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Chapter 1. Introduction

1.2. German-Malaysian Institute

The German-Malaysian Institute (GMI) was established in 1991 and it operates as a technical and vocational training institute. The Institute is a joint venture project between the Governments of Malaysia and Germany, which was established to train students in technical and vocational education. The institute is governed by a ten-member Board of Directors comprising representatives of the governments, public and industrial bodies, GMI is set up as a Company Limited by Guarantee whereby the founders are Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA) and the Malaysian-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MGCC), and its implementing agencies are MARA and German Technical Corporation (GTZ – Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit). Besides GMI, MARA which is a government agency has also set up a University of Kuala Lumpur (UniKL), seven colleges; Kolej Kemahiran Tinggi MARA (KKTM), twelve institutes; Institut Kemahiran MARA and 209 GiatMARA learning centres. Learning institutions such as KKTM offers TVET programmes at Diploma level while IKM and GiatMARA offer TVET courses at certificate level and has its skill standards supervised and controlled by the National Occupancy Skill Standards (NOSS). Whereas UniKL offers engineering technology programmes at Diploma, Degree, Master and PhD levels.

GMI offers diverse TVET programmes at Diploma level in line with the need of work force in the manufacturing industry in Malaysia. The Institute aims to support the Malaysian industries by training students to become highly skilled and competent technicians/technologist who can operate modern technologies efficiently. Present, a total number of twelve Diploma programmes are offered by GMI through the Department of Industrial Electronics and the Department of Production Technology (see Table 1-1). The Department of Industrial Electronics

offers Diploma programmes such as Mechatronics, Electronics and Information Technology, Network Security, Sustainable Energy and Power Distribution System and Industrial Plant Maintenance, whereas in the Department of Production Technology programmes include Tool and Die Technology, Mould Technology, Product Design and Manufacturing, CNC Precision Technology, Manufacturing System and Sheet Metal Fabrication and Development.

Short and customized courses are also offered by GMI to cater for people from industries and other technical training institutions who want to enhance their technical knowledge as well as training for advanced technology. Another programme offered by GMI is the German A-Level Preparatory Programme (GAPP). GAPP is a 20-month preparatory programme that prepares students for technical and practical or hands-on experiences that enable them to enrol in the universities in Germany such as University of Applied Sciences (UAS) or Fachhochschule. UAS is a higher learning institution offering Degree programmes which are more application-based and with greater practical-oriented courses to ensure that the students with an academic background are practically better qualified to fit within the work force. UAS professors and lecturers have practical experience besides their academic qualifications that sustain the quality of education and training.

Table 1-1: Diploma Programmes offered at GMI

Department Courses offered

Industrial Electronics

1. Diploma in Industrial Electronics (Mechatronics)

2. Diploma in Industrial Electronics (Process Instrumentation

& Control)

3. Diploma in Industrial Electronics (Electronics and Information Technology)

4. Diploma in Network Security

5. Diploma in Engineering Technology (Sustainable Energy and Power Distribution System)

6. Diploma in Engineering Technology (Industrial Plant Maintenance)

Production Technology

1. Diploma in Industrial Production Technology (Tool and Die Technology

2. Diploma in Industrial Production Technology (Mould Technology)

3. Diploma in Product Design and Manufacturing 4. Diploma in CNC Precision Technology

5. Diploma in Engineering Technology (Manufacturing System)

6. Diploma in Engineering Technology (Sheet Metal Fabrication and Development)

GMI also has collaborated with the Universiti Malaysia Pahang (UMP) to offer bachelor programmes in Manufacturing Engineering Technology and Electrical Engineering Technology. UMP is one of the public higher learning institutions within the Malaysian Technical University Network that emphasis on hands-on education in engineering and technology which integrates theory and practice.

Priority of enrollment in these bachelor programmes is given to the graduates of GMI as an opportunity and path for them to further their study at a higher level.

Other than GMI, there are about 194 TVET providers in Malaysia with the total enrollment of 100,000 students, and the government is planning to increase this number in the next five years. These TVET encompasses post-secondary education provided by Polytechnics, Community Colleges and Skill Training Institutes which are under the supervision of Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE) Malaysia.

According to the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, (MITI, 2006), in the Third Industrial Master Plan (IMP3), the global economy is being transformed into a knowledge-based economy, where technology assumes an important role and furthermore, new emerging technologies will continue to have an impact on the industrial and economic development in most countries. Through the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) the government has set nine strategic thrusts for human resource management, planning and development (MITI, 2008).

One of the thrusts includes;

 Enhancing the institutional capacity for human resource management, planning and development;

 Increasing the supply of technically-skilled, knowledgeable and ICT-trained workforce;

 Providing greater focus on creativity, innovation and other enabling skills in the educational, and technical and vocational training systems.

The Ministry’s strategies aimed to increase the supply of a technically-skilled work force; these included reviewing and enhancing the capacity of vocational schools and community colleges, upgrading skills training to school leavers in vocational schools and community schools and increasing the supply of highly skilled workers in the 17 to 23 age group, from the present 30 percent to 40 percent by 2010 (MITI, 2008). The growth of the Malaysian manufacturing industries over the last ten years had pushed GMI to increase its student intake capacity and to enhance the training approach in order to fulfil the demand for technically-skilled and knowledge workers. This was in line with the government’s IMP3, which emphasized the improvement of the number and quality of skilled workers who could respond to the changing environment and enhance competitiveness, arise from progressive trade

liberalisation. Presently, the development of human capital with multiple competencies is in great demand (National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER), 2003) and personnel with only one technical competency; is no longer competitive and will not survive (Cheng Hwa, 2010). According to Cheng Hwa et al. (2009), utilizing traditional education is no longer adequate and appropriate to develop knowledge manpower and therefore, concerted efforts will have to be made to increase the supply of highly skilled and knowledge manpower through the expansion of education and training emphasizing on student-centered learning (SCL) approach.

Considering the above-mentioned factors and the requirement for students to be equipped with generic skills in order to stay competitive, employable and to face the challenges of the rapid changes in technology, the German-Malaysian Institute (GMI) identified PBL as the most appropriate instructional approach for the purpose. Therefore, GMI had changed the training approach for some courses from a teacher-centred to a student-centred approach to implementing PBL. Typically, technical and vocational subjects are delivered using the traditional four-step method training approach: describe, demonstrate, try-out by the trainee and evaluate with feedback. In technical and vocational training, students need to acquire technical skills through hands-on work that enables them to solve authentic problems encountered in industry. However, most students trained in the traditional approach lack some generic skill attributes such as problem-solving, critical thinking, communication, teamwork and leadership.