Decentralize Education to Improve Standards ~ Dr. Jeffrey

Education is a life-long process and should not be used as a political tool, which is what the Umno/BN government is doing.

“The Prime Minister missed the whole point on improving education and forgot the most important stakeholder, cooperation of the federal government. The World Bank report emphasizes this fact when it stated that the centrally-controlled federal education system contributed to the poor performances of schoolchildren in Malaysia” said Datuk Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan, STAR Sabah Chief, responding to the posting by the PM in his facebook that Malaysia is capable of providing the best education system for all with the cooperation of parents, educators and students themselves as well as the recently released World Bank Report on education in Malaysia.

Earlier, it was reported that Malaysia had performed poorly in the Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) conducted by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) where Malaysia was ranked No. 52 out of the 65 countries polled, worse than many third world countries.

The PISA tests were based on Mathematics, Science and reading. If PISA had included History, Malaysia would have come out last in the rankings given the distorted history of Malaya, cover-up on the formation of Malaysia and the purported independence of Malaya and Malaysia and lop-sided biasness in its History curriculum.

The failure of the Malaysian education system and policies is evident everywhere. Everyone knows and speaks of the failings except the political leaders and their blind followers and extremists who fail to see through the primary and main objective of education from the young.  

Education is a life-long process and should not be used as a political tool, which is what the Umno/BN government is doing.

The failed system and policies require whole-scale and wholesome changes, even drastic if it is required. The holistic education system referred to by the PM must incorporate such changes and not just entail cooperation of the stakeholders without the participation and cooperation of the federal government.

Malaysia is a diverse nation made up of multi-ethnic groupings with different religions and cultural backgrounds.   In terms of educational pursuit, the local circumstances vary from State to State and from community to community.

As highlighted by the World Bank Report, the over-emphasis and centralized control of education causes bottlenecks and many a times unsuitability due to differences in local circumstances resulting in decline in education standards. What is good and suitable for Penang may not be necessarily so for Johor or the Borneo States and what is good for Pahang may not be necessarily so for Selangor or Kelantan? The mother tongues for the Peninsular are not necessarily the mother tongues for Sabah and Sarawak while Iban language in Sarawak and Kadazandusun or Bajau/Suluk language in Sabah may not be suitable to be implemented in the Peninsula.

Similarly, the education and manpower needs of the local community in Penang, an industrial hub, may be different from that in Kelantan or Terengganu which are agriculture and oil-producing States respectively.  It is further and more different in Sabah and Sarawak.

The centralization of control in Putrajaya has created problems for schools, teachers and students alike whether they are in Selangor, Johor or in Sabah. This is more so in the Borneo States and should be left to be administered by the respective States on their own rather than operate under remote control from Putrajaya. Federal funding could be channelled to the respective State governments.

Further de-centralization will give more leeway to the districts and schools. This overall             de-centralization beside a change in education policies will help improve education standards.

Education is the future of the nation and its citizens and should not be politicized or manipulated as a political tool. Neither should it be hijacked by any ethnic group for whatever reasons.

A change of education policies must create a new Nation Education Masterplan. The Masterplan should be formulated after listening to the views of all stakeholders with the prime objective of quality education for all Malaysians alike. Policies should not be made to cater to the calls of ethnic groups and learning another language does not make any Malaysian less patriotic.

De-centralizing the Education portfolio will enable the State governments, both in the Peninsular and in Sabah and Sarawak, to better manage, plan and execute the National Education Masterplan. 

Vernacular education was agreed upon by Malaya and Malaysia’s founding fathers. This being the case, vernacular education including religious schools and mission schools should be fully funded by the federal government. This is more so in Sabah where non-Chinese students make up more than one-third of the enrolment in Chinese schools including schools without any Chinese students.  

A child should not be faulted or punished because he or she does not attend national-type school.   Recognizing Chinese education qualifications should no longer be avoided. After all, Chinese education has proven results with many Chinese-educated Malaysians going on to be global and towering Malaysians including many inventions to their credit. A good example is the world renown and widely used pen-drive invented by a Chinese-educated Malaysian but denied higher education opportunity in Malaysia.

The time has come for the PM to walk the talk now that he has said that education is a matter close to his heart and that a holistic education system is needed.  

A truly holistic approach must necessarily encompass a new Masterplan with new policies and with administration to be de-centralized to the respective State governments and even to districts and the schools. There is no better time than now since it has been proven the failures of the past system and the falling standards which can be arrested and overturned by the new approach.

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The best education possible if all stakeholders cooperate, says Najib – Bernama

Malaysia is capable of providing the best education system for all with the cooperation of parents, educators and students themselves, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Describing the issue of education as closest to his heart, he also acknowledged that various efforts had to be taken to empower the national education system.

“We can only produce excellent human capital through a holistic education system. Therefore, I support any education development effort, such as that formulated in the National Education Blueprint.

“… it encompasses all aspects of human capital development inclusively as well as bridges the education gap between the urban and rural students,” he said in his latest post on Facebook today. – Bernama, December 23, 2013.

Malaysia Can Provide Best Education System With Cooperation Of All – Najib

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 23 (Bernama) — Malaysia is capable of providing the best education system for all with the cooperation of parents, educators and students themselves, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

Describing the issue of education as closest to his heart, he also acknowledged that various efforts had to be taken to empower the national education system.

“We can only produce excellent human capital through a holistic education system. Therefore, I support any education development effort, such as that formulated in the National Education Blueprint.

“… it encompasses all aspects of human capital development inclusively as well as bridges the education gap between the urban and rural students,” he said in his latest post on Facebook Monday. – BERNAMA

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Malaysian pupils performing poorly because of centralised system, says World Bank

BY TRINNA LEONG
DECEMBER 24, 2013

Image

The World Bank says Malaysia’s centralised spending on education means many schools are not accountable for their performance. – The Malaysian Insider pic, December 24, 2013.

Malaysia’s centralised education system that controls recruitment and spending plans has contributed to schoolchildren performing badly, says a World Bank report released this month.

The Wall Street Journal reported today that the Education Ministry dictated the expenditure, teaching staff recruitment, syllabus and textbooks while little information was available on each school’s performance.

“Around 65% of teacher hires are done by the national government rather than individual schools, compared with 5% in South Korea, where public schools have more autonomy,” the global business daily quoted the World Bank report as saying.

World Bank Southeast Asia director Ulrich Zachau said parents hardly provided feedback to school administrators and with all the factors combined, schools became less accountable.

Malaysia had performed poorly in the Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) conducted by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, coming in No. 52 out of the 65 countries polled.

The country’s 15-year-olds were tested on Mathematics, Science and reading.

Ranking in the bottom third, Malaysia lagged behind even 17th place Vietnam, a low-income country.

The Wall Street Journal reported that despite the World Bank saying that there were enough teachers in Malaysia, parents argued that the quality of teaching was debatable.

Parents have said that teachers were not committed in their job, citing examples of teachers who were more engrossed in their handphones than they were with students during classroom hours.

However, teachers said that it was unfair to label teachers uncommitted.

“Teachers today adopt different methods in teaching subjects to students,” the daily quoted Adele Phang, a teacher, as saying.

The parents’ concern also extended to the Government’s shifting polices of alternating between Malay and English as the medium of instruction in Mathematics and Science.

“The Government’s frequent education policy shifts, such as switching the (language) of instruction to Bahasa from English, just add confusion in an already muddled system,” the newspaper quoted Sarah-Jane Thomas, a single mother in Ipoh, saying.

In a grand ambition to improve its education system, the ministry has allocated huge sums of money to its Education Blueprint and is banking on it to raise the quality of education in Malaysia.

The blueprint aims to shift the mindset so Malaysians would start to view teaching as a professional career while handing more autonomy to state and district education offices.

It also hopes to promote parents and community involvement in the education system.

The Education Ministry has also been allotted RM54.6 billion in Budget 2014, highest for any sector.

Citing the “urgent need to transform Malaysia’s education system”, the World Bank report noted that the country’s education has failed to undergo the necessary reform that would meet the demands for high-skilled professionals.

“I think in any country an improvement in education is a long-term agenda, and that’s not going to happen overnight,” said Zachau.

But Malaysia is also facing a daunting issue of brain drain, recruitment firm Kelly Services reported that 20% of the country’s highly educated were leaving for richer economies.

This leaves the country with less mettle to compete against its neighbour Singapore, a high-income economy with plenty of skilled professionals. – December 24, 2013.

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About dusunbukit

You've got your truth, I've got my truth. We can't be both wrong. The real challenge is to discern the difference. Pardon me if I offend you, but I'm going to put my words bluntly. So, lets rumble..
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