Hire industry experts as educators to improve higher education

It is vital to enhance graduates’ competency to ensure employment matches the job market’s requirement


THE Malaysian Qualification Agency needs to encourage the higher education sector to hire industry experts in efforts to give better understanding for students on what the job market needs.

Malaysian Association of Private Colleges and Universities president Datuk Dr Parmjit Singh said it is vital to enhance graduates’ competency to ensure employment matches the job market’s requirement.

“A lecturer with a Master’s and PhD background without experience will only teach from the book and keep teaching the same thing. This will lead to a mismatch between the requirements of companies and the skills offered by new entrants,” he told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR).

“The Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE) conducts the Graduate Tracer Study annually, why don’t they speak to the institution that has 100% employability to learn from them,” he added.

Parmjit added that the government must make better policies and improve its implementation into the public and private higher education sectors to address issues of unemployment and underemployment among youths.

He was one of the moderators for the 2021 National Education and Learning Summit organised by Kingsley Strategic Institute for Asia Pacific (KSI) yesterday.

The summit brought together educationalists, policymakers, leaders of industry and experts in the area of education to discuss key emerging themes to pave the way forward in an attempt to transform Malaysian education to one of world-class quality.

Experts also deliberated the challenges faced and opportunities ahead in preparing youths to meet the demands of a post- Covid-19 market.

KSI president Tan Sri Dr Michael Yeoh said there is a need to ensure universities produce future-ready graduates.

“So perhaps, there will be a closer university and industry collaboration in making sure students get the right skills and training.

“For now, some universities are doing quite well in this partnership, while some are just starting but a lot more need to be done,” he told TMR.

Yeoh said there are three important issues that need to be addressed in the education sector — digitalisation, diversity and distinctioning.

Earlier, in an opening keynote address at the summit, MoHE Minister Datuk Seri Dr Noraini Ahmad (picture) said the ministry is constantly looking for ways to put local graduates ahead of other job seekers.

She said one of the initiatives carried out by the MoHE is a career advancement initiative known as the short-term National Economic Recovery Plan (Penjana) KPT-Career Advancement Programme or Penjana KPT-CAP.

“This programme aims to reskill and upskill participating graduates by further enhancing their existing abilities and knowledge through industry collaborations.

“This programme consists of three sub-programmes, namely the place and train, entrepreneurship and gig economy. Upon completion of the training, participants will stand a chance of securing a job placement in the participating industries,” she said.

This is one of many MoHE’s efforts to better equip graduates to face the future, especially in this volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous era.

The higher education sector was among the sectors greatly affected by the pandemic. A total of 1.2 million students, including 130,000 international students were affected when teaching and learning activities could not be carried out as usual beginning March 2020.

“To remedy the situation, MoHE has taken initiatives to help ease the students’ burden. For example, MoHE, together with local higher education institutions (HEIs), telecommunications companies and other corporations launched the Data Plan and Device Packages Initiative to HEI students in November 2020.

“Since then, an estimated 200,000 data plan and 4,000 devices have been distributed to students in the bottom 40% income group. This is one of the many efforts taken by the ministry in ensuring students are able to receive quality education,” Noraini added.

Read our earlier report

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