New challenges have begun to emerge, and old ones to remerge. With rapid transformation of societies in social, political, economic, technological, and education spheres, there has been a change in the perspectives on the need for and nature of technical education and vocational training (TEVT).
TEVT contribute to progress, both by reducing unemployment, through creating employment in the fields of pre-vocational specialisation and self-employment, and by creating higher tendency for labour force participation at the end of secondary schooling, improving productivity, and correspondingly resulting in higher graduate earnings.
TEVT can establish a closer relationship between school and work.
Organisations such as UNESCO and the World Bank have played a leading role in reviving and furthering the cause of vocational or diversified secondary education.
UNESCO adopted in 1974 an important detailed recommendation concerning technical and vocational education, and argued for provision of technical and vocational education as “an integral part of general education,” as “a means of preparing for an occupational field,” and as an instrument to reduce the mismatches between education and employment and between school and society at large.
The World Bank’s sector policy paper on education (World Bank, 1974) suggested increasing vocationalisation of the curricula of academic schools.
All countries in the Asian region have, however, not accorded equal degree of attention to TEVT. As a result, they are at various levels of development of vocational education.
As the Asian Development Bank (1991, pp. 53-55) categorised the several Asian countries, and described, Korea stands as “a leading example” of how governments can promote an extensive school-based TEVT; Singapore had developed a “comprehensive vocational training infrastructure,” forging strong linkages between education institutions and training agencies; Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Sri Lanka have “fairly developed” vocational and technical education systems – both in public and private schools; the agrarian economies of Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Myanmar have “patchy” systems of vocational and technical education; and India and China, the two big countries on the globe, suffer from “prejudice against manual work” and hence have “lopsided” education development structures including for TEVT.
Japan has the most developed and well-established infrastructure providing school based as well as enterprise based TEVT.
The Malaysian government is making an effort to make TEVT more appealing to students and employers. Malaysia government is taking steps to attract more bright students to pursue TEVT just like in developed countries.
TEVT has been associated with working class labourers or students who performed poorly academically for a long time in Malaysia, so lifting this stigma may prove to be a difficult task.
Attracting more students to pursue technical education or vocational training will benefit both current and future TEVT students.
Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said (May, 2011), the government would provide more opportunities for those who had undergone skills training to enhance their capabilities at par with first, Master’s or PhD degree qualifications.
He said the government had also introduced the National Dual Training System comprising sessions at the workplace as well as training centres.
The scheme aims to train 27,500 apprentices with the involvement of 967 companies during 2011-2015.
Improvements in the TEVT teaching workforce as well as bolstering the method of delivery for many of the education programs with emphasis to ensure that the various TEVT programs are made up of educational content that will be useful and effective in the various industries they serve will hopefully increase the appeal of TEVT programs and their perceived value to Malaysian students and society alike.
Asian Development Bank (1991) Technical and Vocational Education and Training. Manila.
UNESCO (1984) Technical and Vocational Education: Country Studies. Bangkok: UNESCO Regional Office for Education in Asia and the Pacific.
UNESCO (1999), Statistical Yearbook. Paris.
World Bank (1974) Education. Sector Paper. Washington, DC.
World Bank (1995) Priorities and Strategies for Education. Washington DC.