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FMM: Why the need for TVET cabinet committee when there is National TVET Council?

FMM In The News: THE EDGE MARKETS, KUALA LUMPUR, Friday, February 3, 2023 -  The Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) said it is baffled by the decision to form a cabinet committee to address the issue of talent mismatch in technical and vocational education and training (TVET) programme when there is already the Majlis TVET Negara (National TVET Council).  

FMM president Tan Sri Soh Thian Lai said it had previously been proposed that a single industry-led body be established to coordinate the industry cooperation by sectors, which was largely fragmented and mainly government-led.

“With the announcement of the special cabinet committee, we are, however, confused with the change in the leadership direction of not continuing with the National TVET Council and consequently the Government-Industry TVET Coordination Body (GITC),” Soh said in a statement.

He was commenting on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's announcement on Thursday (Feb 2) that the cabinet committee, to be chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, would help address graduates’ skills mismatch including identifying private companies which could aid the government’s efforts.

Soh said the GITC was an initiative under the National TVET Council to enhance the industry-government cooperation within the TVET ecosystem, through the establishment of a single industry-led platform to coordinate and facilitate industry inputs to the TVET policy makers and TVET institutions towards reducing skill gaps and meeting the skilled manpower needs of the industry.

“Following the cabinet approval in 2022 on the formation of GITC, much progress has already been made by the private sector, which was tasked by the National TVET Council to take the lead towards the establishment of the GITC, which would work alongside the government towards achieving the strategic thrusts of an industry-led TVET ecosystem,” he said.

The GITC has in fact already been incorporated as a legal entity under the Companies Commission of Malaysia, said the FMM chief.

“There is, however, no clarity at the current juncture on the future of the National TVET Council and GITC and the TVET policies being pursued by the new government," he said.

“In addition, there has been no engagement with critical partners involved in ongoing initiatives under the National TVET Council including critical industry stakeholders and this has somewhat led to a great sense of frustration and disappointment amongst the parties involved including the FMM.”

Soh said there must be a single champion agency, ideally a TVET commission governed by a TVET Commission Act, to drive the TVET direction and efficiency to overcome the current fragmentation and to standardise training and qualification.

The single agency is also needed to ensure and improve cost-effectiveness, quality assurance, portable qualification and recognition of prior learning, and build the brand and recognition of TVET as a career of choice for students and parents, he added.

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