The Place of Soft Skills in the Development of Hard Sciences: The Malaysian Higher Education Scenario

By Hairuzila Idrus, Hazadiah Mohd Dahan and Normah Abdullah.

Published by The Humanities Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In today’s society and in the future soft skills are becoming more important. The importance
of soft skills has been acknowledged in most occupations and many organizations make selection and
performance evaluation decisions based in part on employees’ soft skills. As such, the requirement
for soft skills in all jobs is crucial as they measure the traits that are crucial to the marketability of
the graduates. For technically based occupations like engineering, soft skills are also very important
for the engineers to apply their technical knowledge at work effectively. The purpose of this paper
therefore, is to demonstrate the importance of soft skills to be embedded in the teaching and learning
process of hard sciences in Malaysian higher institutions. Information was gathered through a literature review. One of the
weak points identified among Malaysian graduates is that they lack the soft skills which are required
by the industry, which has lead to the problem of unemployability. This paper discusses the place of soft
skills in engineering in the context of higher institutions in
Malaysia. It also discusses the initiatives taken by the Malaysian Ministry of Higher Education,
Malaysian Council of Engineering Deans, Institution of Engineers Malaysia, and Malaysian universities,
particularly the engineering faculties, to produce engineering graduates with high proficiency both in
technical and non-technical (soft skills) areas, in realizing the importance of producing engineers who are
employable and marketable. The paper concludes with highlighting some of the challenges faced by
the higher institutions in implementing soft skills.

Keywords: Soft Skills, Hard Sciences, Engineering, Higher Institutions

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 9, Issue 10, pp.97-110. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.132MB).

Hairuzila Idrus

Lecturer, Department of Management and Humanities, Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS, Tronoh, Perak, Malaysia

Hairuzila Idrus is a senior lecturer at the Department of Management and Humanities, Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS, Malaysia. She has nearly 20 years of experience in the field of tertiary education as a lecturer. Her interests include TESL, educational psychology and engineering education.

Prof. Hazadiah Mohd Dahan

Professor, Faculty of Education, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia

Hazadiah Mohd Dahan (PhD) is a professor of English at the Faculty of Education, Universiti Teknologi MARA. She has published in spoken discourse, teacher education and adult education. She is also involved in research projects with the Ministry of Higher Education and is currently the Head of ACRULeT (Asian Centre for Research on University Learning and Teaching).

Assoc. Prof. Normah Abdullah

Dean, Faculty of Education, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia

Normah Abdullah is an Associate Professor with the Faculty of Education, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia. She is currently the Dean of the faculty.

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