TVET still seen as unpopular alternative for many school leavers

Manyin (fourth left) flanked by Abang Johari (to his left) presenting prizes and certificate to the winner of Software Solution for Business category at the Worldskills Malaysia Sarawak 2019.

By Karen Bong

KUCHING, Sept 12: Many school leavers do not place much value on Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), as most skill courses offered in institutions are either under enrolled or have no takers.

Education, Science and Technological Research Minister Datuk Seri Michael Manyin Jawong expressed dismay that TVET qualifications are still looked down by the majority society, especially parents, as being inferior to academic qualifications.

“Sarawak in general, seems to not have high regards for TVET careers and consider TVET as a pathway for those that are less academically inclined,” he said at the closing ceremony of Worldskills Malaysia Sarawak 2019.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg officiated at the event held at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) today.

He revealed that out of the 35,000 to 38,000 SPM graduates in Sarawak every year, about 20,000 to 25,000 would further their tertiary studies or take up skills training.

“Between 10,000 and 15,000 of these SPM school leavers do not undertake any further studies or training and entered directly into the job market, often doing jobs that pays low and have little prospect for advancement.

“This is a huge waste to the individuals, as well as to the state, as there is a lot of opportunities to undertake skills training in various trades and yet, the uptake is low,” he said.

As such, Manyin revealed that one of his ministry’s main agenda was to position TVET as an attractive and desirable career development pathway.

He added that various programmes have been organised towards promoting TVET, notably the annual Sarawak Career and Training Fair (SCatFair), apart from TVET Symposium 2019, TVET Camps and the Worldskills Malaysia Sarawak Competition.

He said that Worldskills competitions were regarded as the “Olympics of Skills” and organised under the auspices of Worldskills International, a global organisation of 76 nations that is dedicated to raise the profile and recognition of skilled people, as well as highlighting the significance of skills in achieving economic growth and personal success.

“Worldskills Malaysia at Sarawak level was held to recognise and acknowledge the skills and competencies of local youths and to raise awareness on the value of vocational educational and training and skills career,” he said.

“It is a platform to bring forward, the talents of Sarawak youths and instil a desire in them to excel in their chosen skill,” he added.

This year’s competition attracted 250 participants competing in 15 categories.

In line with the state’s focus on developing digital economy, four new skill categories from the field of Information and Communication Technology has been included in this year’s competition.

Manyin hopes the society, especially parents, will change their mindset and perception of TVET and encourage children to obtain skills qualification.

Assistant Minister of Science and Technological Research Dr Annuar Rapaee, Assistant Minister of Community Well Being Datuk Francis Harden Hollis and Assistant Minister of Transport Datuk Dr Jerip Susil were present. — DayakDaily