The role of vocational and technical education in the industrialization of Malaysia as perceived by educators and employers

Ramlee Bin Mustapha, Purdue University


The purpose of this study was to identify the perceptions of educators and employers regarding the role of vocational and technical education in the industrialization of Malaysia. The first population was all vocational and technical educators (N = 4,316) in public vocational and technical schools and polytechnics in Peninsular Malaysia. A random sample of 300 educators was selected. The second population was employers from large and medium-size manufacturing companies in Mang Valley and Selangor. The sample consisted of 120 employers. The Industrialization Needs Survey was developed to identify the perceptions of educators and employers regarding the industrialization of Malaysia. The internal consistency reliability of the instrument was estimated to be Cronbach's Coefficient α = 0.94. A total of 276 educator instruments and 53 employer instruments were returned which yielded final response rates of 92% and 44%, respectively. ^ Several conclusions were drawn from the findings of the study: (a) both educators and employers believed that vocational and technical education has assumed a major role in the economic development of Malaysia and that a substantial financial investment in vocational and technical education and training was justified, (b) employers and educators were less certain regarding the employability skills of vocational and technical graduates, (c) educators and employers differed with regard to the factors that facilitated or inhibited the restructuring of vocational and technical education; however, both groups agreed that input from the private sector and technical exchanges between vocational institutions and business/industry were mutually beneficial, (d) educators and employers believed that the public sector did an inadequate job in satisfying the human resource needs of the industrial sector, (e) both groups were unclear regarding the factors that led to shortages of skilled workers, and (f) educators and employers differed regarding the government's role in satisfying the needs of vocational and technical education and the needs of business and industry. ^ Based on the results and limitations, several recommendations were offered: (a) the public and private sectors should maintain and expand vocational and technical education and training, (b) a balanced curriculum that integrates technical, employability, and generalizable skills should be adopted in vocational and technical programs, (c) the Ministry of Education should consider decentralizing the management of public vocational and technical institutions and encourage the expansion of private vocational and technical institutions, (d) the public sector should be more proactive rather than reactive in responding to human resource needs, (e) the government should address the issue of dissatisfaction among vocational and technical educators, and (f) policy makers should introduce legislation related to new reform initiatives such as school/business partnerships; school-to-work activities; and work force development to sustain employer and private sector commitment to education, training, and human resource development. ^




Major Professor: James P. Greenan, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Education, Curriculum and Instruction|Education, Vocational

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