Why Is It Difficult For Public University Graduates To Get Jobs Compared To Private University Graduates?

Published by Afterschool.my on Aug 09, 2021, 02:35 pm

The statistical report of the 2017 Graduate Tracking Study released by the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) shows that the percentage of private university graduates getting jobs is higher than public university graduates. According to the statistics, the total unemployment of graduates from the public university is 26,776 (52%) and the total unemployment of graduates from the private university is 24,804 (48%). Even then, this number and percentage do not include other public universities such as polytechnics, community colleges, ILKA which would only spike up the unemployment percentage .

This proves that employers are often attracted to private university graduates compared to public university graduates. In this article, we will explore the underlying reasons why public university graduates often struggle to secure a job after graduation compared to private university graduates.

Courses of Study Offered Do Not Meet the Job Market

There are so many courses in various fields offered at public universities compared to private universities. The options alone can be overwhelming. Some of the courses offered are not following the current job market. This has led to many public university graduates not working in their respective fields of study and most of them even end up unemployed. 

public university graduates

Meanwhile, this scenario is different in private universities, the courses offered are in line with the needs of the current job market. Private universities will never offer courses that do not have job potential as it will directly impact their academic reputation among other private universities and their student enrolment rate.

Private University Students

This is because private universities need to uphold their prestige, especially since they run on the grounds of their achievements and alumni success to attract students to their institutions. Taking that into consideration, private universities are often working towards perfecting their curriculum by collaborating with other top global universities and offering a wide range of courses that meet industry demands. Meanwhile, public universities do not have to go through all the hassle of ensuring that their courses and quality of their programmes are beneficial to students since most students will apply through UPU.

Lack of Strategic Networking and Industrial Partnership

If we look at public universities, most of their learning is focused on theories and rote memorization as opposed to hands-on and practice. The course syllabus is also not consistent with the realities of the working world.  

We often hear public university graduates saying that the working world is different from what they had expected and what they had learned during their university years. The question is why do they find it different from what they had learned? Were all the knowledge learned inapplicable or do students struggle to apply it due to their incompetence? This is an issue faced mostly by public university graduates since public universities do not really provide students with first hand experience while studying.

Nevertheless, most private universities have good networking and partnership with plenty of industries. The collaboration is important to ensure that students are given the right opportunity to reach their full potential and most importantly, to ensure that the course syllabus coincides with the realities of the working world. Therefore, it is not surprising if private university graduates are preferred by employers since their learning outcomes are in accordance with industry requirements.

Monash University

Some public universities are aware of this issue as they have started introducing the 2U1i and 3U1i programmes. It is a programme of study that is the result of a collaboration between the university and industry. This study programme is offered through the application for admission of students to public universities through the official portal of UPU.

2U1i and 3U1i programmes

Limited Exposure to English Language Leading to Poor English Language Proficiency

At public universities, you will find that Bahasa Melayu (BM) is used most of the time as the language of instruction and communication. Even during examinations, there are a handful of lecturers who give students the flexibility to answer questions in BM although the subject itself is taught in English.

This is not the case for private universities. The enrolment in private universities is often dominated by the different ethnicities such as the Indians and Chinese as well as international students. Therefore, the medium of instruction has to be in English. English is used widely in learning activities, presentations and examinations. So, don't be surprised if private university graduates are securing great jobs with a lower CGPA. Employers are often attracted to confidence and fluency in English.

No doubt, BM is an important language and it is the first language for many, especially the majority group in Malaysia which is made up of the Malay ethnicity. In addition, 90% of students enrolled at public universities are commonly of the Malay ethnicity. This is the reason why BM is often used as a medium of instruction to ensure that students' learning pace is not slowed down due to language difficulties. Students enrolled in public universities come from different parts of Malaysia, where some of them have very low proficiency in English. Since English is not commonly used at public universities as a medium of instruction or communication, students will end up avoiding the use of this language on a whole. Their lack of confidence and fear of being made fun for grammatical errors will only get worse over time. While this may be acceptable during their university years, students will struggle in many other aspects after graduation.

If we are being realistic, English is a universal language. Whether you decide to work in Malaysia or abroad, you need to be able to use English language effectively. If you are going to be working for the private sector in Malaysia, hiring companies will often use English language to conduct interviews. Private companies want their employees to be fluent in English as it is a huge plus point to have. Hence, if you are not able to use the English language effectively to communicate, chances of securing a good job is low.

Do You Speak English

Needless to say, if you are going to enrol yourself in a university, plan your direction well. You need to take into consideration the job prospects. All parties have their own vital roles to play. For school teachers, it is essential to educate and provide exposure to students on career pathways instead of solely instructing them to study with no future direction planned.

Meanwhile, there are two major problems that public universities need to address. First of all, there is no need to take too many students for a course that lacks job potential but provide more seats for a course that has a lot of job opportunities. So, it is best to increase the number of current industry-based courses while maintaining courses related to culture, heritage and contemporaries so that the new generation do not forget their origins. Secondly, public universities need to increase partnership and networking with various industries so that graduates are ready to take on the real challenges in the working world and are able to contribute to the development and economic progress of the country.

If you are interested in applying to a private university but unsure of which private university is best suited for the course you want to pursue, you can browse through a list of top private universities in Malaysia here. Some of the best private institutions offering students with programmes from a spectrum of fields include MMU, Medic ED, ADMAL, TAR UC, INTEC, KYUEM, MSU, Imperium International College, Limkokwing and IUKL.

You can also schedule a personalized 20 minutes FREE counselling with our Afterschool Expert counsellors. Our counsellors will help you make the right choice according to your financial ability, interests and job prospects. Finally, we hope that this article will to some extent help you in making the right decision for your future. Whatever your decision is, do your best and we wish you good luck!

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