TVET to combat unemployment, poverty and reduce income disparity

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KUCHING: A mental revolution is needed to attract younger people to choose Technical Vocational Education Training (TVET) courses as their preferred option after completing their secondary education. Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem said TVET was generally perceived to be a less attractive pathway compared to the conventional university education and often regarded as an option to those academically poor students who were unable to continue their studies at the tertiary level.

“Consequently, TVET programmes are shunned not only by the students but also their parents. Therefore, a mental revolution is needed to produce a sufficient skilled and semi-skilled workforce,” he said. In realising the need to further promote TVET, Adenan said Tabung Ekonomi Gegasan Anak Sarawak (TEGAS), an NGO fully funded by the state government, was set up three years ago as to introduce and create greater awareness on technical and vocational skills among the people, especially students and parents living in the rural areas.

“The perception towards TVET is slowly changing and the enrolment in technical and vocational institutions increased nearly 20 per cent this year, compared to three years ago. We are expecting a higher enrolment,” he said speaking at the launch of the World TVET Conference 2015 at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) here yesterday.

Adenan said the state had long realised the potential of TVET to combat unemployment, poverty and reduce income disparity. Therefore the state government had prioritised vocational education in the state’s human capital development agenda by providing financial assistance to those undertaking skill training.

“But what we can do in funding the training is limited, so I hope the Federal government can increase the allocation of Tabung Pembangungan Kemahiran for Sarawak,” he said. To date, there were 54 public and 35 private TVET institutions in the state with a total capacity of 30,000, producing about 11,000 certificate holders in different grades each year.

“At the current rate, we will be able to produce about 170,000 skilled workers by 2030. We need to increase our training capacity as the state will require a threefold increase in order to meet the demand of the state and nation,” he added. Meanwhile, when delivering her keynote address at the launch, British High Commissioner to Malaysia Victoria Treadell said a skilled workforce was a basic requirement for driving the engine of industrial and economic growth and to stay competitive in today’s global market.

“It’s no doubt that TVET holds the key to building technical and entrepreneurial workforce, being one of the most effective human capital development strategies in training and modernising our technical workforce for rapid industrialisation and global development,” she said.

The three-day conference which began yesterday was jointly organised by Sarawak Skills Development Centre (PPKS) and International Vocational Education and Training and Association (IVETA) with more than 800 delegates from 28 countries.

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