Regional Conference on Human Resource Development Through TVET as a Development Strategy in Asia 2-3 August 2011 Colombo SRI LANKA

Key Reforms in Revitalising Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) in Malaysia

Dr. Pang Chau Leong Department of Skills Development, Ministry of Human Resources, Malaysia

0 Introduction Current Status of TVET in Malaysia Revisiting the TVET Framework Conclusion References 3 4 4 7 10 11 2 .0 4.0 2.Contents Page Abstract 1.0 5.0 3.

Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) plays a pivotal role in providing the skilled workforce required for the country‟s economic transformation. rationalizing its framework and structure. the lack of which has hindered the nation‟s endeavour to move out from the middle income trap. Amongst recent measures to revitalize the national TVET system include raising its profile. however. has been hampered by the perception that it mainly caters to the less academically-qualified and does not represent careers of choice. 3 .ABSTRACT Malaysia has embarked on various initiatives to propel the country towards its goal of becoming a high income and developed economy by 2020. In this context. as well as scaling-up private skills training provision. into a high income economy. The cornerstone of this aspiration is the availability of highly skilled human capital. improving its quality and performance. It is also handicapped by a largely fragmented TVET delivery system. The full potential of the national TVET system in Malaysia.

Junior technical (trade) schools were converted to secondary trade schools which were later converted to secondary vocational schools in 1968. 2007). TVET has been regarded as one of the most critical drivers for the country‟s transformation from a middle. 2010. The Economic Transformation Programme which is introduced in 2010 is projected to create 3. In 1919. In 1955. Dr. it is imperative that it embarks on an integrated approach which involves government and economic transformation programmes. the government set up a committee to review the needs for technical and industrial high-income nation. whilst 60 percent are employed in small and medium-sized enterprises (Malaysia. estates and private firms. electricians and blacksmiths. fitters. In 1926. and it put forward measures which included establishing an agricultural school and providing training facilities for the Forest Department (Loh.3 million new job openings by 2020.0 INTRODUCTION For Malaysia to remain competitive in an increasingly challenging global environment and to become a high-income nation by the year 2020. plumbers. Ipoh and Singapore (part of Malaya at that time) to prepare apprentices as artisans in trades such as mechanics.0 CURRENT STATUS OF TECHNICAL AND VOCATIONAL TRAINING IN MALAYSIA 2. 2001). another high-powered committee headed by the Deputy Prime Minister at that time. Ahmad (2003) observed that the Malaysian 4 . 1975). NEAC. a Federal Trade School was established in Kuala Lumpur to provide full-time three-year courses to train mechanics. 1975).1.1 Background of TVET in Malaysia TVET in Malaysia could be traced back to the late 1890s when trade schools were being considered to prepare local youths to work as mechanics and fitters on the national railways. and all sectors including formal or school-based. led to the Cabinet Report of 1979 which reaffirmed that the country‟s upper secondary education should comprise of both academic and vocational streams. of which only about 28 percent are highly-skilled. These developments marked the expansion of institutionalised vocational training in Malaya which was geared to meet the needs of the country‟s industry. These programmes attach great importance on intensifying human resource development in order to produce a workforce which is well-equipped to face a competitive global market. Later. the Rahman Talib Report led to the segregation of the secondary school system into academic and vocational streams (MOE. secondary. a technical school was established to train technical assistants for the Railways and Public Works Department (Maznah. In this paper. Mahathir Mohamed. Consequently. two years before Malaya gained her independence. 2003. In 1979. The committee published the Razak report in 1956 which promoted the policy of establishing a vocational stream alongside the general secondary school system (Wong & Ee. Based on a review of historical developments. 2. informal or even apprenticeship. enterprise-based. the conceptual definition of TVET cuts across post-primary. In 1960. and tertiary educational levels. Malaysia currently has a workforce of about 12 million. three other trade schools were built in Penang. the government set up an Education Committee to review the existing education system and to formulate a new system for postindependence Malaya. of which at least 40 percent is expected to require technical and vocational education and training (TVET) qualifications (PEMANDU. In 1906. The Education Department took over the school in 1931 to serve the needs of public departments as well as business enterprises such as mines. Loh. machine workers and other technicians (Ahmad.2010). fitters. 2010). 1975).

1999): 1st subsystem: Technical education and vocational training undertaken in schools at the upper secondary level under the Ministry of Education (MOE). both public and private architects. Skilled and semi-skilled workers. Higher education Institutions Workforce Preparation Universities and other Professional and managerial institutions of higher learning. Several other studies have highlighted that skills training based on National Occupational Skills Standards (NOSS) had increasingly become a significant component of the national system (Pang. and (c) Post-secondary TVET. (b) Technical and vocational education undertaken largely in the formal school system under the Ministry of Education. Technical and Polytechnics. 3rd subsystem: The standardisation and certification of occupational skills based on the National Occupational Skill Standards and Certification System.6) Table 1: Main Streams of the Education and Training System in Malaysia. 2008. The accreditation of training centres and their training courses was conducted by the National Vocational Training Council. A similar description of the Malaysian education and training system was made by Rashid & Nasir (2003). training public and private Source: Paraphrased and tabulated from Ahmad (2003. 3. and skills training (refer Table 1). 2. namely higher education. who highlighted demarcations between: (a) Tertiary or higher education in universities and other higher educational institutions. Stream or Pathway 1. excluding tertiary and higher education. et al.TVET had progressively developed into three different streams. 2010). a new 5-level skills qualification framework was introduced. undertaken through the skills stream of the secondary vocational schools but predominantly by public and private skills training institutions. leading to the Malaysian Certificate of Education as the leaving qualification. The „Basic Study on Designing a Dual Training Scheme in Malaysia‟ undertaken from 1997 to 1999 by a large team of German consultants. and Ministry of Entrepreneurial Development as well as private training institutions. in terms of three subsystems (Blumenstein. technical Supervisory personnel such as vocational colleges and (more recently) technical assistants and education community colleges supervisors. described the Malaysian system. including skills training. It was completely integrated into the general education system. and surveyors. technical and vocational education. 2nd subsystem: Technical and vocational training that did not come under the MOE but were administered by other Federal Ministries such as the Ministry of Human Resources. 5 . It started with a three-level skill certification system (basic. Ministry of Youth and Sports. intermediate and advanced) but in 1992. Vocational skills Skills training institutions. personnel such as engineers. p. followed by the adoption of an accreditation approach in 1993.

and (b) promoting lifelong learning. skills upgrading. the education and training priorities include: (a) introducing a new dual training approach. p. community or society at large for further education. skills. creativity and will of its people… Our people are our ultimate resource. In the previous national five-year development plan. The study confirmed that vocational education under the purview of the MOE was one major component of the country‟s TVET system whilst training conducted by the other ministries and agencies based on NOSS formed the other major component. the Ninth Malaysia Plan (9MP). 2001-2010. emphasizes the need for a fundamental realignment in the policies and strategies of human resource development in order to support the country‟s shift towards a knowledge-based economy (Malaysia. th 5 pillar: Continuing education and training which caters to the demands of employers. 2.1). through redesigning training programmes in line with changing industry requirements. that is those who do not take up pre-university studies.Another study known as the „Strategic Review of Technical Education and Skills Training in Malaysia‟ was undertaken by Australian consultants as part of an Asian Development Bank technical assistance project (DEETYA. 20062010. the Malaysian Government presented the National Mission that outlined the country‟s priorities for the next 15 years. th 4 pillar: Private higher education. rd 3 pillar: Company-based training. and accredited by the National Accreditation Board. One of the five key policy thrusts of the National Mission was “to raise the capacity for knowledge and innovation and nurture first class mentality” (Malaysia. nd 2 pillar: Malaysian Skills Qualifications Framework. 2006a. 1991): The most important resource of any nation must be the talents. largely under the purview of the Private Higher Education Institutions Act 1996. Ministry of Entrepreneurial Development and Ministry of Youth & Sports. A more recent study undertaken on behalf of the World Bank by Pillay (2005) categorised Malaysia‟s TVET system into five main pillars. Its main focus was to expand the accessibility and quality of the country‟s education and training system. a new National Dual Training System was introduced through consultations with stakeholders including industry associations. p. and a national committee known as the Cabinet Committee on Human 6 . retraining. which are outlined below: st 1 pillar: Public higher education system which caters mainly to SPM school-leavers. 1998.30). career advancement and enrichment.2 Policy Framework for TVET Malaysia‟s national development policies and plans have repeatedly emphasized the criticality of human resource development in supporting the country‟s growth. 2001a). The Third Outline Perspective Plan (OPP3). excludes universities and university colleges. technical schools under the Ministry of Education as well as training institutions under the Ministry of Human Resources. This is clearly embodied in the „Malaysia: The Way Forward‟ statement in 1991 which challenges the country to achieve developed nation status by 2020 (Mahathir. which comes under the Human Resource Development Fund established in 1993 to promote the training of employees. but includes polytechnics and community colleges under the Ministry of Higher Education. Under the OPP3. Under the 9MP. a five-tiered skills certification system based on the NOSS which was introduced by the National Vocational Training Council in 1993.

000 or RM48. raising living standards of low-income households. To achieve this. (e) Transparent and market friendly affirmative action. TVET continues to be considered as critical for supporting the country‟s economic development. to meet present needs without compromising future generations. 3. recognising the national skills qualification. (g) Enhancing the sources of growth. and „sustainability‟. (b) Upgrading and harmonising TVET curriculum quality in line with industry requirements. including to establish a new Centre for Instructor and Advanced Skills Training.0 3. In the current Tenth Malaysia Plan (10MP).Capital Development was established to guide policies and strategies related to education and training. and (h) Ensuring sustainability of growth. 2010). To date.7 trillion in 2010 compared to RM660 billion in 2009. 131 Entry Point Projects have been identified for 7 . and (d) Streamlining the delivery of TVET. The projects and initiatives identified in the ETP are expected to transform Malaysia into a high-income economy with a Gross National Income of RM1. 2011-2015. (d) Strengthening of the public sector. the ETP focuses on 12 National Key Economic Areas where Malaysia has distinct competitive advantages. namely the New Economic Model. (b) Developing a quality workforce and reducing dependency of foreign workers. enabling all communities to fully benefit from the wealth of the country. Government Transformation Programme (GTP) The GTP was introduced in 2010 to transform the Government‟s effectiveness in the delivery of services. including to review the current funding approach of TVET and to undertake performance ratings of TVET institutions. (f) Building the knowledge-based infrastructure.1 REVISITING THE TVET FRAMEWORK Transforming the Malaysian Economy Four (4) main thrusts have been put in place to transform Malaysia into a high income by 2020. 2010). through more intensive national media campaign.000 by 2020 (PEMANDU. New Economic Model (NEM) The main goal of the NEM is to increase country‟s per capita gross national income from USD6. fighting corruption. improving education outcomes. improving rural basic infrastructure. and the Tenth Malaysia Plan (10MP). the Economic Transformation Programme.700 in 2009 to at least USD15. Four policy guidelines have been put forward to mainstream and elevate access to quality TVET in Malaysia: (a) Improving the perception of TVET and attracting more trainees. It incorporates six National Key Result Areas: Reducing crime. The NEM embarks on 8 strategic reform initiatives which seek to put the Malaysian economy on a stronger footing (NEAC. the Government Transformation Programme. It is also premised on the principles of „inclusiveness‟. 2010) Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) The Economic Transformation Programme is a comprehensive effort to propel Malaysia‟s annual real growth target of about 6 percent can be achieved in the next 10 years (PEMANDU.700 or RM23. and establishing a new Malaysian Board of technologists. by initiatives which include standardising TVET curriculum. (c) Developing highly effective instructors. 2010): (a) Re-energising the private sector. and improving urban public transport (PEMANDU. (c) Creating a competitive domestic economy.

the current funding approach is under review in order to shift it towards demand and performance-based approach. standards and curricula TVET provision in Malaysia is undertaken by different ministries. On streamlining the delivery of TVET. A new Centre for Instructors and Advanced Skills Training is also being established. sharing of resources. the focus is to improve the value proposition and attractiveness of TVET to prospective students. Many employers do not recognise the certification due to the highly fragmented landscape. only 10 percent of students enrol in upper secondary technical and vocational streams. Tenth Malaysia Plan (10MP). Multiplicity of provision. as the career choice for the less academically-qualified. 2011-2015 In Malaysia. and the further education of TVET graduates. Towards this end.implementation. On standards and curriculum development. the Department of Skills Development has been designated as the agency to develop and standardise TVET curriculum. The diverse TVET management structures and the sharing of supervisory responsibilities by various government bodies and ministries account for some of the inefficiencies in 8 . with a multiplicity of certification. Consequently. standards and curricula. the 10MP emphasises the development of highly effective TVET instructors and provision of more flexible pathways of entry into the profession by experienced industry personnel. more than 100. agencies and organisations. The various TVET providers often operate as silos and do not taking into account programme offerings in the broader context. rather than as an important strategy to train skilled workers for the employment market and for sustainable livelihoods. of which 60 percent will be in the middle-income and high-income bracket.000 school-leavers join the labour market annually. and articulation within the overall system. The societal stigma of TVET has also been created by the impression that the primary objective of vocational education and training is to cater for school drop-outs. During the Plan period of 2011-2015. 3. To enhance standardisation and recognition of TVET certification. There is also no single oversight body to provide overview of TVET landscape. In addition. In addition. This perception has been aggravated by the lower academic requirements stipulated for admission into TVET programmes and the limited prospects for further educational and professional development of TVET graduates. whilst a new Malaysian Board of Technologists will be established to accelerate the professional development of TVET qualification-holders. certification. there is a huge opportunity for TVET providers to attract school-leavers to take up TVET. In addition. recognition of prior learning.2 Key Issues and Challenges Poor perception and recognition of TVET TVET in Malaysia has always been considered by the public at large. These projects are expected to create 3. providers and industry. and parents. quality assurance. both public and private. with many ministries and agencies issuing certifications. a system has been developed to rate the performance of public and private TVET institutions. after 11 years of formal schooling without pursuing further education or training. the Malaysian Skills Certification will be adopted as the national certification.3 million new jobs. TVET-based qualifications and careers are still poorly perceived and recognised in the workplace. resulting in overlapping courses and institutions as well as creating confusion for students and employers. and to ensure that the curriculum meets industry requirements and is aligned with national economic priorities. cost-effectiveness. The current governance structure still lacks effective coordination. This situation has implications for the standardization of training and qualification. A national media campaign is being rolled-out to improve public awareness and perception of TVET as well as to re-brand TVET as an attractive career option.

over maters which include curriculum development. Consequently. Training institutions also seldom track the employment destination of their graduates. In addition. and more appealing to. A national media and promotion campaign was launched by the Deputy Prime Minister on 5 May 2011campaign to emphasise the career prospects and advantages of a TVET qualification in order to lift the society stigma associated with TVET and to roll-out a series of road shows throughout the country to provide information and create awareness on opportunities in the TVET sector. the current TVET programmes in Malaysia are largely supply-driven and still lack giving emphasis to match training to available jobs. with multiple certification levels.3. many are not yet operating at full capacity.the system like duplication and segmentation of training. 3. the implementation of outcome evaluation and tracer studies that can improve the market responsiveness of training programmes is still lacking. performance. standards and students funding model has created complexity in the sector.2 Rationalising TVET framework and structure Involvement of many ministries and agencies in the TVET sector. school-leavers and workers alike. Lacking in efficiency and quality In general. It is also important to make the TVET pathway more attractive for further learning and professional opportunities as well as to provide flexibility for students to articulate across different providers. and the absence of a common platform for developing coherent policies and joint initiatives. 3. the institutions have not taken advantage feedback from past trainees on the quality of the training they have received to improve their curricula and training packages. The limited cooperation between different ministries and agencies leaves little flexibility for students to move to higher levels across institutes. planning of provisioning and fund allocation. In short. Although. The overall funding structure also does not fully support quality and performance of TVET providers. TVET institutes are generally small and offer lower certifications. Weak monitoring and evaluation Although fundamentally designed to meet observed or projected labour market demands. TVET provision in Malaysia is still largely concentrated on lower-level skills qualification whereby more than 70 percent of graduates are at Malaysian Skills Certificates. TVET Institutions are running at high operating levels.3. Levels 1 and 2. A new governance structure is being considered to provide oversight and coordinate across all related ministries and agencies. most students entering the stream find it difficult to proceed to higher levels of education and qualification because the TVET pathway has been largely developed for the less academically-qualified.3 3.1 Recent Measures for Revitalising the TVET System Raising the profile and acceptance of TVET The SkillsMalaysia re-branding exercise was announced by the Prime Minister of Malaysia on 11 January 2011 as an Entry-Point Project under the Economic Transformation Programme to make TVET a popular choice for. In the private sector. There is clearly the need to re-define involvement of ministries and agencies in order to remove silos and rationalise the diverse curricula and funding approaches. 9 .

a comprehensive set of initiatives have been developed. increasing the number of qualified instructors. In this regard. conducting awareness campaign. TVET is currently not a mainstream education option and typically not a viable alternative to entering the workforce as it does not provide clear educational and professional pathways. the national TVET system requires to be transformed in terms of its efficiency. To increase the number of qualified TVET instructors.3 million jobs will be created.0 CONCLUSIONS Malaysia aspires to attain the developed nation status by the year 2020. A skilled workforce is critical to achieving this goal. Various efforts have been taken to articulate the professional pathway for TVET by allowing the Malaysian Skills Certificates to progress to selected degree programmes. It has also geared itself towards moving up the value chain to become a high income economy. qualified and experienced industry personnel have been fast-tracked to become TVET instructors. Many issues currently faced by key stakeholders need to be addressed including: For students. still do not fully recognize and give commensurate value to TVET qualifications. and assisting providers in attracting foreign students. 4. Efforts are currently underway to market SkillsMalaysia internationally and to review related regulations and procedures in order to attract foreign students to enrol into Malaysia‟s TVET systems. and employers. Measures to harmonise skills training include establishing a new Malaysian Board of Technologists. 10 . operating model and funding structure. TVET providers are somewhat confused with the fragmented TVET landscape with numerous providers from various ministries resulting in multiple qualifications systems and non-uniform curricula standards. industry lead bodies are being identified to guide TVET development in each skills sector. To strengthen links with industry. an additional 3. at large.3. and (c) Scaling up private skills training provision in order to develop a more vibrant TVET industry in Malaysia. seven (7) key initiatives under the National Key Economic Area for Education have been put in place: Promoting closer links with industry. harmonising skills training by regulatory reform. of which 1. demand for skilled workforce is expected to outgrow supply. quality and performance in order to equip the country‟s workforce with the competencies required for a competitive and knowledge-based economy. whilst the Skills Development Fund has been made available to increase access to quality training courses in high-performing training providers. encompassing: (a) Rebranding TVET to mainstream and improve perception of TVET. increasing availability of demand-side funding. articulating the professional pathway. Consequently.3. By 2020. With the introduction of the New Economic Model and Economic Transformation Programme. (b) Rationalising and streamlining the TVET sector in terms of its provisioning.3 million will require TVET qualifications.3 Scaling-up private skills training provision To support the country‟s Economic Transformation Programme.

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