is a significant difference of soft skills practices based on the department of studies. More detailed analysis on the difference in each domain of soft skills practices in terms of personal development, communication skills, management, leadership, writing skill and professional ethics in polytechnics from students’ perspective based on department of studies using MA- NOVA can be seen in Table 5 below.

Table 5 shows that there is a significant difference of soft skill implementation in terms of personal development, communication skills, leadership skills, and soft skills from students’ perspective based on department of studies with sig = 0.000 (p < 0.05). Meanwhile, there is no significant difference of soft skills implementation in terms of professional management skills and ethics with sig =

Table 4. Wlilks’ Lambda difference of soft skills practices based on department of studies.

Table 5. Manova difference in the soft skills practices in polytechnics from the perspective of students based on the department of studies.

0.000 (p > 0.05).

Post Hoc Tukey test was conducted to examine the differences in personal development, communication skills, leadership skills and writing skills based on the department of studies.

Table 6 shows that there is a significant difference of soft skills practices in terms of personality development from the perspective of students between the civil engineering department and the mechanical engineering department with mean difference value of mean = 0.13 and sig = 0.033 (p < 0.05). In terms of mean, civil engineering department has a perspective which is the higher evaluation product on personality development than the mechanical engineering department. There is no significant difference of soft skills practices in terms of personality development from the perspective of students in all department of studies (p > 0.05).

Table 6. Differences in personality development, communication skills, leadership skills and writing skills based on department of studies.

There was a significant difference in the soft skills practices in terms of communication skills from the students’ perspective between the civil engineering department and the electrical engineering department with mean difference value of mean = 0.14 and sig = 0.032 (p < 0.05). In terms of mean, the civil engineering department has a perspective that is the soft skill practices is higher on the aspect of communication skills than the electrical engineering department. There was a significant difference in the soft skills practices in terms of communication skills from the perspective of students between the civil engineering department and the mechanical engineering department with mean difference, value of mean = 0.26 and sig = 0.000 (p < 0.05). The civil engineering department has a higher mean score in the terms of communication skills compared to mechanical engineering department. There was no significant difference of soft skills practices in terms of communication skills from the students’ perspective of based on department of studies (p > 0.05).

There is a significant difference of soft skills implementation in terms of leadership skills from the perspective of students between the public department of studies and department of mechanical with mean difference of mean = 0.23 and sig = 0.000 (p < 0.05). In terms of mean the civil engineering department has a higher perspective interm of leadership skill as compared to the mechanical engineering department. There is no significant difference in the soft skills practices in terms of leadership skills from the students’ perspective based on department of studies (p > 0.05).

There is a significant difference of soft skills practices in terms of writing skills from the perspective of students from the civil engineering department and the electrical engineering department with mean difference value = 0.20 and sig = 0.005 (p < 0.05). In term of mean, the civil engineering department has a higher literacy skill than the electrical engineering department. There was also a significant difference of the soft skills implementation in terms of writing skills from the perspective of students from civil engineering department and mechanical engineering department with mean difference value of mean = 0.22 and sig = 0.001 (p < 0.05). In terms of mean, the civil engineering department has a higher perspective in literacy skills as compared to the mechanical engineering department. There was no significant difference in the soft skills practices in terms of writing skills from the perspective of students based on department of studies (p > 0.05).

3.4. The Differences of Soft Skills Based on the Locations

MANOVA analysis was carried out to identify the differences of soft skills based on the zone.

Manova analysis remain to be used to analyse the difference of soft skills impelementation in polytechnic from students’ perspective based on zone due to the large sample size involved (Pallant, 2007). The results of Manova analysis can be seen in Table 7.

Table 8 shows that there is a significant difference of soft skills practices in polytechnics from the students’ perspective based on zones. The differences on soft skills application in terms of personal development, communication skills, management, leadership, writing and professional ethics in polytechnics from students’ perspective based on zone is presented below:

Table 8 shows that there is a significant difference of the application of soft skills in terms of personality development, management skills, writing skills and

Table 7. Wlilks’ Lambda difference of soft skills application in polytechnic from students’ perspective based on the zone.

Table 8. Manova difference of soft skills practices based on zones.

professional ethics from the perspective of students based on sig = (p < 0.05). The soft skills practices in terms of communication skills and leadership skills shows there is no significant difference based on zones.

Post Hoc Tukey test is conducted to analyse the differences in personality development, management skills and professional ethics based on zones.

Table 9 shows that there is a significant difference on the application of soft

Table 9. Pos Hoc Tukeyresults on the differences in professional development, management skills and professional ethics based on zones.

skills in terms of personality development from the perspective of students between the south central zone and the east zone with mean difference of mean = 0.16 and sig = 0.041 (p < 0.05). In terms of mean, it shows that the southern zone has a higher perspective on product evaluation in term of personality development than the eastern zone. There was no significant difference in the soft skills practicess in term of personality development from the students’ perspective based on zones (p > 0.05).

There was a significant difference in the soft skills practicess in term of management skills from the perspective of students between the south central zone and the east zone with mean difference of mean = 0.19 and sig = 0.031 (p < 0.05). From a mean point the south zone has a perspective that is higher product evaluation in term of management skills as compared to the the eastern zone. There is no significant difference on the application of soft skills in terms of management skills from the perspective of students based on zones (p > 0.05).

There was a significant difference in the soft skills practices in term of professional ethics from the perspective of students from the south east zone and the north zone with mean differences of mean = −0.26 and sig = 0.000 (p < 0.05). In terms of mean, it shows that the north zone has a higher perspective in professional ethics than the north zone. There is no significant difference in implementation of the soft skills in terms of professional ethics from the perspective of students based on zones (p > 0.05).

4. Discussion

Assessment based on gender reveals that there is a significant difference in personality development and communication skills in which female students have better personalities and communication skills than male students. This is contrary to previous study by Maclean & Ordonez (2007) [12] which indicated in their study that male students can directly understand a concept without having to associate it with the real world. This shows the better ability of male students as compared to women. However, there is no significant difference in management skills, leadership skills, writing skills and professional ethics based on gender.

Based on department of studies, there is a significant difference of soft skills practices based on the student’s perspective on the aspects of personality development, communication skills, leadership skills and writing skills where students from civil engineering department have a better personality development, communication skills, leadership skills and better writing skills as compared to the students studying at electrical engineering department and mechanical engineering department. The current findings added to the exusting knowledge on soft skills carried out by Mohd Yusof et al. (2012) [13] where it was reported that there was no significant difference in marketability skills between the students from mechanical, electrical and civil engineering departments. Past empirical studies on genders revealed a mixture of perceptions among respondents where Freudenberg, Brimble & Cameron (2011) [14] reported that some elements are performed well by women compared to men. Another study by Ridzwan et al. (2017) [15] reported the differences between genders in terms of students’ engagement in social activities. A study carried out by Abdul Razaq et al. (2017) [16] on genders among multi-ethnic youths revealed that female youths had a difference perceptions toward soft skills practices.

Based on the studied zones, there was a significant difference of soft skills practices from the students’ perspective on the aspects of personal development, management skills and professional ethics in which students studying in the southern zone had better personality and management skills than the central, eastern and northern zones. This is parallel with the comparative study on soft skills carried out by Alfitri (2017) where there is a significant difference between zones in soft skills practices between Malaysia and Indonesia. The current study also revealed that students from the north zone have a better perception towards their professional ethics practices compared to students from other zones. This may be due to the social environmental factor where there are many industrial sectors operated surrounding the campus area. Ramlee Mustapha (2002) [4] in his study on TVET and soft skills demonstrated that there is a link between environment and soft skills implementation.

5. Implication and Suggestion

This study implies that a need to review the soft skills modules in polytechnic as results from the current study indicated that the levels of soft skills practices are still unsastifying. The most important part to improve the modules are communication skills, management skills, leadership skills and writing skills. The modules should be taken into account the factors of genders and the needs of students in soft skills. A flexible module and global based content should be integrated in the teaching and learning process.

Polytechnic lecturers should improve their skills on pedagogy to promote better soft skills practices among students by using various techniques and approaches. The use of ICT in teaching and learning is one of the main factors contributing to effective teaching and learning in soft skills. Blended learning should be practiced by lecturers as it combines both face-to-face techniques and online based learning. This might be able to improve soft skills practices and the capabilities in many areas among polytechnic students in Malaysia.

6. Limitation of the Study

The current study uses survey research design where there is a limitation to understand in details soft skills practices and how polytechnic curriculum affects the students’ abilities in soft skills. The scope of the study can be expanded to various elements of soft skills where the current study just surveyed their level of soft skills. It may be needed in the future research to explore influencing factors for soft skills development.

7. Conclusion

Overall, soft skills among polytechnic students require specific strategies to be improved. These include the improvement of current modules especially in terms of teaching and learning and how students involve in campus activities. As past studies recommended that the involvement of industrial partnership would improve positive environment to promote soft skills, polytechnic administration should have better partnership with various industries. Adialogue session with industry and relevant agencies need to be improved so that the industry requirement as a stakeholder can be met and indirectly enhanced the marketability value of the polytechnic students. Polytechnic lecturers are also should be encouraged to attend trainings and seminars for improving their skills and knowledge on soft skills implementation.

Cite this paper

Ismail, I., Ahmad, A.R. and Awang, M.M. (2017) A Study of Soft Skills among Polytechnic Students. Open Journal of Social Sciences, 5, 295-311. https://doi.org/10.4236/jss.2017.58025

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Appendix

Response Towards

Soft Skills Practices Among Polytechnic Students

Ladies and Gentleman,

This questionnaire consists of questions to obtain feedback and responses from students on teaching and learning of soft skills in polytechnic which includes of 2 parts;

Part A: Demography of Respondents

Part B: Soft Skills practices Among Polytechnic Students

1) Personality Development

2) Communication Skills

3) Management Skills

4) Leadership Skills

5) Writing Skills

6) Professional Ethics

All information given will only be used for this research purposes only. All information are CONFIDENTIAL and will not be divulged to third party. Your kind cooperation is highly appreciated.

Part A

Respondents’ Information

Please tick (√) in the suitable box below

1. Gender

□ Male

□ Female

2. Department of Studies

□ Mechanical Engineering

□ Electrical Engineering

□ Civil Engineering

3. Polytechnic Zones

□ Northern

□ Southern

□ Eastern

□ Central

Part B

Polytechnic Students’ Soft Skills

Please state the response based on the following scales:

1) Strongly Disagree

2) Tidak Setuju

3) Slightly Agree

4) Agree

5) Strongly Agree

1) Personality Development

2) Communication Skills

3) Management Skills

4) Leadership Skills

5) Writing Skills

6) Professional Ethics Skills

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