Embracing Diversity by Bridging the School-to-Work Transition of Students with Disabilities in Malaysia
Despite having education and vocational training, the unemployment rate of persons with disabilities in Malaysia is persistently high. This phenomenon suggests that there is a school-to-work transitional gap among persons with disabilities, whereby many of them have failed to move into employment after leaving schools. Due to a lack of policy on school-to-work transition, it is unclear to what extent is transition planning currently being implemented for students with disabilities and how well these students are prepared for employment. This chapter approaches the school-to-work transitional issues from an educational and psychological framework. A mixed method research design was used to collect the data for this study. Qualitatively, semi-structured interviews were conducted to obtain the stakeholders’ views about the current educational system and vocational training in preparing students with disabilities for school-to-work transitions. A total of 82 participants made up of 23 school administrators, 21 special education teachers, and 38 students with disabilities were interviewed. Quantitatively, a questionnaire survey technique was employed to collect the data on profiles of employed and unemployed persons with disabilities. The sample was made up of 941 persons with disabilities. The findings suggest that school-to-work transition is not a smooth path for persons with disabilities. Based on the comparison of profiles between employed and unemployed persons with disabilities, job-related skills, and positive psychological traits were identified as critical skills that could make a difference in the employment outcome. Strategies were proposed to make school-to-work transition a more successful process for persons with disabilities in the country.
KeywordsVocational Training Transition Program School Administrator Transition Service Psychological Empowerment
This research project was funded by the Research University Grant, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Account No.: 1001/PGURU/816047. The contributions from Prof. See Ching Mey and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Tan Kok Eng and also the participants of this study are acknowledged.
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