for train and retrain TVET lecturers to be equipped with industry practical skills. Models of HRDF should encourage funding in new emerging areas to meet retraining needs.
- More support should be provided to the industry through tax incentives for companies that participate in TVET training.
- Green TVETs should be prioritized considering the importance supporting SDG goals and the developments across more sustainable green jobs.
- Creating unique industry-mode programmes and more sustainable partnerships with multinational companies.
- Establishing new TVET programme offerings aligned and mapped across niche areas of the Shared Prosperity Vision 2030/SPV 2030.
- Extending TVET Branding Action Plan consisting of TVET Standard Branding Experience (SBE) Guidebook and TVET Branding Repository.
About the author:
Prof. Dr Nur Naha Abu Mansor is the Dean of Azman Hashim International Business School. She holds a PhD in Human Resource and Information Systems from Bradford University, United Kingdom. Her research expertise lies on Business Information Systems and People Development Specialist.