Kuala Lumpur : The introduction of an apprenticeship programme for Form 4 and Form 5 vocational stream students at secondary schools was hoped to solve the industry’s dependence on foreign labor, in addition to reducing the number of dropouts at Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) level.
Academic experts contacted by Bernama today cited the positive move would give opportunity for students, who performed poorly in academic but have a lot of potential in technical and vocational skills, to become main contributors to the country’s efforts to drive growth in the future.
The Education and Human Capital Development Cluster, National Council of Professors (MPN) committee member Prof Datuk Dr Hassan Basri Awang Mat Dahan said the industrial training program could provide exposure on theoretical and practical learning simultaneously.
“This strategic effort would focus on students to gain knowledge on technical skills and at the same time acquired necessary academic qualification. I am sure the number of dropout students after SPM will be reduced. “They are our assets and through a good planning, the country will also be able to reduce our dependence on foreign labor in the future,” he said.
He was commenting on a report on the Education Ministry’s plan to introduce vocational apprenticeship programme at secondary schools for academically weak students.
Through the programme, students would undergo practical training in the industry for three days a week and the remaining two days will be back for normal learning at school. It would also provide an opportunity for students who failed to get a place at vocational colleges to sit for SPM and subsequently they would receive a Malaysian Skills Certificate (SKM) after the completion of Form 5.
Hassan who is also the Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM) deputy vice-chancellor (Student Affairs and Alumni) described the move as a proactive measure by the government to improve the country’s education system.
“Quality students will also be produced even though they were formerly underachievers academically. This strategy is called ‘job creator rather than job seeker’,” he said.
Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) former Vice-Chancellor Tan Sri Ibrahim Abu Shah said the programme should be implemented by the schools as soon as possible, to realize the government’s plan to strengthen the field of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET).
“The government wants to correct the negative perception that the so-called technical skills are just for those who are less successful academically. It is also capable of giving much higher income,” he said.
Ibrahim, who is also UMNO Youth Education Bureau chairman, said the programme would also help elevate the field of TVET to be given proper recognition. “I want to see students who are excellent in technical skills to stand side by side with students of academic excellence in the future. They will both spur the country to a more advanced stage,” he said.
Meanwhile, Yayasan Destini Anak Bangsa chairman Prof Tan Sri Ir Dr Sahol Hamid Abu Bakar said the TVET sector should be given priority because today’s younger generation are more inclined towards skills learning.
He said, the scope for jobs was vast in the technical and vocational fields, and more entrepreneurs of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) could be produced to boost the country’s economy.
“When there are proper channels, we can guide them and use their existing skills properly. We do not want them to be left behind and unemployed, let alone involved in crimes,” he said.
Note: News shared for public awareness with reference from the information provided at online news portals.