11 areas of reform outlined

KUALA LUMPUR: The views of about 50,000 stakeholders contributed to the making of the Malaysia Education Blueprint, the closest the Government has ever had to a referendum on educational issues.

Over the course of a year, cites the blueprint, ministry officials, teachers, principals, parents, students, and members of the public across Malaysia were engaged via interviews, focus groups, surveys, National Dialogue townhalls and roundtable discussions.

“This is the first time in the country's history that an education development plan was prepared through public discussion, over 90% of feedback received was taken into account,” Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said in his speech at the launch of the preliminary report of the blueprint here on Tuesday.

The blueprint takes stock of the strengths and weaknesses of the education system and maps out strategies to achieve specific student outcomes.

Muhyiddin, who is also the Education Minister, said that despite the gains made in education, international assessments show that Malaysian students' achievements in reading, Mathematics and Science are still low compared to students in developed countries.

“For example, of 74 countries that participated in the Programme for International Student Assessment or Pisa 2009, Malaysian students were in the bottom third for reading, Mathematics and Science.

“We are not proud of this,” he said.

The target set is for Malaysia's performance to be at par with the international average by 2020 and to be in the top third segment in 15 years.

He added that the ministry would hold Open Days for the public to scrutinise details of the plan and offer further feedback.

The blueprint is also available online via the ministry's website at www.moe.gov.my.

“I believe that when this plan is brought to the Cabinet and finalised in December, it will be an education blueprint that is full of the rakyat's hopes and dreams,” he said.

In his speech, Muhyiddin outlined the blueprint's 11 areas of reform or “shifts” which will be implemented over the next 13 years in three phases or “waves”. They are:

> Increase access to education while improving quality to match international standards;

> Ensure that every child is proficient in both Bahasa Malaysia and English;

> Develop values-driven Malaysians and promote unity among the races;

> Transform teaching and ensure that only 30% of the top graduates are admitted into the profession;

> Ensure high-performing school leaders in every school;

> Empower district education offices, state education departments, and schools;

> Improve ICT in schools such as WiFi access;

> Transform the Education Ministry in order to deliver results;

> Involve parents, communities, and the private sector;

> Ensure student outcomes are proportional to the amount of government spending on education; and

> Increase transparency in the ministry's progress of the targets set in the blueprint.

The blueprint aims to produce students with six key attributes knowledge, thinking skills, leadership skills, bilingual proficiency, ethics and spirituality, and national identity.

Muhyiddin said the changes would be carried out in three stages: from 2013 to 2015; 2016 to 2020; and 2021 to 2025.

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