PUTRAJAYA: The government will set up a permanent secretariat to coordinate and avoid overlapping of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) courses at all levels.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said this was because there were some ministries and departments found to have offered similar courses, and some TVET centres producing graduates with a low level of marketability.

Dr Ahmad Zahid, who is also Minister of Rural and Regional Development, said the permanent secretariat would involve the private sector and industry players forging strategic partnerships with TVET centres across the country.

“We want the industry players to train the lecturers and staff at the TVET centres with skills needed in the industry.

“At the same time, offers for admission to TVET centres would also be coordinated,” he told reporters after chairing the TVET Council Meeting here today.

At present, he said there are 1,295 TVET centres in the country offering more than 6,000 courses.

Prior to this, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim called for cooperation between the private sector and government-linked companies (GLCs) to be intensified in a bid to empower the TVET.

Ahmad Zahid said some selected TVET centres will be used as entrepreneurship training centres to produce graduates in the TVET field.

“They will be trained to become entrepreneurs through funds from some government or private financial institutions so that when they completed the training, monitoring and supervision can be done,” he said.

Apart from that, new legislation or amendments to the existing law on TVET should be made as soon as possible so that it can involve the private sector as practised in some developed countries.

“The private sector or the industry players should play a bigger role in managing TVET centres...we want to avoid overlapping costs and reduce the cost of hiring foreign workers,” he said.

When asked whether the TVET centres producing graduates with a low level of marketability would be closed, he said they would not be closed but new courses with a high level of marketability would be introduced, such as in the fields of artificial intelligence, 5G, and the fourth revolution industry (IR 4.0).

“These new courses should be offered with close cooperation with the industry so as to produce highly-skilled workers in those fields,” he said.

Meanwhile, Ahmad Zahid also said that 10 Memoranda of Agreement (MoAs) will be signed within the next three months involving the private sector and TVET centres to empower the field.

Among the companies involved in the MoAs are Petronas, DRB-Hicom and hospitality centres related to the tourism sector. - Bernama