Robotics could be technical school subject

Thursday July 12, 2012

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2012/7/12/sarawak/11644470&sec=sarawak

By VANES DEVINDRAN
vanes@thestar.com.my

KUCHING: The Education Ministry has set up a task force to study the possibility of introducing robotics as a niche programme for technical schools in the country.

Education Ministry technical and vocational education division director Ahmad Tajudin Jab said: “We want these technical schools to have a niche focus on robotics which is more high tech and involves heavy programming.”

“Students entering this field need to be good in maths and programming,” he told a press conference here after giving out awards for excellent service to 130 principals and teachers of technical and vocational secondary schools in Sarawak, Sabah and Labuan here yesterday.

He said the matter was still under discussion, adding that it would entail offering extra subjects in technical schools.

Currently, technical schools in the country focus on five fields, namely civil engineering, electrical and electronic, mechanical science, accountancy and business and agriculture.

Ahmad hinted that robotics would be introduced as another pilot project for technical schools should the study go well.

According to him, the ministry is currently implementing a pilot programme, which would see 15 vocational schools nationwide having its status upgraded to a college.

He said the ministry hoped to upgrade all vocational schools in the country to colleges in stages by 2015, adding that the pilot programme started last year where the first batch students would graduate after four years.

Ahmad said the upgrading of vocational schools to colleges was to promote skills studies as the education of choice in the country.

There are a total of 88 technical, vocational schools and colleges nationwide out of which six of the vocational schools and one technical school are located in Sarawak.

Ahmad said the Education Ministry had received a request for the proposed set up of another vocational school in Sarawak in line with the development of the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) which would require skilled manpower.

He acknowledged the importance of the school to help meet the manpower requirement of SCORE.

He, however, said the ministry was still mulling over the proposal due to the high cost involved in setting up a vocational school.

To help meet SCORE’s immediate needs, Ahmad said the ministry might engage the help of private institutions to offer some of the relevant high-tech programmes.

“The private institutions normally also focus on high-tech studies like bio-tech, oil and gas and renewable energy, so we can get them to offer these subjects,” he added.

In addition, the ministry would tie up with other ministries like the Human Resource, Rural and Regional Development, Youth and Sports and Agriculture, he said.

These ministries had their own learning institutions where they could also offer vocational courses, he added.