EDUCATION: Choices for school leavers

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

THE Education Revamp Committee is reviewing and deliberating on nine areas of our education system. “Post-school opportunities” is one area.

.Sre-school leavers can gain valuable experiencetise with on-the-job training at factories and firms thatwhich will give them greater insights into their career choice.

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Post-schoolers can choose either to continue their studies at a higher level, or do something else.

In the first option, they can go for Form Six, matriculation, A-level Baccalaureate, polytechnic, vocational, trade-related or other preliminary courses. Or, they may follow foundation courses for specific professional qualifications. This is a well-trodden path.

In the second option, other than those chosen to do the three-month National Service, there are others who may decide to take a breather from their studies. They volunteer themselves for non-governmental, governmental, inter-governmental, religious, social, or charitable work. Some are sponsored, while others have to pay to be enlisted.

There are also those who do backpack travelling to some distant lands. Others, for financial reasons, have to start working.

Their choice is an investment of their time; an investment by our post-schoolers of their time. These post-schoolers are our national assets.

They need to be well informed to make good choices; first to decide whether it is option one or two, and then to decide on the choice of course or path to engage in.

Therefore, to provide our post-schoolers with the correct, latest and sufficient information is vital.

I hope the committee would consider my proposals.

First, prepare a comprehensive directory or handbook on recognised post-Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia study courses for option one advocates, and endorsed voluntary ventures or openings for option two advocates.

Post-schoolers should be spared the agony, frustrations and time-wasting efforts of having to seek and filter the voluminous information on the matter. They must also be protected from bogus institutions or organisations that offer dubious courses or ventures.

A ministry-approved directory or handbook that is comprehensive may be cumbersome to prepare at first. But once the system, layout and structure of the directory or handbook are set, it would be just a matter of adding-on in later editions. Properly done, this initiative may even generate revenue for the ministry.

Second, get public and private enterprises that are engaged in economic activities to conduct educational tours to their facilities — factories, manufacturing plants, printing presses, estates, hospitals, stock exchanges, workshops, studios, shipyards, animal farms, recreational parks, etc.

These are valuable experiences for post-schoolers to gain greater insight into their potential future study or career options.

On a personal level, I still cherish the chance I had during my younger days to visit establishments like the Singapore Pulau Bukom Shell Refinery, Nanyang Daily Printing Press and Proton Automobile Assembly Plant in Shah Alam.

I know for a fact that in some countries, factories and manufacturing plants conduct regular paid and guided tours for visitors to view their operations.

Third, it would be great if our public and private enterprises can have pre-qualification “exposure” internships for post-schoolers of their selection. Such an opportunity will allow post-schoolers to have a “feel” of their intended career choice before they take the plunge. Their experience will also help them make wiser decisions.

Corporations so involved can look upon their engagement as a corporate social responsibility activity. The “internships” as carried out nowadays have “qualified” employees working for the corporations.

Pre-qualification “exposure’ internships are equally, if not more, important as they help to filter out potential misfits.

If pre-qualification “exposure” internships become the norm, then projecting forward, it is not difficult to see that it is a win-win proposal. Both potential employers and employees stand to gain in the long run.

Post-schoolers are our nation’s valuable assets. All avenues must be explored to help them make that all important decision on their next course of action after school.

Their energy and time must be put to optimum use.

Liong Kam Chong, Seremban, Negri Sembilan

Read more: EDUCATION: Choices for school leavers – Letters to the Editor – New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/education-choices-for-school-leavers-1.95939#ixzz1yCOxFdfE