KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 25 — The government should make the Skills Development Fund Corp (PTPK) a statutory body like the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN), said Federation of JPK Accredited Centers Malaysia (FeMAC).
President P. Sailanathan said PTPK was now bound by funds-based quotas, unlike PTPTN that provides all qualified applicants with loans.
"Funding (PTPK) mechanism should be similar to PTPTN. PTPK should be independent (body) like PTPTN (which) comes directly under Ministry of Finance.
"Because now, funding to PTPK is determined by the MOHR (Ministry of Human Resource). MOHR decides what's the kind of funding to be given to PTPK. So there is a contradiction there," he told reporters at the press conference of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) crisis today.
Sailanathan said some vocational students could not progress due to lack of funds.
In a discussion earlier, FeMAC also highlighted the need to make PTPK transparent and accessible to all.
The federation also has made an appeal to the Finance Ministry to allocate a total of RM1 billion each year for TVET education in order to propel forward.
"At this point of time, everyone is hailing TVET education as the way forward with plans for TVET to become school leavers’ first choice.
"However, the actions of those in charge seem to say otherwise as the students currently in TVET education are not being given the same priority as those in other tertiary education institutions," he added.
Previously, it was reported that more than 20,000 students from private TVET colleges may be forced to stop their studies due to inadequate allocations to PTPK.
FeMAC said in a statement earlier this month that, over the last four years, MOHR has been consistently reducing the allocation of funds for PTPK with the total amount of funds being cut having been reduced by a staggering 60 per cent.
While the total allocation for 2018 is supposed to have been RM175 million for both public and private technical and vocational education training centres, many have yet to see any funding being released to these centres over the last nine months.
Due to the delay, some private TVET centres have been forced to initiate severe cost-cutting measures including retrenching lecturers, rising unemployment rates for TVET educators.
Private TVET centres can train between 40,000 and 60,000 students annually.
However, the funding from PTPK for 2018 was only enough for 11,000 students to remain in education, leaving the others in a lurch.