Comprehensive and Equitable
Wednesday, 12 September 2012
The Malay Mail (Online)
Educationists generally described the much-anticipated national education blueprint as comprehensive and addressing a wide scope of areas.
While it received its fair share of detractors, the likes of Malaysian Association for Education president, Datuk Ibrahim Ahmad Bajunid, said the government had done a good job by setting the reform agenda.
“It is good that the government set this reform agenda, to re-chart and re-emphasise the direction of educational development,” Ibrahim, who is also the Inti University College deputy president, told The Malay Mail.
“In setting reforms, it is also good that the government involved not only Western experts but also the former education minister of South Korea (Dr Ahn Byongmun) and National Institute of Education Singapore director (Prof Lee Sing Kiong) in the education panel.
“So there was an Eastern influence in the drawing up of the plan.”
Ibrahim said the blueprint was also a preliminary one and more feedback in the form of memorandums should be gleaned and accepted from the people for the Education Ministry’s perusal.
“What has been given is the framework, now we have to go for details and we must ask for more ideas,” he said. Ibrahim said the 11 shifts were interesting and comprehensive but they should be focused and should also incorporate differentiation.
“All these ideas must be shared by 60,000 ministry officials and more than 400,000 teachers,” he said.
Ibrahim also emphasised the need for constructive feedback for the sake of the next generation and future of the country.
Dzameer Dzulkifli, the cofounder and managing director of the non-governmental organisation Teach for Malaysia, said the blueprint was ambitious and equitable in many areas.
“It also looks at various factors, including geographical locations, to increase teaching effectiveness,” he said. However, representatives of some organisations who spoke to The Malay Mail described it as “yet another blueprint for reform”, without straight-to-the-problem solutions.
Parent Action Group for Education (PAGE) Malaysia chairman Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim said there was a pre-occupation with language, national schools and either Malay or English, and the government seemed to have neglected policies with regards to Science.
“The lingua franca of central knowledge is English and we cannot ignore this fact. We must at least give our children the option of learning these two subjects (Mathematics and Science) in English,” she said.
Noor Azimah said parents who wanted their children to learn the two subjects in English would have to resort to international schools which charged exorbitant fees, “an option many parents cannot afford”.
“Not everybody can afford to spend RM30,000 a year for one child and most of us have three or four children,” she said.
“Also, international schools do not teach Malaysian history or geography, nor do they fly the Malaysian flag. Also our children will not learn to sing Negaraku everyday nor the Rukun Negara ... this is all important.”
Former National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) president P. Ramanathan said it was imperative that the blueprint was not “just another blueprint”.
“This has been done so many times,” he said. “You can have the best plan, but do you have the best people to implement it?”
He said there were previous education reports conducted by the Education Ministry but so far, none of the implementation had been audited.
“For example, what has been implemented? How much have we implemented? Are the initiatives working?” he said.
“We have not done any of this, so how can we come up with another review?”
Copyright 2012 Malay Mail Sdn. Bhd.
Source: The Malay Mail (Online)