Giving what the company wants

Congratulations, you fit our bill. That’s the recent headline for the Star Education newspaper dated today, 04 Feb 2007.

This article is much related to the going-ons with UMLIC.

According to the article, soft skills deficiency can be found among a majority of Malaysian graduates. As quoted by the Deputy Human Resources Minister Datuk Abdul Rahman Bakar, it is this lack of soft skills which is largely responsible for the difficulty faced by some 90,000 young people in finding employment in Malaysia.  90,000 is no small number !

Of course, UM is not the first institution which wants to instill / embed / install / carved soft skills among their graduates. There is UiTM (Universiti Teknologi Mara) which makes sure soft skills are properly seeded in their graduates via thorough implementation of soft skills on the appropriate subjects / curriculum. This boosted a the statement by Assoc Prof Thanthawi Jauhari Ahmad who is head of the Career, Counselling and Alumni centre at Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM), “Our graduates are more marketable than their counterparts from other universities due to their strength of character, entrepreneurship skills and good command of English; our courses are tailored to market needs.”

Now to this issue of soft skills deficiency, soft skills modules have been created. At the end of the “course”, the graduate will be awarded additional certificate besides their scroll. Interesting.

The function of the additional certificate is to prove students’ participation and to give an account of their proficiency, which can then be used as a guide by prospective employers. Things are indeed getting more interesting.

UPM’s Centre for Co-curriculum director Dr Mohd Shatar Sabran admits that it is difficult to measure soft skills in students.” but UPM came up with something to counter that particular matter which is “What we do at UPM is to evaluate the students when they enter the university and rate them in terms of leadership, communication skills and teamwork abilities. Then, we assess their development throughout the time they are at university.” 

I wonder how each individual is monitored and evaluated. I think the system must very comprehensive, vast, deep and detailed.

But this issue also exist outside Malaysia. Here are extracts of the article.

According to a report by the BBC, four out of 10 large employers in the United Kingdom expect to struggle to fill graduate vacancies because of a shortage of applicants with the right skills. 

There is also the issue that surrounds other foreign students (including M’sia).

In Australia, a study by Monash University showed that more than one-third of foreign students are graduating from Australian universities with very poor English skills. 

Now back to awarded certificate.

I wonder what is written on the cert to actually potray that this graduate is indeed adept with the seven skills. IF the cert does mention that the graduate is half adept for all seven skills, are we going to say that this graduate may face the risk of not getting the job he or she wanted.

OR, there is the possibililty being branded as someone not efficient for the rest of his/her life by all future employees.

OR, mebe there will be a choice not to show the future employees the cert.

Or will there be a statement in the cert saying this is something the graduate has learnt in the university, therefore it shouldnt be a benchmark of his/her character.

Or there will …..all right stop…

Have yet to see the clear and obvious result(S) / outcome of this suggestion in another 3-5 years.


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