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New Polytechnic For Betong

April 6, 2011

KUCHING: A new polytechnic will be set up in Betong next year to meet the demand for skilled workers in the services sector.

Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin said the institution, to be named Politeknik Metro, would offer courses in accounting, hospitality, information technology and other areas related to the service industry.

“In developed countries, the services sector contributes 60% to the economy. As Malaysia heads towards 2020, we will need people skilled in the services sector and this is where the new polytechnic comes in,” he told reporters after launching Politeknik Kuching’s community programme at Kampung Temenggong in Telaga Air near here yesterday.

He said the polytechnic would cost RM20mil and be able to take in 1,500 students.

“We have made a site visit and plan to implement it next year under the 10th Malaysia Plan,” he said, adding that it would be the third polytechnic in Sarawak after Kuching and Mukah.

Khaled also said polytechnics in the country would introduce new courses in fields related to the National Key Economic Areas, such as green technology and oil and gas.

In addition, he said the length of study at polytechnics would be reduced from three to two-and-a-half years for excellent students, who would then be given the option of continuing their studies at one of the country’s four technical universities.

“We want to make polytechnics an alternative to academic education. Our country will not only need educated people but also highly-skilled workers.

“Hence the government is mainstreaming technical education and vocational training, of which polytechnics are the biggest component,” he said.

As such, he encouraged students to apply to polytechnics to obtain a technical or vocational diploma.

In his speech earlier, Khaled said Politeknik Kuching’s community programme involved students in projects to improve the village’s amenities, including painting the fence of the mosque and resurfacing a sepak takraw court.

He said he was giving a matching grant of RM20,000 to the polytechnic for the programme.

The polytechnic also donated school bags to primary school pupils and daily necessities to senior citizens and single mothers under the programme.

In addition, it launched a relief fund for Japan’s earthquake and tsunami victims.