MIER: Flexibility needed in Malaysia’s education system for shared prosperity

MIER chairman Tan Sri Kamal Salih said other than English, being able to think, talk and communicate is critical especially in industry 4.0 that requires a lot of technology. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
MIER chairman Tan Sri Kamal Salih said other than English, being able to think, talk and communicate is critical especially in industry 4.0 that requires a lot of technology. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 4 — In relation to the Shared Prosperity Vision 2030, Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed had outlined that there would be an emphasis on skills development as well as technical and vocational education and training (TVET).

The Malaysian Institute of Economic Research’s (MIER) chairman Tan Sri Kamal Salih in concurring with Dr Mahathir said the future called for workers with knowledge and skills and this meant there has to be flexibility in our education system.  

“We really want to go forward, the Shared Prosperity Vision 2030 requires skills more than general education.

“This is where we have to shift, there must be flexibility in the system, right up to the university, and university shouldn’t allow those who pass A-levels or STPM (to enter), they can enter at another level, either diploma level, or by work experience with certificates,” said Kamal.

He cited the German dual education system, which Malaysia could benchmark against, where one could be a university student and work in the industry for a while, come back, and complete one’s degree.

“So you gain experience, you know the business world, you know the world of work, even before you graduate, therefore you can direct your reading, and your studies, to learn on what you like, learn from what you do in the industry, during your training,” he said.

He also pointed out Malaysian students’ lack of proficiency in English has been quite critical.

Kamal said other than English, being able to think, talk and communicate is critical especially in industry 4.0 that requires a lot of technology.

“You need to have knowledge. Future work is knowledge-intensive, the 3D jobs — difficult, dangerous, dirty jobs — will eventually be taken over by robots, either in air or in water, or in surface, to detonate bombs, they can fly and sprint, spray the fields and so on, maybe even one day catch fish,” he said.

He said human skills were needed for cognitive thinking, designing, rearranging, executing things and making decisions as well as communication and substance.

“If there is good communication, they’re on the internet, and the coverage is up to the rural areas, women can work from home, and if the home is in a rural area, women don’t have to come to the office, they can look after the children,” he said pointing out women need not drop out of employment to take care of their families.

Kamal Salih said one could work any time because the real-world economy is 24 hours, it’s on the internet. — Bernama

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