KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 27 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob today announced several new initiatives under the 12th Malaysian Plan aimed at improving the local education system and increasing marketability of graduates. 

Ismail stressed the importance of being able to develop talent locally through an effective education system to achieve a high-income status, and introduce specific targets set by the government to address this. 

“Attention will be given to improve the entire country’s education system, while handling the issue of mismatching within the job market,” Ismail said during his address in Parliament today. 

Among them include giving focus towards topics on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to prepare students towards digitisation and the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR). 

Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programs will be strengthened further by upgrading the current industry ecosystem, improving the quality of programs on offer by ensuring accreditation, recognition, and certification are on par with international bodies. 

“We will also include a TVET institution rating system. A centralised platform showing data on (job) offerings and TVET demands will be formed,” he said. 

Ismail said the government is working towards creating a digital education plan for all levels of education, to ensure equal and wider access to sources of higher quality material. 

Also announced were efforts to upgrade and improve the surroundings and conditions of at least 148 dilapidated schools costing the government at least RM1.6 billion from 2021 to 2022, and the construction of four new school complexes and five new schools costing RM848 million. 

Other institutions set to see an upgrade of its facilities include public universities, including Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM), University Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), Universiti Malaya (UM), Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), and Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM). 

The government also plans to draft a more flexible higher education system, where with the cooperation of industry players, Malaysia can develop higher quality graduates that fulfil the requirements of the real world. 

Within this are the Graduate Marketability Strategic Plan 221-2025 which aims to tackle the issue of job mismatches within the labour job industry, and the Job Creation Strategic Plan 2021-2023 which plans to develop a labour force that is highly skilled and are those required by the industry. 

As a result, the government will focus efforts towards attracting more high-technology investors, encouraging industries to embrace the transition towards automation and mechanisation, strengthening the cooperation between academic institutions and actual industry players, and finally by eventually limiting the entry of low-skilled foreign workers. 

“The implementation of these two plans will ensure Malaysian citizens receive the benefits from the creation of new jobs,” he said. 

Other education targets set within the 12MP include giving priority to B40 children and students for entry into high performing schools and scholarship opportunities, while also ensuring equal access to high quality education for those within the M40 bracket. 

As part of the government’s efforts to ensure the well-being of Bumiputeras, Ismail announced more development opportunities to the demographic, including training in technical and professional sectors towards becoming industry experts. 

Other opportunities include aligning them towards development skill sets to future proof these individuals, including towards becoming analysts, scientists, and big data specialists. 

Not forgotten are opportunities for the Orang Asli community, including ensuring opportunities are there for them to reach Form Five in secondary school, Ismail said. 

“Special Comprehensive Model Schools (K9) will be increased and also upgraded to become Special Comprehensive Model Schools (K11). 

“The aspect of teaching and learning will be improved, including raising the quality of teachers and facilities in schools,” he added.