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Micro-Credentials an Alternative Education Pathway for the Gig Economy

Dr Gerard Boey
Principal and Academic Dean
Methodist College Kuala Lumpur
Penang, Pykett Campus

The rise of the gig economy has significantly impacted the employment landscape, leading to numerous entry-level job opportunities that do not require higher education for SPM school leavers. In Malaysia, the gig economy has experienced substantial growth, with three million Malaysians working in this sector in 2023, representing over 17% of the country’s workforce, a 25% increase from 2021, according to Maybank Investment Bank Research. This trend may lead to a shortage of skilled and professional workers in the long term and impact Malaysia’s aspiration of becoming a high-income nation. 

In recent years, micro-credentials have emerged as an opportunity for SPM school leavers to remain resilient in the job market as the world experiences rapid changes that may require the workforce to continuously reskill and upskill to remain job relevant. Micro-credentials offer an alternative higher education pathway that is more flexible, modular, and affordable, which may lead to diploma and degree qualifications via credit accumulation and transfer. 

Unlike conventional degrees, micro-credentials do not follow a linear trajectory, they instead offer bite-size certifications, allowing SPM school leavers working in the gig economy to equip themselves with credentials that will enable them to gain employment in high-income professional jobs, thereby directly enhancing the competitiveness of a country. 

At MCKL, we offer micro-credential programmes designed for both SPM school leavers and adult learners. These courses equip learners with the knowledge and skills to thrive in a constantly evolving job market. With a flexible study plan, they can fit their studies into their hectic daily lives and continue their development. For school leavers, it provides a great opportunity to experience the daily life of a college student, where they can learn, study, socialize, and engage with different peers, thus preparing them for college in advance. 

In conclusion, micro-credentials signify a paradigm shift in how SPM school leavers and adult learners can flexibly pursue their tertiary education while capitalizing on the opportunities presented by the gig economy. Embracing micro-credentials will empower them with specialized knowledge and skills, thereby enhancing their prospects for professional employment and enabling them to confidently navigate the intricacies of the rapidly changing job market and seize new opportunities with confidence and resilience.