Critical thinking and employability of computer-related graduates: The Malaysian context
Zainal Shah, Norshima (2011) Critical thinking and employability of computer-related graduates: The Malaysian context. PhD thesis, Dublin City University.
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This quantitative study examines the relationship between critical thinking and employability in the Malaysian higher education context. This research seeks future ICT graduates’ perceptions of their perceived ability and importance to employment of critical thinking strategies in relation to employer needs. The setting of this research was 10 public universities located in Malaysia and the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) where the employers of ICT companies were located. The research methodology consisted of surveys aimed at both future graduates and employers of ICT related companies following a mixed model approach. Three surveys were developed for this study, firstly, to capture the concerns of soon-to-be graduates in the IT sector and secondly, employers in relation to the employability of graduates. Thirdly, the research examines the critical thinking capabilities of students in relation to their future employment.
Results indicate that student respondents rated their own critical thinking ability lower than what they perceived is needed in future work. Employers also express reservations about graduates’ readiness for employment. Findings suggest that the most basic employability skill apart from literacy and numeracy were communication skills, closely associated with soft skills. Additionally, findings stress the role of English language competency and a proactive, problem-solving approach as being welcome by employers. Both future graduates and employers stress the importance of non-job specific skills and this is supported overall by findings. This research suggests that faculties of higher level institutions should aim to design courses which include the skills that graduates need and employers expect. Employers need to communicate and collaborate with academia in relation to the competency levels of graduates to ensure undergraduates are provided with employability skills suited to Malaysia’s role in the 21st century global economy.
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