THE Malaysia Education Blueprint for Higher Education (2015-2025), launched on April 7, seeks to prepare future students to meet global challenges through three Bs: Bakat (talent), Benchmarking (to global standards) and Balance.
As a student myself, I hope that the system will nurture students with high spiritual and moral values who are globally competitive. We now hardly produce students who can compete at the global level.
It is a quality required in the 21st century. Thus, we should monitor students’ performances against international benchmarks.
With the blueprint, I hope that we will not be satisfied with just producing mediocre students.
There are 10 areas of focus in the blueprint: holistic, entrepreneurial and balanced graduates; talent excellence; nation of lifelong learners; quality technical vocational education and training graduates; financial sustainability; empowered governance; innovation ecosystem; global prominence; globalised online learning; and transformed higher education delivery.
The blueprint is aligned with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s (Unesco) vision for the post-2015 development agenda.
It is an ambitious strategy for Malaysia, and it is a rigorous model for reform. Unesco director - general Irina Bokova said: “Its greatest strength lies in a values-driven approach.”
I agree that students must first have positive traits, leadership and higher- order thinking skills to produce “well-rounded and balanced individuals” who can make good use of their knowledge and intelligence for society.
As the prime minister stated, ethics, spiritual strength, and moral values should be stressed in our students.
Since Malaysia is a multi-ethnic and multi-religious country, moral and spiritual aspects should be emphasised to achieve its scientific and professional goals.
Moral education in Malaysia has been applied since two decades ago. The first moral education syllabus was implemented in 1983.
It consisted of 16 values: compassion, self-reliance, humility, respect, love, justice, freedom, courage, physical cleanliness and mental health, honesty, diligence, cooperation, moderation, gratitude, rationality and public spiritedness.
The syllabus has been revised and revisited since then for improvement. In educating diverse students, as is the situation in Malaysia, it is important to encourage them to discover the needs of their cultures and the challenges in a global community.
Globally, moral decay has become a big issue. We face corruption, scandals, cybercrimes and other crimes. It is, therefore, a great challenge for the government and university leaders to produce graduates who can face secular ideas and systems wisely. With the new education blueprint, we hope that we can produce spiritually and morally talented students.
In the long run, we can expect to have good future leaders for a better community.
Ahmad Faizuddin, doctoral candidate, Kulliyyah of Education, Educational Management and Leadership, International Islamic University Malaysia The NST Opinion Letters 10 April 2015