Beatrice Nita Jay
KUALA LUMPUR: Students’ reluctance to choose technical and vocational education and training (TVET) courses boils down to the perception that they are only for the academically unsuccessful.
Academician Dr Cheong Kee Cheok said this perception was due to the fact that students did not have confidence in TVET offerings.
“The Education Ministry must work to change that perception, which is caused by many deficiencies in the sector, like multiple course providers.
“People were also not given adequate information with an input- rather than output-driven focus by the (Education) ministry,” Cheong told the New Straits Times.
He said TVET was also not given visible recognition by the Education Ministry and other ministries.
For TVET to gain traction, its courses needed to be designed as a separate education tract, similar to those in Singapore, Germany and South Korea.
Universiti Malaysia Sabah Faculty of Psychology and Education lecturer Professor Dr Vincent Pang, on the other hand, said TVET courses were on their way towards professional recognition with the establishment of the Malaysia Board of Technologies (MBOT).
“Popular courses like medicine, engineering, law and accounting are professional programmes and their curricula are regulated by professional boards or bodies.
“This gives stakeholders confidence in terms of programme quality assurance. Many TVET programmes, however, are not regulated.
“However, this will be a thing of the past as the Malaysia Board of Technologies has been set up in the last one to two years. MBOT, in turn, has set up the Technical and Technology Council to oversee TVET programmes that come with academic qualifications.”
Universities, he said, also need to conduct roadshows at schools to promote TVET programmes. This, in turn, would catch the attention of potential students.
Besides this, MBOT should cooperate with the media to promote TVET programmes.
“The Education Ministry can work with MBOT and the media to raise awareness of TVET programmes and to publicise their potential recognition.
“This will improve public perception of the academic programmes.”