Rethinking tertiary education in Malaysia — Alexander Goh

NOVEMBER 4 — In the context of Asian culture, education determines a person’s intelligence and ability. Especially when a person is equipped with excellent English language skill, it is a definite plus point as it is often being associated with social status.

Upon graduating from secondary school, those who have an average result are mostly recommended to continue to pursue higher education, while those with a below-average result are often affected by the environment where they are perceived to have the incapability to further study. Therefore, they are convinced to take up the early entrance ticket into the workforce.

For those who decided to go for university education, they will stumble the crossroad of either going for the private institution or public institution. The end goal to be achieved for both is the same which is getting an education credential but what differs would be the cost, experience and total duration.

It takes up to a minimum of threeacademic years to earn a bachelor’s degree. Every two to three months the billing statement will be sent to their account. In order to reduce the financial burden of the family, some students are forced to work part-time along with their studies.

However, having an undergraduate education status does not guarantee an occupation in the current time. As digital technology evolved at its peak, the industries are heightening up their requirement and demand to screen for the all-rounder talents.

Two major issues faced by the younger generation of graduates in Malaysia now would be their soft skills and hard skills. Generally, the prime soft skills would be communication skill and teamwork. Both of these skills are correlated and it determines the role and contribution of an employee in a company. Wheres for soft skills, English language proficiency is an important consideration as most companies, it is the medium of communication for business conducts.

Unfortunately, there seem to have a more severe issue. Industrial revolution 4.0 has been a widespread topic across all industries, but have our tertiary education system are able to keep up?

Throughout the entire 3 years spent in the university, half of the total subjects require a good memorisation technique to remember all the obsolete theories and history for the purpose of passing the examinations. The examples we learnt from the textbook typically the imported textbook might out of the common from the local practice.

In addition, not all courses require their students to attend the compulsory internship. This further increases the gap of understanding the working environment and preparing the students for the real work situation. A three-month internship with a single company clearly could not provide enough time for the students to learn and improve themselves in the workplace.

Furthermore, the universities’ students still need to go through general studies or better known as “Mata Pelajaran Umum.” A better suggestion would be replacing these subjects with more relevant subjects to the current demand of the industry such as providing insight into current technology adoption in Malaysia and how to make use of data.

Many may argue that university education is providing indirect knowledge and it up to how the students learn, interpret and apply the knowledge learnt. Nevertheless, the graduate youth unemployment rate evidently shows a steady increase and things needs to be changed.

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail.

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