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International Review of Education

, Volume 63, Issue 1, pp 103–122 | Cite as

The implementation of industrial training in tertiary education in Malaysia: Objectives, realisations and outputs in the case of foreign language students

  • Régis MachartEmail author
Original Paper

Abstract

The large range of jobs that Malaysian undergraduates of foreign languages are often employed in after completion of their studies (education, tourism, banking, business, management, etc.) is not necessarily related to their major field of study. This situation often makes it difficult for lecturers to develop a comprehensive professional training for their benefit. In the early 2010s, unemployment rates of Malaysian undergraduates were increasing, although the job market was quite flexible. In order to improve students’ employability, Malaysian universities decided to restructure their curricula. Industrial training, or Latihan Industri (LI), became a new mandatory requirement for all future undergraduates of the new programmes from 2011. LI aims to match students’ academic training with the needs of the private sector. However, most companies were not prepared to accept the first influx of trainees from all types of programmes (sciences, social sciences or the humanities) in 2014. Consequently, many students could not find an appropriate LI position in the field they were studying, and were placed in positions for which they were poorly prepared. At the end of their LI, students had to submit a logbook of their activities as well as provide a final report in which they were asked to evaluate their experiences. A content analysis of these reports from four foreign language students who did their LI in different sectors (finance, education, industry and retail) provides interesting insights into the different skills required by Malaysian employers, irrespective of their sector of activity. The analysis of the reports raises the question of the adequacy of the academic training of foreign language students for the Malaysian job market, and the transferability of their acquired language skills to their new work environment.

Keywords

higher education industrial training foreign language Malaysia 

Résumé

Formation industrielle supérieure en Malaisie : objectifs, réalisations et résultats chez les étudiants en langues étrangères – La vaste gamme de débouchés que trouvent la majorité des étudiants malaisiens en langues étrangères après leurs études (enseignement, tourisme, banque, commerce, gestion, etc.) n’est pas obligatoirement liée à leur discipline principale. Ce fait rend souvent difficile aux professeurs la conception d’une formation professionnelle intégrale dans leur intérêt. Au début des années 2010, les taux de chômage des diplômés malaisiens étaient en hausse, alors que le marché du travail était assez flexible. Afin d’améliorer l’employabilité des étudiants, les universités malaisiennes ont décidé de restructurer leurs programmes. La formation industrielle dite Latihan Industri (LI) a été dotée à partir de 2011 d’une nouvelle exigence impérative pour tous les futurs étudiants des nouveaux programmes : faire concorder la formation universitaire aux besoins du secteur privé. La plupart des sociétés n’était cependant pas préparée à accueillir en 2014 la première vague de débutants issus de tous les types de programmes (sciences, sciences sociales et sciences humaines). De nombreux étudiants sortants n’ont donc pu trouver un emploi correspond au domaine de leurs études, et ont été recrutés à des postes pour lesquels ils étaient peu préparés. À la fin de leur formation, les étudiants doivent soumettre un journal de leurs activités ainsi qu’un rapport final comportant une évaluation personnelle de leurs expériences. Une analyse de contenu des rapports de quatre étudiants en langues étrangères ayant accompli leur cursus dans divers secteurs (finance, enseignement, industrie et commerce de détail) livre des aperçus intéressants sur les diverses compétences exigées par les employeurs malaisiens, indépendamment du secteur d’activité. L’analyse de ces rapports soulève la question de l’adéquation de la formation universitaire en langues étrangères au marché du travail malaisien, et de la transférabilité de l’acquis linguistique de ces étudiants à leur nouvel environnement professionnel.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht and UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Modern Languages and CommunicationUniversiti Putra MalaysiaSerdangMalaysia

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