The Asia Pacific Accreditation and Certification Commission (APACC) through its President, Dr. Mohammad Naim Yaakub, conferred APACC’s first Gold-level accreditation to three premier polytechnics in Malaysia in a grand recognition rites held on May 22, 2014 in Malaysia. The government of Malaysia, through the Ministry of Education (MOE) and the Department of Polytechnic Education (DPE) hailed with due recognition and distinctions the first-ever internationally accredited institutions in the country namely Politeknik Ungku Omar, Ipoh (PUO); Politeknik Ibrahim Sultan (PIS), Pasir Gudang, Johor and Polytechnic Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah (PSA), Shah Alam.
In a proud moment for the TVET sector in Malaysia, the grand celebration of the APACC awarding ceremony, organized by the DPE, was attended by high level officials from the Malaysian government and neighboring countries like Singapore. Held at Dewan Seri Mutiara, Politeknik Seberang Perai, the event was witnessed by esteemed guests from the different polytechnic institutions in the country.
Led by the representatives from MOE and DPE the awardees were honored for exhibiting international level and quality TVET services that paved the way for achieving their first accreditation from APACC with flying colors. The Plaques of Certification of Accreditation in the Gold level category was received by their respective directors namely: Dato’ Hj Md Nor Bin Yusof for PUO, Datuk Dr. Arshad Bin Kassim for PIS and Hj Kamaruzaman Bin Ismail for PSA. The awards are valid for four years from March 11, 2014 to March 10, 2018. The polytechnics are the first institutions to achieve the highest ever standard given by the commission to its applicant institutions in its 10-year history. This recognition issued by APACC exemplifies the commitment of Malaysian TVET institutions to uphold the best international benchmarks and standards on their facilities and services.
In her congratulatory speech, the Deputy Minister of MOE, Y.B. Datuk Mary Yap expressed the satisfaction of the Malaysian government on the success of the institutions in gaining the highest approval of APACC. She also appreciated APACC’s effort in engaging higher learning institutions in the country to further aim for achieving their Key Success Indicators under the Polytechnic Transformation Plan 2020.
Hon. Datuk Mary Yap further elaborated the Malaysian government’s medium-term policy, which is aimed at “strengthening TVET and the education system in order to address the shortages of skilled workforce”. She believes that a path towards internationalization, as emphasized by the National Higher Education Strategic Plan of Malaysia, is a significant driver towards a strong social and economic prosperity built on the foundations of closer cooperation among institutions, high quality offerings of TVET courses and diversified communities of international TVET experts. She also recognized the importance of maintaining quality education through periodic assessments executed by international accrediting bodies such as APACC.
She foresees the increased benefits of synergy and collaboration between the TVET stakeholders in coming up with strategies, ideas and policies that will further develop the TVET workforce and improve the quality of TVET programs. These improvements, she believed, are necessary for the successful execution of the Malaysian Education Blueprint, which aims to attract international knowledge-seekers and workers to the country and eventually, establish a reputation of Malaysia as a knowledge and training hub recognized not only regionally but also globally. With the positive impact gained through APACC accreditation and the impending regional milestones of cooperation such as the proposed establishment of the ASEAN Quality Assurance Framework and the ASEAN Economic Community next year, she encouraged institutions nationwide to strengthen their Education Quality Assurance (EQA) practices focusing on areas that include EQA establishment and learner-centered practices, among others.
In response, the CPSC Director General, Dr. Mohammad Naim Yaakub recognized the major milestone that the three institutions, the ministry and the whole country, have achieved upon garnering the coveted APACC distinction. He briefly discussed APACC’s beginnings as an institutional accrediting body established through Seoul Agreement in 2004, which was signed by CPSC member countries. Through the years, APACC has undergone several transformations and improvements, keeping in mind its mission of guiding TVET institutions in the journey towards achieving internationally-recognized standards and systems through the production of mobile workforce that are equipped with regionally recognized qualifications and skills. He further urged the institutions to continue their journey towards quality management, indicating that “standards must not be lowered and must stand the test of time and should excel at national, regional and international levels.”
The roster of high level guests include Mr. Tan Chee King, First Secretary of the Singapore High Commission; Y.B. Datuk Hj Mohlis Bin Jaafar, Director General of DPE; Yang Berusaha Tn. Hj. Kamaruddin Bin Hamzah, Deputy Director General, DPE; Yang Berusaha En. Shabudin Bin Man, Deputy Director General, DPE; Noor Aidi Bt Nazri, APACC National Coordinator for Accreditation (NCA), among many other guests.
The three institutions were assessed according to the seven criteria set by APACC namely (1) Governance and Management, (2) Teaching and Learning, (3) Faculty and Staff, (4) Research and Development, (5) Extension, Consultancy and Linkages, (6) Resources and (7) Support for Students. These benchmarks are critically reviewed and improved annually to adapt to the constantly changing trends and requirements for an international TVET institute.