Friday, July 25, 2008

Vocational and Technical Training

Vocational and technical training doesn't get much airplay on this blog. Probably because neither Tony or myself are familiar with how it works in Malaysia. But it is an important component of the education system.

The Star reported that the MOE was in the process of revamping its vocational and technical training programs. It didn't exactly say how it would be revamped or what was wrong with it now.

I say that vocational and technical education is important because not everyone should be expected to take the path of going to a university and getting a university degree. Some people prefer to take a non-academic path because this is where their passion and interests lies. As such, having a good vocational and technical training and education program is important to ensure that students who are inclined towards these sectors have a respectable channel to pursue skills in this area.

In Germany, for example, apprenticing with a mentor in a 'skills' industry is a perfectly respectable career choice. One of my favorite American comics, Jay Leno, sponsors a scholarship for auto-mechanics to McPherson college and he's mentioned on his show that many of these graduates make good money - more than $100,000 a year (which is about what recent MBA graduates earn).

In Malaysia, I don't think there are such channels. Making the pursuit of these skills (being a mechanic, electrician, plumber, carpenter, etc...) more respectable is one of the ways to reduce school dropout rates and to increase the skills and earning power of those who do not lean towards the academic arena.

Since this area is more or less a black hole for me, I was wondering if any of our readers who know more about this can write a post enlightening us on the state of vocational and technical training in Malaysia?

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