Sunday, November 22, 2009

The VET system - a lesson for Malaysia?

VET stands for Vocational Education Training. VET in Australia is highly structured and it provides formal recognition for people who choose to have a career outside of the university system. The NTIS (National Training Information Service) sets the framework for quality in training, the qualifications awarded, and gathers the training packages for various industries. Private training organizations subscribe to the NTIS for accreditation. By this means tradespeople are able to maintain a good standard of workmanship in their vocation, which also means that they can charge a uniform fee for a standard quality of work. The fees are normally high but regulated and reasonable, which results in a win-win situation for both the tradesman and the public at large. It is a win-win situation because this system provides a good career path for vocational work, while at the same time it enables the public to enjoy a high quality of services.

Look at what happens if such a system does not exist. Malaysia is a good case in point. In Malaysia there is a virtual absence of systematic training and assessment for vocational work. The quality of work is generally poor as unskilled workers undercut skilled craftsmen by offering much lower prices. Therefore the career path for vocational work is shunned and viewed with disdain. Instead, everyone tries to get a university degree. This results in a gross oversupply of university graduates, who become underemployed and whose careers aspirations are seldom fully met. With a fast growing population, Malaysia is missing out on the opportunity to create a service industry that can certainly contribute towards the GDP.

No comments: