TVET in Numbers

Published on 2021-06-27 Updated 2021-07-06

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ACCORDING TO THE Ministry of Higher Education, Malaysia produced about 255,000 graduates in 2020, approximately 86% of which were from the academic track, and 14% from the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programme.

Penang had a total of 2,220 TVET graduates, 11% of which were from community colleges and 88.7% from polytechnics. Intake of students, enrolment and output for community colleges, which had been on a downward trend since 2017, was exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. In fact, student enrolment dropped by 62.7%, from 1,336 students in 2019 to 838 students in 2020 (Figure 1).

There are six community colleges in Penang, offering three types of programmes. These are Arts and Humanities; Engineering, Manufacturing and Construction; and Services. Upon completion, students are awarded a skills certificate.

The Kolej Komuniti Kepala Batas is the largest in Penang, accounting for about 36% of total student enrolment. This is followed by Kolej Komuniti Seberang Jaya (20.8%), Kolej Komuniti Bayan Baru (16.9%) and Kolej Komuniti Nibong Tebal (10.5%) (Figure 2).

Engineering, Manufacturing and Construction constituted over half the student intake, enrolment and output, followed by Services, and Arts and Humanities (Table 1).

Three polytechnics in Penang offer diploma programmes. These are Politeknik Seberang Perai, Politeknik Balik Pulau and Politeknik METrO Tasek Gelugor. Politeknik Seberang Perai is the largest polytechnic in Penang, and was in 2020 responsible for 72% of total student output. This is followed by Politeknik Balik Pulau (21.3%) and Politeknik METrO Tasek Gelugor (7.1%) (Figure 4).

While Science, Mathematics and Computing are offered at all three polytechnics, each institution focuses primarily on specific programmes. For example, programmes in the Social Sciences; Business and Law; and Engineering, Manufacturing and Construction are exclusively available at Politeknik Seberang Perai, while Politeknik Balik Pulau only offers Science, Mathematics and Computing programmes, accounting for nearly 60% of the total student output in that programme (Table 2).

Going by the state of residence, Penang registered the second-lowest share of unemployment in Malaysia among the graduates, accounting for 12.4% in 2020, trailing behind Putrajaya (9.7%). Meanwhile, Sabah had the highest share of unemployed graduates at 23.8%.

According to the 2020 Graduate Tracer Study done by the Ministry of Higher Education, TVET graduates are generally more employable compared to their non-TVET cohorts. Only 13% were unemployed following graduation, while non-TVET graduates from conventional public and private universities accounted for 16.5% of unemployment (Table 3).

In terms of type of TVET institution, community colleges had the lowest share of unemployed graduates across all TVET institutions in Malaysia. In 2020, this share increased to 5.8% for community colleges (from 2.2% in 2019) compared to polytechnics at 8.6% (from 3.3% in 2019) and vocational colleges at 18.4% (from 2.6% in 2019) – this may be due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Further investigations are needed in assessing the employability of TVET graduates trained at ministry-governed public skills training institutions (Figure 5). Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, these institutions had a two-digit share of unemployed graduates.

* The availability of data is limited to public TVET institutions. Many of Penang's private TVET education providers offer courses that cater to the human capital requirements of its industries. Such institutions include Penang Skills Development Centre, Fourier TVET Center, Infogenius Skills Training Centre and DreamCatcher.