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A developed nation with knowledge-based economy needs a competent workforce, as well technology and capital.

The workforce needs to be continuously equipped with knowledge and skills to increase Malaysia’s competitiveness in the global market.

Developing human resources or human capital at all levels – operative, technician and managerial is critical for a successful knowledge economy.

In 2002, the Government set up four new university colleges. This was the outcome of the finding of a task force to look into the possibility of revamping the science, technology, and engineering education system by incorporating some extent of vocationalisation in tertiary education.

After a period of study, the task force came up with a proposal of a new technical education system called the ‘National Technical University System’.

This new system was developed based on models such as the ‘fachhochscule’ (FH) in Germany, the polytechnic university system in Hong Kong, and a few others.

In Germany, the dual system training has been implemented long ago with strong support by industries. As Schmidt and Alex (1997, “The Dual System of Vocational Education and Training in Germany”. In Roderick Millar and Jonathan Reuvid (eds.). Doing Business With Germany. London) explained, “the dual system is founded on close links between public and private training organisations, between statutory provision and provision governed by collective agreements, and between public training policy and private training investment.”

The successes of the German’s Dual System are mainly due to:

  1. Vocational qualification confers high standing in Germany,
  2. Skilled blue- and white-collar workers and SME craftsmen enjoy a high status in society,
  3. TEVT is a primary political concern,
  4. The Dual System is not questioned by any major political party as the most suitable system of TEVT, likewise both employers and trade unions regard it as the stable basis of their TEVT policy relationship,
  5. Large research and development institutes offer database and advice to employers, trade unions and the government, and they provide a platform for joint planning and for the improvement and adaptation of vocational training,
  6. When planning TEVT, the government acts on the consensus principle, by building on the agreement of employers and trade unions, and
  7. Employers and trade unions provide on-going renewal of the training content and the examination syllabus.

The common ground for these models are that of the ‘practical-oriented’ approach, whereby students undergo intensive practical sessions. Hence, the main feature of this new ‘breed’ of education model is that of preparing students for applications-related schooling for professions which require the application of academic knowledge and methods.

(‘About MTUN’. http://http://www.unimap.edu.my/eng/template02.asp?contentid=666&parentid=838&tt=22. Accessed 29 Dec 11)

In 2005, the Malaysian Government implements the ‘National Dual Training System (NDTS), which aims to expose apprentices to actual situations in the industry.

This initiative is expected to stimulate the production of k-workers to meet the national needs.

Apart from technical competencies, the NDTS also emphasizes human and social competencies such as team work, self monitoring, shouldering common responsibilities, and the like.

Around 70-80% of the training is done in the industry, while the remaining 20-30% is carried out in training institutions, utilising curriculum developed by the National Occupational Core Curriculum (NOCC)

Training will be conducted through several approaches:

i.   Hands-on and knowledge training to be conducted by a coach at the industry, whereas at the institute, an instructor will conduct the training programmes to be undertaken by the public or private sector, or the industry itself.

ii. Training programmes may also be conducted by industries at their premises together with the trainers from any approved institutes.

The companies which participate in the NDTS ultimately enjoy savings in the costs of training, assessment, recruitment and selection of skilled workers.

In addition, several financial incentives are provided by the government, namely tax deductions under the Income Tax Act 1976 or training grants from the Human Resource Development Fund (HRDF) for eligible companies.

The companies stand to gain from the increased quality and productivity of the workers trained under the NDTS programmes, thus enhancing their competitiveness.

The NDTS is capable of providing relevant skilled workers since the apprentices are exposed to the latest technologies and the actual work processes involved in the industry during their training.

Companies will also develop their human resources capital because the training involves inculcating positive work attitudes and performance, improves workers’ satisfaction, enhances company/employer’s image as a producer of k-workers, fulfils its corporate social responsibilities to the nation, provides additional mechanism for worker’s promotion and skills development as well as exposes skilled workers to new knowledge and coaching skills.

The apprentices will also benefit immensely from the NDTS programmes. The apprentices will be awarded the NDTS K-Worker Certificate (which is equivalent to the Malaysian Skills Certificate at level 3) upon successful completion of the two years programme. The apprentices also have the opportunity to develop their career.

Thus, the overall advantages of implementing the NDTS may be summarized to include minimizing the mismatch issue in term of quality and quantity of skilled workers, closing the technological gap between industry and institution, minimizing the dependence on foreign worker, and also transferring technology to skilled workers and training institutions, as well as the industrial society at large.

-SNASH-

(this article written for 1BINA.my)