By Peter Sibon
SIBU, March 15: Grit, self-determination and hard work have made University College of Technology Sarawak (UCTS) Assoc Prof Dr Ramli Rashidi, the first Sarawakian to have a double PhD in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET).
He got them from the University of Bremen (UniBremen), Germany, and Universiti Tun Hussein Onn, Malaysia (UTHM) in 2012.
Sharing his passion and love for life-long learning in TVET with DayakDaily recently, this special 64-year-old Malay from Kampung No 2 or Kampung Bandarshah, Kuching, is ever willing to share and motivate others to succeed in life, especially through TVET.
“God Almighty has really blessed me. I started very slow as I have to sit for my Form Four and Form Five twice as I have to switch from Arts stream to Vocational school way back in 1974-75. From SMK Deshon, Kuching, to SMV Kuantan, Pahang, from 1973-1974,” he recalled.
After two years of vocational school, he pursued his studies with Industrial Training Institute (ITI), now called Institut Latihan Perindustrian (ILP), Kuala Lumpur, and became qualified as a teacher and technician in electrical and electronics.
“When I first started work at ITI in 1987, I was only paid RM465 per month. At that time, I already had two children. So, to earn extra income, I would repair television sets for neighbours through contact with a shopkeeper near my rented house.
“The extra money that I made supplemented my income, and we have quite a good life living in the capital city,” he recounted.
Two years later, at the age of 37, he obtained his electronics and electrical engineering degree with honours from Brighton Polytechnic, UK, and that achievement earned him a Chevening Award (formerly known as the British High Commissioner Award) for Best Student.
After he came back, he returned to ITI (ILP). For five years, he was also made the assistant director of planning and research at the National Vocational Training Council, KL.
He was then offered a director’s post at ILP Labuan for five years, where he transformed the ailing and dilapidated school to a thriving one when he left. During the same period, he managed to complete his Master in Human Resource from UPM in 2005.
To complete his dream of being the first Sarawakian PhD holders in TVET, he enrolled himself at UniBremens and UTHM simultaneously and graduated with a double PhD in 2012.
“I have to take the course both here and in Germany as Germany is one of the most advanced countries in TVET. So, to get international recognition, I have to complete a four-year study with two sets of supervisors in these two universities,” he narrated.
After he obtained his PhDs, he was appointed director of Advance Technology Training Centre (ADTEC) Bintulu until his retirement in 2015.
“I started out with a clerk’s salary, and I managed to retire with a Jusa C,” he smiled with a grim.
When asked why he never stopped learning, he replied, “I’m very passionate about learning new skills, and I love reading too”.
Currently, he is director of the Centre for Continuing Education and Professional Development and also Associate Professor for the School of Engineering and Technology at UCTS.
Meanwhile, Ramli said Sarawak must focus on training its human resource and is optimistic that it would be able to achieve the target of having 35 per cent of its workforce to be technically skilled by 2025.
“All stakeholders, namely the industry, the government and the workers must work hand-in-hand in order to achieve that target,” he said. — DayakDaily