Malay Mail, 10 October 2018
KUALA LUMPUR — More than 20,000 students from private Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges may be forced to discontinue their studies due to inadequate allocations to the Skills Development Fund Corp (PTPK).
According the Federation of JPK Accredited Centres (FeMAC), these students are largely from the Bottom 40th percentile (B40) and have no other means to pay for their courses without PTPK loans.
“Over the last four years, the Human Resources Ministry has been consistently reducing the allocation of funds for PTPK with the total amount of funds being cut having been reduced by a staggering 60 per cent.
“While the total allocation for 2018 is supposed to have been RM175 million for both public and private technical and vocational education training centres, many have yet to see any funding being released to these centres over the last nine months,” it said in a statement here yesterday.
Due to the delay, some private TVET centres have been forced to initiate severe cost-cutting measures including retrenching lecturers and raising unemployment rates for TVET educators.
Private TVET centres can train between 40,000 and 60,000 students annually. However, the funding from PTPK for 2018 was only enough for 11,000 students to remain in education, leaving the others in a lurch.
FeMAC said it has tried repeatedly to resolve this issue by contacting the relevant authorities but to no avail.
This crisis comes at a time when the importance of TVET and skills education training is highlighted as the way forward for the nation to achieve the national agenda of having a 35 per cent skilled workforce by the year 2020.
In an immediate response, national TVET task force chairman Nurul Izzah Anwar acknowledged the delay in payments and said she will raise the matter at the coming parliamentary sitting.
She said although there is an ongoing corruption case against the former political secretary of the Human Resources Ministry involving some RM40 million of PTPK’s funds since last year, this was no excuse to freeze the disbursement of loans to deserving applicants.
“The ministry has to find a way to help the many applicants,” she said, adding that 82 per cent of TVET students were from the B40 group. The PTPK received RM 25 million in Budget 2018, or less than what it needs to lend to all applicants. The Permatang Pauh MP stressed the need to increase fund for TVET loans.