Politeknik Ungku Omar (PUO) Ipoh was declared a premier polytechnic by Deputy Prime Minsiter, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, at the launching of the Polytechnic Transformational Programme in Putrajaya recently. This is the first step of several before PUO acquires university status, planned for in 2015.
Two other polytechnics were similarly recognised. They are Politeknik Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah and Politeknik Johor Bahru. Since its inception in April 1969, Politeknik Ungku Omar has grown by leaps and bounds. It has become a centre for vocational training and a source for providing technically trained employees for the job market, especially in Perak. The polytechnic started with only four disciplines namely, mechanical, civil and electrical engineering and commerce. Today five other disciplines have been added making a total of nine. Among them are petrochemical, IT, hospitality and aeronautical engineering. In the run-up to acquiring university status, PUO has to satisfy its Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) criteria imposed by the Ministry of Education.
Achieving these KPIs will determine whether PUO is ready for a more responsible role in society. “The burden now lies with the staff and students of PUO,” said PUO Director, Jayus Bunasir. “We’ve to change our work ethics and culture in anticipation of these changes. It’s a paradigm shift,” he remarked.