PETALING JAYA, Oct 11 — The move to allocate RM56 billion to the Education Ministry to improve human capital has received positive reaction from stakeholders.
Education groups say the decision by the government to review curriculum and skills training programmes to reduce the unemployment rate among fresh graduates was timely.
Universiti Malaya (UM) vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Mohd Amin Jalaludin said he was looking forward to the Industry Academia Collaboration programme which would see Talent Corporation Malaysia Berhad injecting RM30 million and collaborate with universities, government entities and industries to develop a standard curriculum for internship programmes and industrial training for university students.
“The move will allow universities to be closer to the industry and vice versa. It will also allow students to be more exposed to their future jobs,” he said.
“Direct exposure would allow students to know more about specific skills which are related in a specific field.”
On the move to increase the minimum requirement for the Malaysia University English Test (MUET) for entry into public institutions of higher learning, Mohd Amin said while the changes would not particularly affect UM, it would benefit other public universities.
“We have no issues with the increase of minimum MUET band qualification. We had already raised our own minimum MUET standard earlier for most of our faculties,” he said.
Gabungan Pelajar Melayu Semenanjung vice president Datuk Irmohizam Ibrahim said increasing the minimum MUET band was timely.
“Graduates need to master the English language especially if they want to secure jobs in the private sector.
“Although the move will ensure students will have to work harder to improve their English, the government should also ensure English is emphasised at the school level.”
Parent Action Group for Education (PAGE) chairman Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim said although she welcomed the move, there was a need to ensure the language was given prominence at the primary and secondary levels.
“It is unfair to expect secondary school students moving on to university to do well in their MUET exams if they cannot master the language in school,” she said.
On the decision by the government to allocate RM1.2 billion to increase the student intake in both public and private vocational and community colleges, Malaysian Association of Private Colleges and University (MAPCU) president Datuk Dr Parmjit Singh said the proposal was long overdue.
“Although it is still short of what is required for an industrialised nation, it is good the government is paying attention to this area,” he said.
“It is a sector which has a lot of potential but has not been able to grow due to lack of funding over the years.”
In his budget speech, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said RM10 million would be allocated to expand the Trust Schools programme which started in 2011 by building 20 more Trust Schools in Johor, Sarawak, Selangor, Perak, Negri Sembilan and Kuala Lumpur.
Twelve new schools — seven primary schools, three secondary schools and two boarding schools — would also be built nationwide.