ICT grads: Some suggestions

  • Holistic view needed to tackle problem
  • Emphasize communication, especially English proficiency

ICT grads: Some suggestionsACCORDING to Woon Tai Hai, chairman of Pikom (the Association of the Computer and Multimedia Industry of Malaysia), whilst tertiary education including institutions of higher learning and their quality has been the center of focus and debate, it should be apparent that this aspect of the academic journey comprises only a fraction of a student’s entire academic lifespan.
"It's very unrealistic to expect that universities (be solely responsible) for inculcating such traits into students, wherein the foundation of such core competency should have been laid during the primary and secondary schooling span," he said.
"For too long our education system has been built on a formal assessment model where examinations and scoring are given top priorities in terms of recognition and streaming preference," he said, adding that this kind of assessments must be reviewed.
Woon said that to be holistic, the industry must look at the entire educational supply chain system from pre-school right up to the tertiary levels and even post-graduate studies.
"If the issue of the command of English can be addressed early, the battle is half won. The early introduction of ICT and computing at the primary school level will also help increase the interest and awareness in computing at an early age,” he said.
He added that since mathematics still forms the core of any computing program, such subjects must be encouraged and promoted at the early stages of the schooling system.
Woon also said the computing curriculum at the tertiary level must not focus too much on specific product training or orientation but rather on the enabling of skills and techniques, which are perhaps more crucial given that product obsolescence is so prevalent in the industry.
"Focusing on product specialization will address the immediate demand gap but will potentially create longer-term problems when the practitioners do not have the core skills to adapt when the products’ shelf life is over and re-skilling is again necessary,” he said.
Bobby Varanasi, CEO of Matryzel Consulting, said that there is a dire need for the industry to engage academia more rigorously, as the gap between the two is growing.
The government, he said, can show true leadership here by demanding that the industry work closely with academia for their own longer-term goals.
"The industry cannot blame the government or academia for churning out unemployable graduates but it will need to take responsibility for imparting such “employable” skills as they desire," Varanasi said.

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