Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin today urged teachers to help the government to produce a workforce whose level of education is higher than Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM).
Currently, he said, 80 per cent of the local workforce were SPM holders.
"Malaysia is now heading towards becoming a developed country by 2020 through various programmes, including the Economic Transformation Programme which will generate about 3.3 million jobs in the country within 10 years.
"Currently, 80 per cent of our workforce only passed the SPM. Their capability is limited.
"So we want our future workforce to not just have the SPM qualification," he said at a meeting with Melaka teachers and Parent-Teacher Associations (PTAs) at the Dewan Seri Negeri here Monday.
Muhyiddin, who is on a day-long visit to Melaka, said the government had come up with various plans to develop the education sector, especially in vocational and technical training.
"We can now see how we can develop the vocational and technical fields as a career option.
"If they want to be a welder, technician or electrician, we can provide the training earlier, not after they have failed in the academic field," he added.
The government wanted the 3.3 million job opportunities to be filled up by Malaysians and not foreigners, he added.
Muhyiddin said the challenge for Malaysia to become a developed nation was huge, which required the cooperation of all quarters, especially teachers.
"Let's encourage our children to strive to achieve higher academic qualifications," he added.
Meanwhile, Muhyiddin visited the Pa'abas Dairy Farm in Kampung Solok Ulu Rantau near Alor Gajah.
The farm, which has 243 cows of the Jersey breed, is a joint-venture project between the Melaka government and Induk Cekal Sdn Bhd.
Muhyiddin was accompanied by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam and Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Noh Omar.
According to the state Rural Development and Agriculture Committee chairman, Datuk R. Perumal, the farm, which was opened in 2008, produces about 1,000 litres of milk daily.