English language academic literacies for employability of Malaysian undergraduate students

Wahiza Wahi

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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[Truncated abstract] Struggles with unemployment, attributed largely to flawed English language competence, experienced by graduates of Malaysian universities appear to have been exacerbated by globalisation. A robust body of research confirms local graduates' deficiencies in meeting the expectations of prospective employers, but has not explored the perspectives and experiences of the key stakeholders, namely the students, in dealing with the English language literacies prior to their recruitment. This study sought to better comprehend undergraduate students' perspectives and practices in dealing with the English language demands of their university program and the expectations of prospective employers. The aim of this study was twofold. First, it sought understandings of undergraduate students' English language literacies in relation to the demands of the tertiary education and, eventually, to marketing themselves competitively for prospective professions. This component investigated English language academic literacy practices and competencies of students on exit from the required university English language course. Patterns and dimensions of students' English language academic literacy practices and competencies, including their perspectives on the challenges they endured, were investigated together with educational and environmental factors influencing their existing level of English competencies. Second, students' English language literacy practices and competencies at this stage were compared with prospective employers' expectations, juxtaposing the students' English language practices and competencies with the prospective employers' benchmarks. A qualitative case study within the interpretivist paradigm drew on data primarily from focus group interviews with 21 undergraduates from the Engineering faculty in a Malaysian public university...
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Western Australia
  • Chapman, Anne, Supervisor
  • O'Neill, Marnie, Supervisor
Award date28 Mar 2012
Publication statusUnpublished - 2012


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