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Malaysia consists of thirteen states and three federal territories in Southeast Asia. The population stands at over 27 million. The country is located near the equator and experiences a tropical climate. The government is closely modeled after the Westminster parliamentary system.
Malaysia as a unified state did not exist until 1963. Previously, a set of colonies were established by the United Kingdom. Singapore, Sarawak, British North Borneo and the Federation of Malaya joined to form Malaysia on 16 September 1963. The Southeast Asian nation experienced an economic boom and underwent rapid development during the late-20th century. Rapid growth during the 1980s and 1990s, averaging 8% from 1991 to 1997, has transformed Malaysia into a newly industrialised country. Because Malaysia is one of three countries that control the Strait of Malacca, international trade plays a large role in its economy. At one time, it was the largest producer of tin, rubber and palm oil in the world. Manufacturing has a large influence in the country's economy. Malaysia has a biodiverse range of flora and fauna, and is also considered one of the 18 megadiverse countries.
Malaysia is a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multilingual society. The population is roughly 27 million. Malaysians of multiple ethnics, faiths and religions are proud of One-Malaysia spirit and strive together to meet daily challenges in order to live harmoniously side by side as well as to be able to appreciate and understand Malaysia’s international role.
The Malays, who form the largest community, are defined as Muslims in the Constitution of Malaysia. The Malays play a dominant role politically and are included in a grouping identified as bumiputra. Their native language is Malay (Bahasa Melayu). Malay is the national language of the country, but English is widely spoken in major towns and cities across the country.
2 TVET System [Edit]
In the formal education sector, the Ministry of Education (MOE) is the agency responsible for establishing and setting in place a comprehensive schooling system from pre-school to secondary education. The Education Act 1996 is the education legislation that provides for pre-school education, primary school education, secondary school education, post-secondary education, teacher education, special education, religious teaching, private education, and technical education.
TVET programmess at the secondary school level have taken a broad-based and non-terminal approach. The delivery system allows the opportunity for students to progress to tertiary education level and acquire a Certificate, Diploma or a Bachelor’s degree qualification.
At present, the ministry is strengthening the TVET within the schooling system by introducing TVET skills stream at all national secondary schools under the 10th Malaysia Plan (10MP). The purpose is to equip the students with the Sijil Kemahiran Malaysia (SKM)-level skills to make it easy for them to obtain employment even if they do not do well in the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examination. In other words when the students leave schools, they will not only have SPM, but SKM as well. At the same time, the ministry was also in the process of restructuring technical secondary schools to turn them into vocational secondary schools which would focus on the vocational and skills stream by the year 2011. It is expected the number of Form Four sudents undergoing the skills training programme at technical secondary schools nationwide will rise dramatically. Earlier, the ministry has introduced 22 vocational subjects to national secondary schools to allow the students to obtain SKM. Other strategies include boosting enrolment in the vocational and skills stream at technical secondary schools, strengthening the technical and vocational education curriculum and enhancing ties with the industry, professional bodies and higher education institutes both local and overseas. The government is also currently reviewing the curriculum to introduce vocational subjects that can be studied as early as the upper-primary and lower secondary levels.
In the National Education Blueprint, cluster schools are given greater autonomy in five key areas of human resources, school funds, student intake, teaching and learning, and examinations and evaluations. This was introduced to improve curriculum, assessment, and a seamless articulation between grades.
3 Recent developmentments in the Skill Training sector [Edit]
Outside the formal sector, the Ministry of Human Resources is spearheading the training sector with fourteen industrial training institutes (ITIs). It has been the target of the ministry to have a pool of knowledge workers, building to 31,500 by 2010 (Pang, 2007). Knowledge workers (or K-workers) are expected to have three key sets of competence – technical, social and learning. The ministry believes that one of the best ways of workers and potential workers obtaining these competencies is through apprenticeships which, by definition, should combine all three skill sets.
These ITIs offer industrial skills training programmes at basic, intermediate and advanced levels for pre-employment or job entry level. These include apprenticeship programmes in the mechanical, electrical, building and printing trades as well as programmes to upgrade skills and train instructors. The Ministry also operates the Centre for Instructors and Advanced Skills Training (CIAST), the Japan-Malaysia Technical Institute (JMTI) and four Advanced Technology Centres (ADTECs).
The Ministry of Higher Education, which was established in March 2004, supervises polytechnics and community colleges to prepare skilled manpower for industries. At the post-secondary level, the formal training conducted in polytechnics and community colleges aims to produce trained manpower at the semi-professional level in engineering, commerce and services sectors. More polytechnics and community colleges are being planned for establishment under the Ninth Malaysian Plan (2006 - 2010).
Ministry of Education, which runs 90 technical schools offering technical and vocational courses. School leavers from the technical schools can either seek employment at entry level or pursue their post-secondary education at certificate or diploma level in Polytechnics or Community Colleges which are now under the purview of Ministry of Higher Education or other training institutions under the supervision of other ministries. Ministry of Youth and Sports, which provides basic, intermediate and advanced levels of industrial skills training through its seven youth skills training centres and the Youth Advanced Skills Training Centre. Short-term courses and skills upgrading programmes are also being conducted.
Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA), or the Council of Trust for the Indigenous People under the purview of the Ministry of Entrepreneur and Cooperative Development. MARA operates twelve skills training institutes in different parts of the country which offer programmes at basic, intermediate and advanced levels. MARA also coordinates the operations of three advanced skills training institutions, i.e. the German-Malaysian Institute (GMI), British Malaysian Institute (BMI) and Malaysia France Institute (MFI). Since the year 2004, two reforms to the training sector has been introduced, namely, 1) a new curricula that will integrate academic studies and vocational training, and 2) directly involving industry or the private sector in the development and implementation of the new national currciula for the training sector.
4 The SKM Qualification Framework [Edit]
The 1991 Cabinet report on training has resulted in the introduction of SKM qualification which is based on the National Occupational Skills Standards (NOSS). Each candidate for the certification is assessed to determine the fulfillment of the needs as specified by NOSS. With the implementation of SKM, new opportunities are opened for school leavers to be gainfully employed. The SKM also give opportunities for workers who prior to this do not have qualification to show despite having years of experience. This is made possible because one of the routes to obtain SKM is the accreditation of prior achievement. Through this route candidates’ experiences are assessed and verified and they can be awarded SKM if they meet the requirements stipulated. It is the hope of the Government that by having SKM, a large fraction of school leavers will be productive and motivated workers who will contribute to the national development. Based on the proposed educational pathways by MQF, graduates with Malaysian Skill Certificate will be able to pursue their studies at any higher education institution and obtained the Bachelor degrees. Thus, no limit has been set for graduates with skill certificates. Therefore, SKM Qualification Framework:
5 National Dual Training System (NDTS) [Edit]
The National Vocational Training Council (MVLK) was established by the Ministry of Human Resources (1989) to promote and coordinate skills training strategies in line with Malaysia's technological and economic development needs. As part of the National Skills Development Act (2006), the body was relaunched as the Department of Skills Development. The department was given the task to establish a coordinated skills training system attuned to Malaysia's development goals and needs, promote the development of skills training and to certify skills competence. These objectives are achieved through the National Occupational Skills Standards (NOSS) which was launched in 1992 as a means of the country’s training and accreditation system.
The National Dual Training System (NDTS) was introduced in 2005 with an initial batch of 500 trainees, in response to recommendations made by German consultants in a 1999. The NDTS is based on the German method of training in both training institutions and the workplace. The system stresses the combination and interrelation of hands-on training at the industry workplace with classroom training in specialised training institutions established by the Government.Training is two years in duration, with trainees spending 70-80% of their time in workplaces and the remaining 20-30% in selected training institutions. The strength of the ‘Dual System’ is that it has been designed to tap the best training potential of both domains. A very important aspect is the need for close cooperation between the Government and private industry in which the latter must be encouraged and convinced about the importance of investing in training of the young to ensure continued industrial development of the country.
Prerequisite for a successful NDTS are that the training institutions have appropriate facilities, state-of-the-art curricula, and – very importantly – competent instructors and teachers (‘train the trainer’). On the other hand, the companies must ensure they provide adequate facilities and equipment, sufficiently wide-ranging operations and, also here, qualified trainers. Whilst in Germany dual system training takes 3 to 3.1/2 years, in Malaysia this has been structured to cover 4 semesters of 6 months each, with a practice / theory ratio of 4 : 1. The purpose and objectives of NDTS are the training of K-workers and the target groups will be school leavers and existing workers.
Besides the dual training scheme, training institutions are encouraged to collaborate with industries to enhance the effectiveness of their training programs. This approach is a combination of work-based training and attendance of part-time vocational training. For this purpose many vocational and technical training institutes are offering part-time programs for technical employees with relevant working experiences. The focus of this system is hands-on training at the workplace whereas the training institution provides the theoretical foundations. By acquiring work-related experiences, a school leaver with Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia can be trained to be a certified skilled worker to meet the needs of industries.
6 NOSS and NOCC [Edit]
National Occupational Skills Standards (NOSS)’ was first introduced in 1992 as the basis for the accreditation standard of the national skills certification system in Malaysia. Later, NOSS became the legislattive framework of the vocational training system in the country with the enactment of the National Skills Development Act in 2006. The act contains special provision for the establishment of NOSS, its review and variation as well as the use of NOSS for curriculum development, assessment and certification. Today, all skills training curricula is based on NOSS and is offered by a wide variety of public and private training institutions. As at May 2007, a total of 1,151 different training institutions have been accredited to offer 6,575 training programmes based on NOSS, of which 363 centres are administered by public agencies and authorities, whilst the remaining 788 are privately run (Thomas,2007).
A holistic TVET programme to produce k-worker should encompass not only technical competences but also human and social competences as well as learning and methodology competences. The humanistic ability of the workforce to work as a team, to undertake self-monitoring and to shoulder common responsibilities are becoming more and more important. In other words, the workers have to become “K-workers”, rather than just skilled workers. To fulfill this quality, an improved version of the curriculum that is based on specific training occupation is being introduced as the foundation for NDTS programmes in both industries as well as institutions.
This foundation is called the National Occupational Core Curriculum (NOCC) and is defined “as the documented training structure to be carried out by the industry and the training comprising of the practical and theory of the changing technologies, to produce k-workers. The NOCC is a new form of training documentation and it differs from training resources used in the existing NOSS based training because its development has been premised on the work process orientation. The scope of the NOCC encompass the teaching and coaching processes, as the basis to prepare teaching materials and other needs; as a standard for achievement and skills quality of the apprentices under NDTS; and as reference for the preparation of learning and work assignments (LWA). It has been touted as a new national training initiative which has an ‘extra edge’ over the existing NOSS-based training system in Malaysia by virtue of its focus on the development of k-workers, its application of new delivery and methodological approaches such as the NOCC and LWA, as well as its adoption of work process orientation for training and assessment. Hence, marked another important milestone in the development of NDTS skills training in Malaysia.
7 Malaysia Qualification Framework (MQF) [Edit]
The Malaysia Qualification Framework refers to the policy framework that satisfies both the national and international recognised qualifications. It comprises of titles and guidelines, together with principles and protocols covering articulation and issuance of qualifications and statements of attainment. Elements of qualification framework indicate the achievement for each qualification titles. It will also provide progression routes for all the graduates in the respective occupational fields. In addition the framework sets the benchmark for all occupational programmes. It enables international recognition and student/graduate mobility especially with the advent of the Washington, Dublin and Sydney Accords.
In Malaysia, a unified system of qualifications was designed and offered on a national basis by all educational and training institutions which include colleges, universities, vocational institutions, professional organizations and other higher educational institutions in both the public and private sector as well as workplace training and life long learning experiences. This unified system qualifications was known as Malaysia Qualification Framework (MQF). It was presented to the National Higher Education Council (MPTN) by the Quality Assurance Division in November 2002 and been approved by November 2003.
The MQF secures the standards of qualifications and reinforce policies on quality assurance; which ensures accuracy and consistency of nomenclature of qualifications; supports flexible education by providing typical learning pathways and recognizing prior learning (RPL); encourages partnerships between public and private sector, links non degree with undergraduate and postgraduate levels; encourages parity of esteem among academic, professional and vocational qualifications; establishes a common currency for credit accumulation and transfer; provides clear and accessible public information; facilitates, where applicable, the presentation of the intended outcomes of qualifications in forms that enable professional bodies to gauge their contribution to professional formation and articulates links with qualifications from other countries.
Public confidence in academic standards and recognition of qualifications require public understanding of the achievements represented by all qualifications in education and training and the consistent use of the qualification titles. Parents, prospective students, employers, schools and educational institutions, the government and others want to be assured that qualifications bearing similar titles represent similar levels of achievement and that there is international comparability of standards to facilitate student and graduate mobility.
In developing the single interconnected structure, nationally endorsed criteria for naming, positioning and linking all qualifications are necessary. The “architecture” of the MQF requires understanding of its foundation, principally expressed as competency standards or learning outcomes, the volume of academic load expressed as credits in terms of total student effort to achieve the learning outcomes, the purpose and character of the qualification and consistency of nomenclature. Based on these criteria the MQF is composed of the Certificate (vocational and higher education), Diploma and Advanced Diploma, Bachelor (Hons), Masters, PhD and earned higher doctorates and “conversion” awards named Graduate Certificate and Diploma and Postgraduate Certificate and Diploma.
The MQF will help make clear the range of qualifications offered in Malaysia, how these relate to each other, and what they offer for learners and employers. It will show the range of entry and exit points and the opportunities for progression and the transfer of credit from a range of learning; it will facilitate the development of flexible and innovative programmes of learning to meet a range of requirements and is sufficiently flexible to accommodate new kinds of qualification that may arise from time to time.
The MQF also provides transparent criteria and standards of all qualifications to ensure accuracy and consistency of nomenclature, reinforce policies on quality assurance, recognize lifelong learning efforts, continuing professional development and workplace training, unify qualifications awarded by providers operating under different Acts or mechanisms within or outside the formal education system, including e-learning, encourage partnerships between public and private sectors, link non degree with undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications, provide typical learning pathways in support of flexible education, encourage parity of academic, professional and vocational qualifications and facilitate the articulation of equivalency of qualifications from other countries.
8 Major TVET Projects [Edit]
9 Further Information [Edit]
10 TVET Institutions [Edit]
11 UNEVOC Centres in Malaysia [Edit]
see UNEVOC Directory Malaysia (http://www.unevoc.unesco.org/go.php?q=UNEVOC+Network+-+Search&country=MYS)
12 Journal of Technical Education and Training [Edit]
13 Related Websites [Edit]
14 Related Articles on Recent TVET Development [Edit]