KUALA LUMPUR: THE first 100 days of 2013 is a critical period and as such the Ministry of Education has implemented five initiatives under the first wave of the National Education Blueprint 2013-2025 and is on track to achieving its target of 25 initiatives by 2015.
The blueprint outlines 11 strategic shifts and operations to transform the country's education system in three waves, with the first wave (2013-2015) focusing on raising the teaching quality by up-skilling the pool of teachers, raising school leadership quality and improving student literacy in Bahasa Malaysia, English and Mathematics through intensive remedial programmes.
The second wave that will take place from 2016-2020 focuses on accelerating system improvement, while the final and third wave from 2021-2025 concentrates on moving towards excellence with increased operational flexibility.
The initiatives are carried out under the ministry's 1Agenda programme, which combines all the initiatives from the National Key Results Area (NKRA), the National Key Economic Areas (NKEA) and existing programmes and sees all divisions in the ministry working towards a common goal.
Datuk Dr Amin Senin, deputy director-general of education, policy and development, Ministry of Education said the 1Agenda programme was one of the five initiatives, and ensured all departments and sections communicated with each other and moved in tandem to achieve the other initiatives set.
"From the ministry to the district education departments (PPD), we want to make sure the delivery system is effective. For transformation to be effective, we must have effective delivery. Given that Malaysia's education delivery network is extensive, implementing policies across such a network is complex," he said.
Amin said strengthening and empowering state and district education offices so they could provide improved front line support to all schools was a vital part of the process.
As part of the first 100 days initiatives, the ministry introduced the School Improvement Partners Plus and School Improvement Specialist Coaches Plus to underperforming schools in Kedah and Sabah to guide teachers in Bahasa Malaysia, English and Mathematics.
"We chose a small state (Kedah) and large state (Sabah) to gauge what needed to be done to improve schools under their jurisdiction, before implementing these measures in all states next year."
For the third initiative, 70,000 English teachers were assessed by the international Cambridge Placement Test (CPT) and were divided into three categories based on their test results. Teachers who failed to meet the proficiency level set will receive extra coaching. A total of 5,000 English teachers were up-skilled within the first 100 days.
In a move to ensure parents become active partners in their children's learning, another initiative was setting up parent support groups at 10,000 schools nationwide and distributing 10,000 parent engagement tool kits to the schools to promote closer liaison between schools and parents.
"Learning happens beyond school walls and we want parents to be active partners in their children's learning.
The parent tool kits that we distributed in February contain guidelines on how they can become involved in schools as partners in education."
The e-guru video library has been made available online to teachers in all schools so that they may be able to emulate and be inspired by top teachers in delivering lessons in Science, Mathematics, Bahasa Malaysia and English.
By year-end, Amin said the ministry hopes to enhance teaching and learning in all 10,000 schools nationwide by offering students access to Internet and virtual learning platforms via 1BestariNet .
He said the initiatives under the blueprint would be further strengthened with the formation of the Education Performance and Delivery Unit (Padu).
"Padu will help solve problems on the ground and take corrective action to resolve any issues that may affect the performance of the blueprint, as well as provide financial resources for execution of these initiatives."
By SUZANNA PILLAY | email@example.com The New Straits Times Online General 10 April 2013