Enrolment of technical students insufficient, says Len

Thursday June 28, 2012

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2012/6/28/sarawak/11562919&sec=sarawak

KUCHING: Skilled workers in the country, currently at 28%, are still too few to be able to help transform the country into a developed and high-income nation.

Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister’s Office (Promotion of Technical Education) Datuk Len Talif Salleh said the percentage was far too low compared to countries such as Taiwan (33%), South Korea (36%) and Singapore (49%).

“The Government is targeting to increase skilled workforce to 48% through our education system.

“Under the 10th Malaysia Plan, the Government has introduced various agendas to promote technical education so that our economy could be transformed,” he said at Giatmara southern region’s convocation here yesterday.

The enrolment of technical students at the upper secondary level, he said, must be increased from the current 5% to 20% by 2020.

“In Indonesia, the percentage is 53%, Thailand at 45% and South Korea and Singapore at 25% each. Our transformation in the technical field will start next year where 9,450 students from throughout the country will undergo basic vocational education beginning Form One. By 2015, this figure will increase to 42,000 and 79,000 by 2020,” he added.

After completing their Form Three, he said these students would be awarded with the Malaysian Skills Certificate 1 and 2.

Vocational colleges which offered technical education would also be established, he added.

“Technical education is very much needed so that we can create a competitive skilled workforce with English language competency to suit the needs of the industries,” Len stressed.

Based on a research conducted by the Deloitte Consulting on March 3, 2010, 43,057 technical and vocational education and training (TVET) graduates did not meet the requirements set by industries.

Among the factors that led to this, according to the research, were incompetency of the English language at 55.8%, unsuitable attitude and discipline (37.4%), asking for high salary (33%), choosy about jobs (30%), no specific skills (27%), no problem solving skills (5.9%) and lack of skills (23.8%).

These, Len said, were among the issues that needed to be resolved by both public and private institutes, especially in the state.

On the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE), he said it had secured 17 projects with an investment of RM24.63bil which had created 14,471 jobs.

“By 2030, SCORE is targeting to attract an investment of RM334bil which will create 1.5 million jobs. The spinoff effect from SCORE development will also create business opportunities for local small and medium enterprises,” he said, adding that this development would help increase the state’s per capita income from RM55,920 to RM88,987 by 2020.

Towards this end, he added that the state government had set up Ta- bung Ekonomi Gagasan Anak Bumi- putra Sarawak (Tegas) to promote technical education in rural areas.

“With this effort, we hope the community could change its perception on technical education which has always been seen as the second choice for those who do not excel academically.”

He said Tegas hoped to promote technical education to 125,000 students from Form One to Form Six this year and the following year.

Later, Len presented scrolls to 190 students from 10 Giatmara centres in the southern region.