PENAMPANG 2/10/2012: Plantation Industry and Commodities Minister Tan Sri Bernard Dompok would like to see the country’s education system to be more focussed on ‘technicalities’ and not simply about students getting paper qualifications.
“This is because educating students that will give them skills to improve their life and gain employment after leaving school means that the country will have an employable work force,” he said.
The Penampang member of parliament in his speech at the unveiling the new signage for SM St Michael disclosed that there were employment opportunities in the main sectors throughout the country as Malaysia needs 270,000 blue collared workers.
“There are opportunities in the plantation and agriculture sector for those who are able to obtain certificates in plantation technologies. Therefore I am trying to organize courses through my ministry that will allow students obtain certificates in certain skills such as rubber tapping and harvesting oil palm,” he said.
According to Dompok, certain skilled workers such as bricklayers command high respect and pay because of their work.
“I want to do the same with the plantation sector and want to see rubber tappers get the same recognition. I want to teach the people how to get skills so that they can get into the job market,” he stressed.
Speaking to reporters later, Dompok explained that he saw the country’s education system heading towards teaching ‘technicalities’.
“This is how I see the education direction of this country, that we should no longer encourage paper chase. Instead we should go more into education that will help the students adjust themselves to life, get a job after leaving college or university and in this case there is a lot of scope for technical type education here.
“That is how a lot of countries have progressed because they have a ready work force when the students leave the university. At the moment there are a lot of unemployed graduates (in the country) mainly because they come from disciplines that are not quite marketable in the general market.
“This is one of the things we have to depart from. In my ministry for example, I have set up IMPAC, (Institute of Malaysian Plantation and Commodities) with the hope that we can get more people educated at certificate level or even at the skills level, as simple as rubber tapping,” he said.
He added that he wanted to see rubber tappers in Malaysia be certified.
“We are trying to create an employment situation because even at the moment we import a lot of rubber tappers. In Sarawak, they are using tappers from China and they are doing very well. I think it is because they have got very good work ethics,” he said.
According to Dompok the course on harvesting oil palm held recently was very well attended and as it was a comprehensive course, not just a harvesting course, the participants got to learn more about the plantation sector.
The course ran for two months and by the end of it, the participants were offered jobs in some of the plantations that they did their practical training in, he disclosed, adding that some were even promoted as supervisors because they showed leadership qualities.
“This is the direction of the ministry and the country, which is to provide more opportunities for people to pursue skills, to pursue specialized courses rather than the mere acquisition of paper qualifications, he said.
During the event, Dompok also presented excellence awards to SM St Michael students who did well in their examinations and co-curricular activities.
The new signage was donated by SM St Michael’s Primary Six Class of 1962 which Dompok is the patron.