Integrating Soft Skills into Courses in Malaysian Public Universities
Malaysian employers demand a high proficiency in soft skills. They are looking beyond academic results when interviewing new staff, hence undergraduates acquiring soft skills is an important issue from different perspectives: the employers, the education system and the students themselves. Despite this emphasis, potential employees, according to employers; lack soft skills. Considering the importance of this issue, this paperâ€™s objective is to comprehend and highlight the perception of undergraduates of the soft skills programs in five research universities in Malaysia. The information presented in this paper is obtained from a survey conducted by distributing 600 questionnaires to undergraduates in Malaysiaâ€™s five research universities to determine their understanding of soft skills and how these skills are taught and evaluated in these universities. The initial findings show that there is a strong awareness of the importance of soft skills among undergraduates but the students are not clear about the methods of teaching and evaluating these skills in different courses in different universities. The results illustrate a need for universities in general to develop strategies to enhance soft skills teaching and learning and make undergraduates aware of how these skills are evaluated. The results also suggest that integrating soft skills into university courses does not follow a standard procedure and each university may value and emphasis a different skill. It appears therefore that if universities collaborate their knowledge and experience, they may be able to offer a more practical and beneficial soft skill-training program for undergraduates.
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