The Asia-Pacific Accreditation and Certification Commission (APACC) conducted its first onsite visit to Malaysia this 2017 at the Politeknik Sultan Abdul Halim Mu’adzan Shah (POLIMAS) in Jitra, State of Kedah, Malaysia. The accreditation exercise was conducted from October 3-5, 2017.

The institution embarked on its first APACC accreditation exercise as it aims to achieve the feats of other polytechnics in Malaysia who have successfully conducted their own onsite visit preparations and exercises since 2014.

The accreditors assigned to this accreditation exercise were Dr. Romulita Alto, CPSC Faculty Consultant as Team Leader and Dr. Paiboon Saiyawongs, the APACC Special Officer in the Kingdom of Thailand as Team Member. The accreditors were accompanied by Ms. Aba Bernadine Lim, CPSC Multimedia Artist as Documentation Officer and Ms. Nabil bt. Yaacob, Senior Assistant Director of the Malaysia Department of Polytechnic Education (DPE) and former professional intern of the Colombo Plan Staff College as Translator.

The APACC accreditors in action: Dr. Paiboon asking the students about their invention (left) and Dr. Alto inspecting the plasticware laboratory of the polytechnic (right)

The opening program was attended by the management committee, faculty members and staff of POLIMAS led by the Deputy Director/Acting Director, Mr. Bakri bin Baharom along with the APACC team. In attendance as well were Mr. Abdul Latif bin Halim, Deputy Director of POLIMAS and Pn. Noor Aidi binti Nadzri, National Coordinator for Accreditation in Malaysia and the Director of Curriculum Development Division of DPE. The officials warmly welcomed the visitors from APACC and expressed their commitment to further uphold a high quality TVET in Malaysia through the polytechnics. POLIMAS also prepared a venue showcasing the innovations of their own students and faculty members.

Faculty and Students from the Songkhla Vocational College showcasing their products in POLIMAS Faculty and students from the Songkhla Vocational College in Songkhla, Thailand were invited to showcase their institution’s products and services and to personally observe the APACC accreditation exercise. This is in anticipation of their own onsite visit exercise which is tentatively scheduled in November 2017.

The 3-day onsite visit activities aimed to validate and assess whether POLIMAS is competent to carry out specific tasks for assessing and enhancing academic and educational quality. The accreditors evaluated the institution’s self-study report by comparing actual documents and assessing the site through a brief tour of the classrooms, offices and training laboratories. They also interviewed some of the faculty members and heads of departments to further gather evidence on the quality of the institution’s facilities and services.

The assessment covered seven aspects of institutional operations namely: (1) Governance and Management, (2) Teaching and Learning (3) Human Resources, (4) Research and Development, (5) Image and Sustainability, (6) Other Resources and (7) Support to Students.

Dr. Alto inaugurating the "Honey Spa" at the polytechnic’s entrepreneurship square where students are able to offer services, sell products and practice their entrepreneurship skillsPOLIMAS is the 3rd polytechnic institute established by the Ministry of Education under technical and vocational education program. It first started its operations on March 14, 1987 and was formally inaugurated by the DYMM Tuanku Sultan Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah, then the Sultan of Kedah. Since then, the name of this polytechnic was changed from Politeknik Alor Setar to Polytechnic Sultan Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah, in honor of the Sultan.

The accreditors during the onsite visit interviews (left photo). Dr. Paiboon asking the students of POLIMAS (right photo).

POLIMAS faculty members presenting a coconut seedling to Dr. Paiboon for a planting ceremony as part of its green campus initiative (left photo). Dr. Alto examines a decorative display at one of the POLIMAS’ facilities (right photo)