MoE should improve spending efficiency for better results, says economist

The size of the budget allocation to the ministry is reflective of its priority


THE Education Ministry (MoE) — the largest recipient of Budget 2020 — should improve its spending efficiency to have better outcomes, says an economist.

Sunway University Business School economist Prof Dr Yeah Kim Leng said the size of the budget allocation is reflective of its priority.

“The government’s spending for the education sector has always been very high, but we are also aware the outcome is not reflective. There is no lack of resources, so the importance is getting the implementation right.

“One of the reasons for the depressed wages in the country is the low-skilled of readiness of the country’s graduates. The ministry should focus on enhancing the capabilities of teachers and lecturers, among others,” he told The Malaysian Reserve in an interview recently.

Yeah added that the pressure is on MoE to produce higher outcome to improve the overall economy growth.

He also lauded the higher allocations to build more schools in rural areas as part of the Shared Prosperity Vision 2030 (SPV 2030).

The allocation for MoE has increased from RM60.2 billion in Budget 2019 to RM64.1 billion in 2020.

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said the higher spending reflects the government’s commitment in investing in the future of the children.

Economist Dr Barjoyai Bardai, who is also an academic at the Universiti Tun Abdul Razak, said all eyes would be on the ministry’s expenditure focus.

“The spending for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programme and the new curriculum relating to Industrial Revolution 4.0 (IR4.0) need to be projected.

“Hopefully, the budget will also be allocated for the research and innovation developments related to IR4.0 in universities,” he said.

For the TVET programme, the government is increasing the allocation from RM5.7 billion in 2019 to RM5.9 billion in 2020.

Under the TVET, the government will provide RM50 million fund through Perbadanan Tabung Pembangunan Kemahiran to fund TVET courses conducted by state skills development centres; providing matching grant fund of RM20 million under public skills training institutions to support customised TVET courses undertaken in collaboration with industries; the Malaysian Technical University Network universities will offer degree courses for trainees graduating from vocational colleges next year; and the government will provide RM30 million for the Human Resource Development Fund (HRDF) to train more than 3,000 youths from low-income households.

In addition, the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) will expand the scope of its education withdrawal for qualifications attained at certificate level, especially for accredited programmes that are in line with the nation’s IR4.0 aspirations.

Meanwhile, Asia e University Malaysia vice chancellor Datuk Dr Hassan Said said the announcements in the education sector are in line with the SPV 2030, with greater emphasis for Malaysia to compete in IR4.0, as well as high-value human capital developments.

“I am sure there will be more teaching and learning enhancement activities can be done in the universities, especially in terms of the use of the latest technology. “The expansion of the EPF’s financial facilities for professional certificates for adults is highly admired,” he said.

The government will also allocate RM20 million to be matched by another RM20 million from HRDF towards encouraging working adults to undertake professional certification examinations in fields relating to IR4.0.