Why has the Skills Development Fund Corp (PTPK) scrapped student travelling & laptop allowance?

Letter to Editor

TECHNICAL and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) has interestingly been touted a ‘game changer’.

Recently, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has emphasised Malaysia’s needs to improve its labour force’s TVET to produce skilled workers to attract more foreign investors.

TVET is also no longer the second choice for students. The stigma that TVET’s graduates are not marketable to employers is gradually changing.

That TVET programmes are being offered by all accredited centres (PB) registered with the Department of Skills Development (JPK) under the Human Resources Ministry proves that the courses offered are able to fulfil demands in the job market.

The Skills Development Fund Corporation (PTPK) is a development fund that provides loans to school leavers to pursue a programme, in particular students from the low-income (B40) group to undergo diploma and advance diploma (skills training).

As of September 2021, there are 1,233 accredited training centres registered with Department of Skills Development (JPK), of which 808 are government centres whereas 425 are privately managed.

Besides that, there are more than 400 TVET institutions under the Education Ministry while as many as 250 institutions are under the Rural and Regional Development Ministry.

Human Resources Minister V. Sivakumar visited the Skills Development Fund Corporation (PTPK) at the World Trade Centre in Kuala Lumpur on Aug 15, 2023. Briefing him is PTPK’s chief executive Mohd Fathullah Mustafa.

Shocking news

Surprisingly, the bad news now is that the PTPK has now scrapped student travelling and laptop allowance. Earlier, students were given RM2 000 for travelling allowance and another RM2,000 to purchase a laptop of their choice.

This is affecting the morale of students, parents and the training centres. What is even more demoralising is the utmost disappointment among financially-stricken parents who are “indefinitely stuck” after they were told their children will be given travelling and laptop allowance.

Most of these students come from poor background and are in need of travelling and laptop allowance. The Federation of JPK Accredited Centres Malaysia (FeMAC) is also shocked by the sudden decision by the JPK.

After all, TVET is identified as one of the 14 drivers of change in the 12th Malaysia Plan (RM12). TVET plays an important role in providing a skilled workforce that requires specific skills and is able to generate high income.

As the government intends to achieve the target of 35% highly skilled workforce by 2030, it makes valid sense for the government to accord greater support to TVET institutions in the quest to produce an efficient, skilled workforce that contributes to the development of the country by meeting the needs of the current job market.

We hope the Prime Minister will provide a respite to the situation given that the PTPK has scrapped the travelling and laptop allowance of needy students.

Ezekiel Michael                                                                                                                                          Kuala Lumpur

The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.

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