Sunday September 30, 2012
THE country’s three premier polytechnics will begin offering degree courses from the end of this year. This is because many of its students who have graduated with diplomas are unable to secure places in public universities.
Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin said that all 30 polytechnics will be required to have the same examination and coursework format to ensure there was a level playing field for those applying to further their studies at the varsities.
There are currently some 94,000 students pursuing special certificate, diploma and advanced diploma courses at the polytechnics, he said.
The minister added that there was a need for more skilled technical workers.
Going green: Mohamed Khaled Nordin looking at greens grown through the hydroponic nutrient film technique. Looking on is Mejar Md Nor Yusof (right).
He said based on the targets and initiatives spelt out in the National Key Economic Area, 3.3 million new job opportunities would be created by 2020 of which 61% were allocated for skilled workers while another 20% were for semi-skilled workers.
“With only 3,000 polytechnic students of the 12,000 being able to secure places in public universities every year, we feel the time has come to empower polytechnics to offer degree programmes.
“For a start, the programmes offered will be in the fields of engineering, commerce and services,” he said, adding that the three premier polytechnics were Ungku Omar Polytechnic in Ipoh, Perak, Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah Polytechnic in Shah Alam, Selangor, and Polytechnic Ibrahim Sultan in Johor.
He said it was also timely that polytechnics were allowed to offer degree programmes as the number of SPM leavers who applied for places each year at these institutions had also increased.
There were 253,012 SPM school-leavers who applied to polytechnics this year but only 15,850 were offered seats.
“Instead of moving on to Form Six or seeking entrance into matriculation or diploma programmes at public universities, more students are applying for courses in polytechnics,” he said.
Mohamed Khaled said the three premier polytechnics may also be given university college or university status once they had the required number of degree programmes.
“The three polytechnics were selected after stringent assessment.
“The three institutions also have strict entry requirements and accept only those with good SPM results,” he said after opening the Nilai Polytechnic in Negri Sembilan. Also present was Department of Polytechnic Education Mejar Md Nor Yusof.
The RM249mil Nilai Polytechnic which is able to accommodate 2,400 students is located on a 40ha area here.
Mohamed Khaled expressed hope that more students will enrol for the Biotechnology programme at the institution which was the only polytechnic that offered the course.
“Biotechnology is one of the fields that is experiencing rapid expansion.
“In the next eight years, some 160,000 jobs are expected to be created in the sector alone,” he said, adding that Nilai Polytechnic should also collaborate with other reputable institutions.
On a separate matter, Mohamed Khaled said the 7,000 graduates from teacher education institutes together with another 3,000 education graduates from public universities who had been unable to secure jobs, will know their fate when Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak tables the budget on Sept 28. — By SARBAN SINGH