Wednesday February 20, 2013
Study incentive for civil servants
By SARBAN SINGH and YUEN MEIKENG
SEREMBAN: About 80% of the 1.4 million government servants are eligible for full-pay leave to pursue technical and vocational courses for specified periods.
They will be allowed paid leave of up to a year for a certificate programme and 18 months for a diploma course without losing their seniority, annual increment and promotion considerations.
However, these must be technical and vocational courses under the SkillsMalaysia INVITE (International Technical Educational & Vocational Training Programme) announced under the Economic Transformation Programme.
To be eligible for the courses, they must be below 50 years old and have scored at least 85% in their annual appraisal for three consecutive years, said Public Service Department (PSD) deputy director-general Datuk Farida Ali.
She said those allowed to pursue these programmes would have to serve the Government for a period to be stipulated in their contract.
These civil servants are from the “implementers group” (once known as the support group) who were previously only allowed to go on half pay or unpaid leave to pursue higher education.
The implementers group refers to civil servants who are part of service schemes whose qualifications are a diploma or below.
“These employees will be allowed to pursue courses at any of SkillsMalaysia institutes and will also continue to receive their fixed allowances,” she said.
However, she said their critical services incentive allowance would be withdrawn during the leave duration.
This is a one-time offer and once their application is approved, a deferment will only be allowed on medical grounds.
Cuepacs president Datuk Omar Osman commended the programme, saying it was timely as it would produce civil servants with technical and vocational knowledge.
“We hope all civil servants will continue to give their best at work so that they can apply for this programme,” he said.
National Union of the Teaching Profession secretary-general Lok Yim Pheng, however, said the Government should ease the criterion of having to score 85% in the annual appraisal to apply for the course.
“A score of 85% is a bit too high. Some civil servants who score 80% are talented and should be given the opportunity to improve themselves. This will generate interest and motivation among the workers,” she said.
Health Ministry administrative assistant (clerical/operations) Noor Azira Arifin said she now felt encouraged to take up a baking course.
“This move is beneficial for career advancement and also for our own personal development. With a diploma or certificate, one can then proceed to get a degree or Masters' degree,” said the 28-year-old mother of one.