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Malaysian PM announces steps to transform TVET in preparation for Industry 4.0 and digital economy

Malaysian PM announces steps to transform TVET in preparation for Industry 4.0 and digital economy

Above photo: Prime Minister of Malaysia Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak (Credit: Firdaus Latif/ CC BY-SA 2.0)

The Malaysian Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced that the government is planning to develop a comprehensive Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Masterplan that will be coordinated by the Ministry of Human Resources with the assistance of all other Ministries related to TVET.

TVET will be transformed to prepare a highly skilled workforce ready to face the new challenges posed by the advent of 'The Fourth Industrial Revolution' or Industry 4.0 and the emergence of Digital Economy.

For this purpose, the Government has established a Human Capital Committee for Industry 4.0, chaired by the Ministry of Human Resources and Ministry of Higher Education.

The government is also allocating RM50 million from 30 percent of the PSMB's (Pembangunan Sumber Manusia Berhad or the Human Resources Development Fund) accumulated funds collected for TVET purposes. This will be directed towards the implementation of strategic programmes to support the achievement of national goals in improving the percentage of skilled workers in Malaysia. Going forward, the government intends to increase the percentage of skilled workers to a level comparable to that of developed countries, setting a target of 45 per cent by 2030.

At the same time, from now until 2025, the government is working to train and increase the number of trained teachers in TVET, targeting 20,000 more vocational trainers or Vocational Training Officers.

There will also be a focus on providing skills training to the people from bottom 40% income households or B40. The B40 includes rural residents, urban poor, indigenous people, school-aged students, including dropouts or single mothers and unemployed. Suitable training in accordance with their abilities and market requirements would help them get better jobs, or to start their own business in the city or in the countryside.

Through the education and training programs implemented at TVET Institutions, the government plans to train 300,000 Malaysians from the B40 Group by 2025.

Public-private partnerships to develop a skilled workforce will be strengthened through strategic collaborations. For instance, the industry could contribute expertise or machinery and equipment, for the training of skilled manpower in areas that are important from an industry and market perspective.

Examples of such partnerships include a collaboration between PETRONAS and the Manpower Department’s (under the Ministry of Human Resources) Industrial Training Institute or ILP and Samsung Malaysia Electronics setting up Samsung Tech Academy at ILP to train skilled technicians.

To boost such collaborations, in Budget 2017, the government has allocated RM20 million (USD 4.7 million) for the purpose of making Matching Grants, where the government will contribute the equivalent value of contributions received from the industry for high impact TVET programs. These grants can be utilised in joint ventures between public agencies and private sector.

Another important aspect of developing and maintaining a skilled workforce is continuous training. Industries are being encouraged to use the training facilities and expertise available at TVET Institutions for further developing their employees’ skills and competencies.

PM Najib Razak said that for TVET graduates, career opportunities are not limited to working in the industry, but that they can also venture into business, becoming technopreneurs.

Through their business, they can create job opportunities, and help create a positive chain reaction effect by mentoring other TVET graduates.

The government will also review the rates and charges related to the filing of intellectual property and provide suitable incentives to encourage more innovations to be produced through the TVET Institutions.

Seven ministries are involved in the technical and vocational education and training in the, offering a variety of programs. To unify them under one brand, the PM has launched “TVET Malaysia”, so that all TVET institutions under various Ministries can join forces under a common umbrella. 

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