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The Education Ministry continues to elevate TVET to make it be on a par with other educational pathways. NSTP/SAIRIEN NAFIS

THE Ministry of Education was the first ministry to present its report card for 2019, closing the year with five major changes focusing on its 53 reform initiatives in the national education system.

“The year 2019 is the beginning of all the changes and we have targeted 2019 to be a strong foundation year to ensure that the country can move towards an inclusive and high-quality education system,” said Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik.

The five focus areas are: Restoring Love and Care Into Education; Quality Teaching and Learning; Autonomy and Accountability; Malaysia Reads; and Manifesto Fulfillment.

At tertiary level, RM68.1 million worth of scholarships were given to 31,614 students under the first focus area.

Some 51,191 students from B40 group benefited from the special routes to public universities and special training institutes. Meanwhile, 62.06 per cent of matriculation enrolment comprised B40 students.

Under Quality Teaching and Learning, the ministry achieved five targets, namely, system reformation, digital reformation, increase in achievement, dilapidated schools repair and TVET.

As a means of system reform, a White Paper to strengthen the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) system was drafted.

For TVET, 547 courses were recognised by MQA and the Engineering Technology Accreditation Council.

A total of 16,625 industry collaborations were formed to ensure job opportunities and 2,396 TVET students were involved in dual programmes.

More importantly, the marketability level of TVET graduates grew to 96.5 per cent, with 54,789 graduates securing employment.

Under the third focus, a policy review committee was set up to propose improvements in the education system and produce a report on the Higher Education Act.

Some RM455 million in research grants were given to universities to address society’s problems.

To strengthen students’ activism, campus elections held at all public universities were independently run by students.

This year also saw 43 university students appointed as senate members at 20 public universities and the establishment of Student Unions beginning with International Islamic University Malaysia.

Meanwhile, 237 intellectual programmes involving the government and the opposition were organised at 17 public universities.

To promote a reading culture, the Laureate at the Faculty programme was established to introduce the National Laureates to the youth.

Under Focus Five, the PTPTN loan blacklist was abolished and borrowers earning less than RM2,000 were released in line with the government’s manifesto.

Discount or exemptions were given out to excellent students and students from the B40 group.

Tax incentives were also introduced to employers who pay off their employees’ PTPTN loans without salary deduction.

To date, the Unified Examination Certificate Task Force has held 48 engagement sessions with different stakeholders.

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