KOTA BHARU: Student intake in polytechnics and community colleges have dropped by 12.8% this year, says a higher education ministry official.
The ministry’s student recruitment and development division director Azirin Abdul Aziz said about 100,000 students were generally accepted annually for both educational institutions, but this figure decreased slightly to 80,000 this year.
“Not all programmes offered have experienced a drop in the number of students. There is a decline in the engineering-related field, where we find that there is a lack of interest among school students in the field of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
“If this shortage continues, it’s possible that in five years, there will be a drop in job opportunities in this field because we are offering programmes based on the current demand of industries,” he told reporters at a town hall here today.
Although no specific study was carried out, Azirin said the decline in the number of students is believed to be related to the implementation of the movement control order (MCO) and students being more inclined towards working instead of continuing with their studies, due to the socioeconomic situation of their families.
He said although it is not a steep decline, the trend of students lacking interest in continuing their studies will have an impact on the country’s future.
“This is because the goal of wanting to become a developed country has to start with education, at least at the certificate or diploma level.
“(So) promotional measures will continue to be intensified at both the institutional level, involving target groups like schools, and at the national level,” Azirin said.
He added that the job marketability of polytechnic and community college graduates stood at over 90% and, as such, it would not be a problem for students to get a job after graduation.