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Malaysians must revise view on vocational training

The Sun Daily, Kuala Lumpur, 3 December 2014 - Malaysian society must revise its mindset on vocational training as industry needs more skilled labour rather than academic qualifications, Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said today.

Khairy said that out of 3.3 million jobs created by 2020, 46% will require vocational training while only 22% require a degree qualification.

"We have under-invested in vocational education in the past 20-30 years; there is a perception where if children go for vocational education instead of going to a university, they are failures."

"But let me tell you that the employability rate for graduates from public universities is 75% on average; National Institute of Skills Training for Youth (IKBN) boasts an 83% employability rate," Khairy said during his speech on Malaysia's Human Capital Towards a High Income Economy.

The talk was organised by Harvard School of Business Alumni of Malaysia at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur.

He said this is due to IKBN producing the skilled labour that is ready to join the workforce upon graduation and does not need additional training as they are equipped with both technical and soft skills.

Khairy said skilled labour will be the driving force of the economy and this is apparent in Germany, one of most developed and advanced economies in the world, where 60% of high school graduates enter vocational schools.

He said skilled labour in Germany may even get paid more than doctors, contrary to Malaysian perceptions, as the country values their skill sets.

"Too many parents view human potential from a limited perspective and push their children to obtain university qualifications. What they need to realize is no one pathway can cater to every child.

"Just because a child is not skilled in academia does not mean he does not possess any skills. He may actually have potential in other fields," he said.

He said this why the government is allocating more funds for vocational institutes in an attempt to create more skilled labour in the market.


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