THE Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013 — 2025 emphasises transparency and accountability in addressing the problems of our education system today.
From what I can see, the plans outlined in the blueprint are expected to bring about positive changes.
Nevertheless, I believe that the execution of the blueprint is going to be challenging.
As the blueprint is still work-in-progress, whatever input and feedback from the public can be expanded upon to make it a more comprehensive report.
> National Education Dialogue Independent Review Panel member Tan Sri Zarinah Anwar
The 11 strategies or shifts have hit the nail on the head.
Execution is key in ensuring that the targets in the blueprint are met. There must be continuity in the initiatives taken, even if there are leadership changes.
> Former Education deputy director-general Datuk Noor Rezan Bapoo Hashim
It seems that we are so preoccupied with the language tussle that Science is largely left out from the blueprint. Science is a subject that is going to take us to the future and we can’t emphasise enough the importance of learning Science and Maths in English.
It is not possible to wait for translation texts when we want to be on par with the rest of the world in the field of science and technology.
We are disappointed that the loud call to give students the option to learn Science and Maths in English went unheeded.
> Parent Action Group for Education Malaysia chairman Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim
Institutes of teacher training should establish certain basic standards when recruiting new teachers.
In the revamp of the education system, the teachers must be adequately trained to teach the new curriculum.
> International panel member from Singapore Prof Dr Lee Sing Kong
Contrary to general perception that teaching is unpopular because of a low salary, fresh graduate teachers actually receive good salaries.
A degree holder gets a basic income of RM2,300 and can earn up to RM2,500 with allowances. With the new time-based promotion, teachers can enjoy faster career advancement if they perform well.
For example, teachers who excel at the entry-level DG41 grade can be promoted to DG44 in just three to five years instead of the current eight.
> Joint Teachers Unions Committee chairman Jemale Paiman
The right approach to teaching English is by helping students identify their purpose for learning English.
Different students have different purposes for learning English. For young pupils, it may be too far ahead for them to comprehend that English is important in higher education.
Instead, they will be more interested if they are told that they can have fun in games by being proficient in English.
> Malaysian English Language Teaching Association president Dr Ganakumaran Subramaniam
A few months ago, Tamil education groups submitted a report on the underachievement of Tamil students in Remove Class.
I am glad that the Ministry has taken up our suggestion to phase out Remove Class.
Even though Tamil pupils might face problems when switching to the national schools’ Bahasa Malaysia language curriculum in Year Four, it is a move in a right direction to help them master the language. Hence, we need well-trained Bahasa Malaysia teachers in Tamil schools.
> Prof Dr N. S. Rajendran, coordinator Action Plan for the Future of Tamil Schools
I don’t think that reading abridged classics will help English Literature. The habit of reading needs to begin from somewhere. I suggest students have to start with easy books first before moving to the difficult ones.
> Student Shelbie Diana Jotem
I think it is an amazing idea to allow schools, District Education Offices (PPD) and State Education Departments to have more autonomy in determining the way they handle education issues.
After all, they know the situation on the ground and can formulate suitable solutions for problems faced by students in different schools.
If people think teachers are not up to task in carrying out the changes in the blueprint, consider how we strived to meet goals of previous blueprints, this is the same; only now, we’re eager for some of the changes.
It is a matter of dedication, commitment and sacrifice. These are things that come along with the teaching profession and hopefully we’ll pull it off.
> Anita Primus, head of English, Kulai District Education Office academic management unit
The 11 strategies or shifts in the blueprint is nothing new, all these are global education goals, many countries share the same aspirations and face the same problems.
For now, the blueprint is too general because it only reveals the big picture, we can only see changes when the initiatives to attain those strategies are underway.
For example, we can only see a positive move forward in English proficiency once the retraining of English teachers is complete.
The biggest problem that faces the blueprint is implementation because it has to be integrated and cohesive, like the Government Transformation Programme (GTP) and the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP). Every sector in society must play a part.
> Prof Teo Kok Seong, Universiti Sains Malaysia linguistics specialist and National Education Dialogue panelist
If the society only wants A’s and school administrators only want improved rankings, then policies won’t help, it’s a change of mentality that’s needed
If there was a change in mentality and quality of school administrators, maybe, I would decide to become a teacher.
If principals around the country are more accepting of new ideas and practices then young teachers would get the legitimacy they need to teach their kids.
Another suggestion is to include young teachers in the decision-making process. This will help in determining the school’s direction.
The age gap between young teachers and their students is smaller, so they tend to understand them better and can formulate a suitable environment for conducive learning.
> Yau Hui Min, Taylor’s College Sri Hartamas, A-levels student
A good educational background should not be the only criterion when hiring new teachers.
To be a teacher, you must have the passion for teaching. This must go together with academic qualifications.
> Lok Yim Pheng, secretary-general of the National Union of the Teaching Profession