A SHOWCASE of education transformation as envisaged by the Malaysia Education Blueprint was held at a conference in Johor Baru last week.
The event, titled Pendidik Sebagai Pemangkin Transformasi Pendidikan, was jointly organised by the Education Ministry, state and district education offices, and Yayasan AMIR as an initiative by Khazanah Nasional.
This was the second conference involving the Ministry and the foundation following the success of the first which was held in July last year in Kuala Lumpur.
The recent event demonstrated yet again that the pioneering move in the direction of public-private partnerships to effect a transformation in the education sector can indeed be a reality.
Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who is also the Education Minister, has been quoted as saying: "The government is committed to unleashing the full potential of the private education sector by removing barriers to entry and growth.
"In return, we ask the private sector to take up the challenge, step forward and work with us on the journey to drive Malaysia towards high-income nation status."
Public-private partnerships are featured in the National Key Result Areas (under education) as part of the Government Transformation Programme.
The call for more public-private partnerships by Muhyiddin is timely given the success of the three-day seminar in Johor where all the 10 participating schools under the Pilot Cohort of Trust Schools Programme (TSP) confidently revealed their transformation in a show-and-tell.
TSP, which is part of the blueprint, is being carried out in Johor and Sarawak and the schools will complete their third year by the end of 2013. In the fourth year, they will enter the Sustaining Phase where efforts will be deployed to ensure that they remain as Trust Schools with minimal support.
This stage will also ensure the co-development of an ecosystem -- specifically the state and district education offices -- to prepare them to "receive" the schools in 2016, the fifth year of their transformation journey.
This is implemented by the State and District Transformation Programme so that Trust Schools will be self-sustaining as a model of transformed schools as outlined in the blueprint.
Apart from those in Johor and Sarawak, three schools in Kuala Lumpur have joined the ranks of Trust Schools as the Second Cohort to complete its first year by the end of 2013.
With the benefit of the experiences of the Pilot Cohort, the KL Trust Schools can begin their Sustaining Phase as early as the third year of implementation.
This means we will be able to accelerate the roll-out of more Trust Schools, with prudent spending.
The blueprint outlines plans to scale up the number of Trust Schools to 20 by 2015, 90 by 2020 and 500 (five per cent of public schools by 2025).
The Ministry intends that Trust Schools will be the test bed for innovations in teaching and learning practices that can be applied throughout the education system, including those who are disadvantaged communities such as the indigenous and minority groups, students with special needs, and rural as well as low-performing schools.
TSP aims to help schools develop a positive culture and structured process through holistic educational programmes that can be customised and incorporated into the school ecosystem.
Public-private partnerships are crucial for this to happen, and the private sector has an important role to play in the expansion of the Trust Schools Network.
Corporations, alumni groups and philanthropists that share the desire to bring about transformational change to the quality of education are encouraged to be sponsors.
In this way, they will move one of the national agenda goals forward by leveraging on education and learning to a higher level internationally.
Yayasan AMIR (tel: 1 700 81 4567) is happy to work with sponsors to identify possible Trust Schools for adoption.
Sponsors are welcome to visit Trust Schools to gain further insights into the benefits accrued to date and in the longer term.
The transformation of schools for the future of Malaysia makes the 56th anniversary of Merdeka more meaningful!
Dzulkifli Abdul Razak New Straits Times Learning Curve 01 September 2013