Starting from September 2017, undergraduates studying in certain local public universities can take the gap year option to explore their interests
The implementation of the Gap Year 2017 programme announcement came yesterday, 12 January from the Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh.
"These students can take a year off to gain industrial work experience or pursue their interest in arts," said Idris.
The revolutionary step for the traditional Malaysian higher education system would be implemented in eight universities across the country
Some of the participating universities are, Universiti Utara Malaysia, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Universiti Teknologi Mara, Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia and Universiti Malaysia Sabah.
Explaining that the practice is fairly common in foreign countries, Idris said that students can choose to look into activities that could enrich their learning process.
"The universities can also make it as their programme. It can be a part of the National Service Training Programme,” said Idris after delivering a speech during the Amanat 2017 at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre yesterday, 12 January, as reported by NST.
The ministry is also considering working with the army or the Malaysian Immigration Department on the gap year programme.
University Malaya Student Representative Council president Hazwan Syafiq Haznain commended the move, saying that students can benefit greatly from the gap year programme
The 21-year-old quantity surveying student told NST that students can use the gap year period to gain industrial experience.
"Students may use this as an opportunity to gain more work experience apart from just reading from books and learning things during lecture sessions. They will gain hands-on experience," explained Hazwan.
He said that the industrial experience would help them with problem-solving in critical situations and provide an insight into how the working world will be like.
"I would like to know more about the standard operating procedure of the Gap Year 2017 programme," said Hazwan, adding that students could also take part in things like student exchange and leadership programmes.
Meanwhile, Shatesh Kumar, the Student Representative Council Vice-President of Universiti Putra Malaysia, thinks that volunteering activities could also be incorporated into the gap year programme
He thinks that it would provide students with real-world experience.
“Through volunteerism, participants are exposed to the real world, which will increase their awareness towards the needs of the world," said Shatesh.
He opined that the experence gained through the volunteering programmes will be useful when they start working on their final year project.
What is gap year?
A common practice in western countries, a gap year is typically an experimental semester or year after high school or during undergraduate years as a sabbatical period.
Students usually use the year to travel, gain new experiences, take up new classes or pursue anything else that they are interested in.
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