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Lucubrate Magazine, February 23rd, 2023
Over the past six decades, Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) has significantly contributed to Malaysia’s economic growth. Through the TVET system, thousands of Malaysians have developed essential skills, leading to careers in both the public and private sectors.
A study commissioned by The Asia Foundation is part of a broader initiative to support the development of Malaysia’s TVET ecosystem. The report is from 2022. This article focuses on some main findings of the study. 
Current Situation for TVET in Malaysia
The report summarises the Current Situation for TVET in Malaysia:
- The TVET system is open to collaboration with all stakeholders.
- To increase collaboration with industry and provide work-ready TVET graduates, Malaysia established National Dual Training System, SLDN (The Sistem Latihan Dual Nasional)
- Individual TVET institutes have engagement with industry, but at differing levels for each institution and programme.
- Several small private niche TVET institutes, often with parent or partner organisations in the industry, do well in providing skilled workers who meet industry needs, thus ensuring their students’ employability.
- Close ties between institutes and industry enable the TVET institutes to secure machinery well-aligned with current industry usage, sometimes donated by industry partners, further strengthening their trainees’ competency.
- TVET providers that meet the industry’s expectations attribute their success to high mutual accountability, where the industry is the primary driver of curriculum design and delivery.
- Large-scale collaborations with the industry have shown success in the past.
- Based on the Auditor General’s Report, current employer satisfaction with TVET graduates’ outcomes is 88.5%.
Governments in both developed and developing countries look at Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) as a driving force for national socioeconomic development. Over the past six decades, TVET has been a significant factor contributing to Malaysia’s economic growth. Through the TVET system, thousands of Malaysians have developed essential skills, leading to careers in both the public and private sectors.
The report points out that in recent years, institutional, legal and regulatory reforms and substantial public investments have been made to help upgrade the country’s TVET ecosystem. Yet, despite these improvements, significant weaknesses remain. Malaysia needs to move quickly to boost its TVET capacity, increasing the numbers and quality of TVET graduates to stay competitive in a rapidly evolving global economy increasingly shaped by advancing technology.
The report is listing up the research findings. From those findings, the report gives some recommendations. These findings may create a picture of challenges in Malaysian TVET. In this article, we will only highlight the results.
Malaysia’s TVET ecosystem enjoys sustained support and commitment from the national government. However, the system is constrained by the multiple, sometimes overlapping, mandates and jurisdictions of the many ministries involved in the governance of TVET. This reduces the smooth functioning of the ecosystem.
Weaknesses in Quality Assurance Frameworks
Another critical challenge involves inefficiencies in the quality assurance framework with accreditation of programmes falling under two separate entities and articulation pathways only up to the undergraduate (bachelor’s) degree level.
Minimal Linkages with Industry
Close cooperation between TVET providers and the industry is critical for a well-functioning TVET system. The industry needs to be more actively and robustly engaged in helping to shape curriculum and course delivery and monitoring and evaluation. However, while Malaysia has a consensus that TVET needs to be demand-driven, industry participation varies widely across geographical areas and among different TVET providers.
Absence of Performance-based Funding
Government funding not directly tied to performance dampens efforts for continuous improvement in the TVET landscape. Given the current funding mechanism, there is no impetus for public TVET institutions to innovate, either through improving their industry engagement or by updating their teaching practices.
Poor Public Perception
Finally, as in many Asian countries, TVET has traditionally been viewed negatively by Malaysian youth and parents compared to a university degree. Although there is a trend of increasing value placed on TVET, there needs to be concerted efforts to improve TVET’s branding to boost the number and quality of TVET applicants.
Four Key Factors for the Success
Malaysia faces challenges in creating a robust, efficient TVET system. The report has identified four key factors for the success of TVET systems in general:
- Coordinated ecosystem
- Performance-based government funding and support
- Parity and mobility between general education and TVET
- Sustained industry support.
References Nadya Subramaniam & Robin Bush, Recommendations towards improving technical and vocational education and training in Malaysia, The Asia Foundation 2022
Lucubrate Magazine February 2023
The photo on the top of the article: Adobe Stock