[NST] Gap year option: Varsity students to get a year off from study

KUALA LUMPUR, 13 JAN: The Higher Education Ministry will implement the Gap Year 2017 programme starting September to allow undergraduates to take a year off from studying to pursue their interests. 

Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh said the practice, which was common abroad, would affect eight universities. 

“These students can take a year off to gain industrial work experience or pursue their interest in arts. The universities can also make it as their programme. It can be a part of the National Service Training Programme,” he said after delivering a speech during the Amanat 2017 at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre. 

Idris said the ministry was looking into working with the police, army or the Immigration Department on the programme. 

He said among the universities that would take part in the programme were Universiti Utara Malaysia, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Universiti Teknologi Mara, Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia and Universiti Malaysia Sabah. 

University Malaya Student Representative Council president Hazwan Syafiq Haznain said the introduction of the programme was timely as students would have more time to gain industrial exposure. 

“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,” he said. 

Hazwan, 21, a third-year quantity surveying student said by doing this, students would also gain the ability to solve things during a critical situation. 

“I would like to know more about the standard operating procedure of the GAP Year 2017 programme.” 

He said with the Gap Year 2017 students could take part in things that might be of interest to them, such as student exchange, leadership programmes, or work to get extra income.

 “The industrial training session can be incorporated during this year gap,” he said. 

Universiti Putra Malaysia Student Representative Council Vice-President Shatesh Kumar Sangar, 22, said volunteerism would open opportunities for students to gain more real-world experience. 

“Through volunteerism, participants are exposed to the real world, which will increase their awareness towards the needs of the world.” 

He said the programme would give graduates a chance to acquire knowledge in various fields of study. 

“The experience, as well as the knowledge that they have gained throughout the programme will be useful when conducting and carrying out the final year project.”