"We plan to run a comprehensive talent development prorgamme. Among the initiatives is recruiting teaching staff with industry experience — with a target of 50 per cent by 2020." -- MOHD ISMAIL ABD AZIZ, Polytechnic and Community College Education, director general
Politeknik Ungku Omar students at the Federation of International Robot-Soccer Association competition in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

THE Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) is stepping up its efforts in mainstreaming Technical and Vocational Education (TVET) in the country and improving its quality to make it a popular choice among students.

In his 2018 mandate, Polytechnic and Community College Education director general Professor Datuk Dr Mohd Ismail Abd Aziz said as one of the seven ministries providing programmes under the TVET Malaysia agenda, MOHE intends its polytechnics and community colleges to become leading TVET institutions in the country.

Under Budget 2018, polytechnics and community colleges receive RM1.7 billion which is 35 per cent of the overall allocation for the TVET Malaysia Agenda.

Under the agenda, the government aspires to raise the percentage of skilled workers in the country to 35 per cent in 2020 (compared to 28 per cent currently), the much needed workforce as the country strives to become a high-income nation.

Mohd Ismail said the department is developing the TVET 4.0 Framework to prepare for the challenges and opportunities arising from developments in digital technology that are affecting the job market, particularly the “high skills/high pay” segment.

In line with the fourth shift of the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2015-2025 (Higher Education), TVET 4.0 aims to produce techno-driven talent through new ways of teaching and learning, responsive and sustainable governance, and a new approach to applied research and innovation.

The joint management of 130 polytechnics and community colleges under the Polytechnic and Community College Strategic Plan 2018-2015 has an envisioned future where the combined institutions will serve as an Asean TVET force serving the needs of industries and communities.

This vision, Mohd Ismail said, will be achieved through access to quality and recognised TVET programmes, community empowerment through lifelong learning, the development of holistic graduates who are balanced and entreprenuerial, and smart collaborations with parties of interest.

“There are five strategic thrusts and 20 strategic objectives that will ensure determined key performance indicators will be achieved in two phases by 2025 through core values such as creativity, innovativeness, integrity, agility and professionalism on the part of the polytechnics and community college community,” he added.

Redesigning TVET is on the cards to make sure its graduates are industry work-ready by implementing the work-based learning approach and CEO@Faculty programmes, inviting visiting lecturers from the industry, strengthening entrepreneurial education and the implementation of iCGPA and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).

“The ministry is targeting 40 per cent of polytechnic students to use MOOCs via the 70 courses offered this year. I urge community colleges too to develop MOOCs .”

Polytechnics have also developed The TVET Generation homepage on the openlearning.com platform to introduce the TVET and the Industry module to Semester One students. Other modules will follow.

Other than that, the use of virtual technology has been applied in the “general inspection and maintenance of distribution substation” for the electrical engineering programme and the automative workshop service management course for engineering programmes at the Sultan Azlan Shah Polytechnic and fish identification for the Water Recreation Tourism Certificate programme at Semporna Community College.

The annual MOOCMASTER contest will continue to recognise teaching staff who excel in MOOC use in teaching and learning.

This year will see the execution of the Year of Industry@PolyCC programme where polytechnics, community colleges and the industry will embark on signature programmes such as the First Year Industry Experience (FYIe); Academia-Industry Centre; Professional Industry Certification; CEO@Faculty; work-based learning; and the Teaching Factory.

FYIe is an effort to expose industry skills to students from year one.

“This pioneer programme is in line with the blue-collar workforce talent development course for port management as proposed by Port of Tanjung Pelepas Sdn Bhd. I hope this programme can be expanded to other areas of study,” added Mohd Ismail.

Work-based learning involves three parties — student, institution and the industry — where teaching and learning is done in the industry environment. Currently seven bachelor’s programmes, five diploma courses and one executive diploma course use the work-based learning approach at polytechnics while all diploma programmes at community colleges subscribe to it. This approach will continue to be implemented in new programmes as per industry requirement.

Talent development is key to the Polytechnic and Community College Strategic Plan 2018-2015.

“We plan to run a comprehensive talent development programme. Among the initiatives is recruiting teaching staff with industry experience — with a target of 50 per cent by 2020.”

Currently there are 36 polytechnics and 94 community colleges. MOHE plans to build 19 more campuses comprising polytechnics, community colleges and training institutes this year. Lean management, a positive work culture and digitally connected campuses will be implemented.

Efforts too will be taken to gain international recognition.

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