The Asia Pacific Accreditation and Certification Commission (APACC) performed institutional evaluation of the 10th Malaysian polytechnic under the purview of the Department of Polytechnic and Community College Education (DPCCE), Ministry of Education, Malaysia. Polytechnic Kuching Sarawak (PKS), located at Sarawak State of Malaysia in Borneo, was visited on February 26 – 28, 2020 by the APACC Team composed of Lead Accreditor Dr. Paiboon Saiyawongs, Member Accreditor Engr. Sanyog Bhattarai, and Documentation Officer Ms. Adrienne Abril. Dr. Saiyawongs from Thailand is a Consultant of the Office of Vocational Education Commission (OVEC) while Engr. Bhattarai and Ms. Abril are both working at the Colombo Plan Staff College (CPSC) based in the Philippines, as Faculty Specialist and APACC Officer, respectively.

APACC Team, DPCCE and PKS Officials with PKS Students

PKS is one of the oldest polytechnics in Malaysia being the fifth to be operational out of 36 polytechnics. Its Director, Pn. Jamaliah binti Ahmad, leads a total of 349 teaching staff and 124 non-teaching staff in achieving the goal of producing marketable graduates. The polytechnic offers 13 Diploma courses in Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Petrochemical Engineering, ICT, and Commerce.

The three-day event commenced with an opening ceremony attended by DPCCE representatives including the Malaysia National Coordinator for Accreditation (NCA) Pn. Noor Aidi binti Nadzri, Director of Curriculum Development Division and Pn. Noaryanti binti Mohd Nor, Senior Assistant Director of Quality Assurance Unit, Governance and Excellence Division, management and staff of PKS, as well as guests from other institutions and industry partner representatives.

(Seated in front row) Pn. Noaryanti binti Mohd Nor, DPCCE Senior Assistant Director of Quality Assurance Unit, Governance and Excellence Division; Pn. Noor Aidi binti Nadzri, Malaysia NCA and DPCCE Director of Curriculum Development Division; Ms. Adrienne Abril, APACC Officer; Engr. Sanyog Bhattarai, Member Accreditor; and Dr. Paiboon Saiyawongs, Lead Accreditor

The Director of DPCCE Governance and Excellence Division Mr. Mohd Nasir bin Abd Ghani, in his speech, stressed the importance of technical and vocational education and training (TVET) as an avenue towards increasing the supply of human capital and competency for Malaysia’s economic growth. He also mentioned that APACC accreditation provides positive impact to polytechnics as they have shown great improvement and provide more effective and efficient services to the students and other stakeholders after accreditation.

Brief introduction of PKS and welcoming remarks were delivered by the PKS Director Pn. Jamaliah binti Ahmad afterwards.

Pn. Jamaliah binti Ahmad, PKS Director; Mr. Mohd Nasir bin Abd Ghani, DPCCE Director of Governance and Excellence Division; Mr. Chow Tio Kiong, PKS Deputy Director (Academic); and Mr. Mohammad Khirudin bin Amdan, Deputy Director (Academic Support)

The Accreditors were likewise given the opportunity to deliver their Special Remarks. Engr. Bhattarai thanked the institution for the warm reception and wished the institution all the best during the on-site visit. Dr. Saiyawongs expressed his appreciation to PKS as well and acknowledged the efforts and cooperation of everyone concerned. He then solicited comments and suggestions regarding the on-site visit schedule.

Facilities tours occurred after the opening program on February 26 and in the morning of the second day, February 27. APACC Team visited the student exhibitions and projects, alumni office, laboratories, workshops, research projects, business incubators, lecture rooms, interactive classroom, park, library, guidance and counselling rooms, multimedia room, clinic, boy’s hostel, canteen, and student council office, among others.

Tour of Facilities

Prior to the on-site visit, PKS formed groups responsible for each criterion. The groups presented one-by- one supported by evidences during the on-site visit. After which, interviews with criteria members were conducted where the institution’s compliance with the seven (7) APACC criteria was assessed and validated through question and answer sessions and document inspections.

Interviews and Documents Review

The last part of the on-site visit was the exit meeting held on February 28 which became more significant with the presence of the DPCCE Director General Ts. Dr. Mohammad Naim Yaakub. He expressed his appreciation to the APACC Team as well as the PKS Team for the job well done. He narrated the challenges faced by PKS in terms of infrastructure prior to the on-site visit which were solved through cooperation of the institution and relevant government agencies. He ended his speech by assuring the continuous cooperation of DPCCE with CPSC and APACC.

Ts. Dr. Mohammad Naim Yaakub, DPCCE Director General (center) delivering his special remarks and motivational speech

Finally, the Lead Accreditor Dr. Saiyawongs, reported the qualitative findings including the commendations (noteworthy practices that are over and above the APACC requirements), affirmations (acknowledgments of adequacy of provisions to comply with APACC requirements), and recommendations (suggested measures to address gaps in order to comply with APACC requirements).