Why TVET education is Malaysia’s ‘hidden gem’?

The introduction of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) in Malaysia was driven by the need to meet industry demands and foster economic growth in an era characterised by globalisation, knowledge-based economies, technological advancements, and global workforce mobility.

TVET has long been hailed as a potential ‘game-changer’ for elevating the nation’s economy and overall social development, garnering increased attention from both industry stakeholders and the government.

While many developed countries have invested significantly in TVET, reaping the benefits in terms of enhanced national income, Malaysia continues to grapple with the challenge of dispelling the notion that TVET is a secondary education pathway.

In reality, TVET is a ‘hidden gem’ capable of contributing substantially to the nation’s prosperity, encompassing economic well-being, high-income levels, and the overall advancement of society.

The Deputy President (Academic & Technology) of Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL), Prof. Dr. Kushsairy Abdul Kadir, highlighted the urgency of addressing this perception, noting that young individuals are increasingly recognising TVET as a potential game-changer.

A testament to this shift in perception is UniKL’s recent student intake performance, with the apex Higher TVET (HTVET) university in Malaysia achieving a remarkable 99% of its 2023 target.

“UniKL maintains close collaborations with Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA) and Ministry of Rural and Regional Development (KKDW) to establish accessible entry points and opportunities for prospective students.

“As part of our strategy to appeal to students, we have branded this programme as HVET, with a strong emphasis on the technology-centric offerings available to Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) graduates, Diploma holders, and beyond. This technological focus is likely one of the programme’s compelling attractions,” explained Assoc. Prof. Dr. Kushsairy.

He was speaking during an interview on Bernama TV titled “TVET: Masih Pilihan Sendu?” as a panelist, alongside Mohammad Rizan Hassan, Head of the Skilled Youth Project, on September 6th, 2023.

When asked whether UniKL is prepared to contribute to Malaysia’s provision of highly skilled labour, thereby facilitating increased investments in the country, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Kushsairy expressed firm confidence in UniKL’s readiness to embrace this challenge.

“In our collaborations with industries, a recurring question they often pose is, “Do we possess an adequate pool of skilled manpower?”

“Being the apex university in the field of HTVET within the nation, boasting an enrollment of approximately 25,000 active students and with a striking 90 percent of our programmes centred on TVET, we stand fully prepared to meet the nation’s imperative of supplying skilled labour while simultaneously attracting investments into our country,” remarked him.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Kushsairy also dismissed the misconception that TVET is a mundane field of study, asserting that UniKL consistently ensures its programmes remain not only relevant to current industry needs but also aligned with future requirements.

Furthermore, the recently launched New Industrial Master Plan (NIMP) 2030 by the government underscores the necessity of producing more highly skilled workers.

The workforce sought by industries comprises individuals with expertise in TVET as well as education in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).

The plan emphasises the creation of high-value job opportunities to expand the middle class, with NIMP 2030 interventions projected to increase the median salary in the manufacturing sector from RM1,976 to RM4,510—a remarkable 128% increase from 2021.

This growth will be driven by the industry’s shift towards higher value-added activities and the creation of high-skilled job opportunities.


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