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Press Statement of Gabungan Bertindak Malaysia (GBM) on Education Blueprint 2013-2025

Press Statement of Gabungan Bertindak  Malaysia (GBM)

on Education Blueprint 2013-2025

17 October, 2012

GBM is a non-political, multi-racial and multi-religious coalition of over twenty five civil society organisations . During the past year its partner organisations have  undertaken in-depth studies and reviews of the National Education System.  Please see list of reports on education submitted to the government (Annex 1).

GBM welcomes the Ministry of Education’s initiative in preparing the National Educational Blueprint  2013-2025. Whilst we are appreciative of the Ministry’s initiative, we would like to express our concern that the blueprint is being finalised without adequately

taking into consideration the findings and recommendations of civil society organisations.

Many of our recommendations touch on crucial aspects of the blueprint such as the national education philosophy, vocational education, and vernacular education, the teaching of languages,  the drop out issue and the teaching of history ( Annex 2). To ensure that our concerns and recommendations are fully reflected in the final blueprint we call on the Ministry of Education to convene a special meeting in which we can make our representation and provide recommendations aimed at ensuring the best possible education for our younger generation.

We look forward to receiving a positive response to our request.

In the meantime we are submitting the reports listed above to the Ministry for review. We call on the Ministry to make available our reports to the Malaysian and International Review Panels for their attention and before they submit their final feedback.

Finally, we urge the Ministry to extend the period of feedback for the Blueprint to 31 March 2013 so as provide the public with more time to study the draft.  It would be unwise, given the importance of the subject, to implement the Blueprint in haste.

List of Reports on Education Reform submitted by                                           [Annex 1]

Gabungan Bertindak Malaysia (GBM) to the National Education Advisory Council on 14/6/12 

  1. Chapters (Leaflet) of GBM
  2. GBM Plan of Action on Education
  3. Memorandum Perkembangan Dan Masa Depan Pendidikan Teknikal & Vokasional di Malaysia
  4. Memorandum Mengenai Pembaharuan Kelas Peralihan
  5. Dilema dan Cabaran Yang Dihadapi Oleh Sekolah-sekolah Menengah Conforming (SMJK) Malaysia
  6. Kempen Sejarah Malaysia Sebenar (KemSMS) Committee

6.1              History Text Books: Suggestions for Reform

6.2              Lampiran 1:Petisyen KemSMS

6.3              Lampiran 2: Menulis Kembali Sejarah Negarah

6.4              Lampiran 3:Penambahbaikan Sukatan Pelajaran dan

Buku Teks Sejarah Sekolah Menengah

6.5              Lampiran 4: Perbincangan Tentang Sukatan Pelajaran

Dan Buku Teks Sejarah Sekolah Menengan Kebangsaan

6.6              Lampiran 5: Ulasan Buku Teks Sejarah Malaysia Perspektif Sabah dan Sarawak

6.7              Lampiran 5: Kajian Sukatan Pelajaran Baru Bagi Mata Pelajaran Sejarah Di Sekolah Menengah Malaysia

6.8              Lampiran 6: Kjian Pendapat Buku Sejarah Sekolah Menengan Daripada Kumpulan Belia

  1. Proposal from Tamil Foundation Malaysia
  2. Pandangan dan Cadangan Mengenai Sistem Pendidikan Kebangsaan Oleh Pertubuhan IKRAM Malaysia
  3. Pendidikan Teknikal &  Vokasional Malaysia (additional paper)

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Annex 2:

GBM:  Summary of Recommendations For Consideration in National Education Blueprint

For Press Conference on 17/10/12, 11am, KLSCAH

  1. The mission of education in the country should aim at releasing and empowering capabilities, developing analytical abilities, instilling confidence in the individual’s mental and physical prowess, and providing the skills and knowledge as well as spiritual and ethical concerns that will enable the individual to become a self-motivating agent of change, serving the best interests of the individual and the community.
  2. Initiatives in planning and implementation must be based on the National Philosophy of Education (FPK), an integrated educational policy and core values-based curriculum; towards a progressive nation building which encompasses human, physical and religious aspects.
  3. Implement a balanced curriculum so as to achieve the aspirations of JERI (jasmani, emosi, rohani, intelek) as stated in the National Philosophy of Education. The student assessment system must be holistic and integrated;as assessment of learning, assessment for learning and assessment as learning.
  4. The curriculum of schools should be subjected to regular review to ensure that they are effective in raising the intellectual levels of their target groups as well as help in the production of learners that have the agile mindsets to respond creatively and rapidly to changing social and market needs.  At the core of the curriculum should be principles and practices that nurture the curiosity and initiative of the learners, and motivate them to constantly ask questions.
  5. Vernacular, religious and private schools must be involved in programs which promote national integration such as joint co-curricular activities with national schools.
  6. The curriculum of History, Geography and other subjects should provide adequate knowledge of all different parts and major civilizations of the world as well as the various ethnic groups in Malaysia.
  7. The implementation of history as a subject in lower forms and as a compulsory pass subject for SPM should be delayed until key reforms are made to the existing histo
    ry curriculum and text books.
  8. Learning of languages in addition to the National Language, English, Chinese and Tamil should be facilitated by the Ministry.Appreciation of multiculturalism and human diversity should be included in the curriculum, either on its own or as part of some humanities courses.  This would help learners to examine their attitudes toward other ethnic groups and learn about the dynamics of prejudice and racism and how to deal with them in the classroom.
  9. The focus of education should go beyond the achievement of the top learners to encompass the advancement or progress of weaker learners and the whole cohort group of learners as much as possible. Schools should be tasked to reduce the number of drop-outs or under-achievers and provided with adequate support in resources.
  10. Special support should also be given to disadvantaged children. While some middle- and upper-class parents can move to a better school area to ensure that their children attend the better schools, such choices are usually denied to lower income and rural-based parents.  This has inhibited upward social mobility for the poorer groups. Instead of addressing these inequalities at a later stage through ethnic based affirmative action measures, it would be more productive to empower all parents with the choice to select the school for their children as well as to channel more money and resources to schools where the disadvantaged children are enrolled.
  11. Primary and pre-school education should be allocated higher per capita funding, to enable every student to acquire basic skills. More state-run pre-school institutions should be set up to ensure universal access. Children of lower income parents or other disadvantaged groups including foreigners and stateless should enjoy free or subsidized pre-school education. Primary and pre-school education should enable a strong basic education in reading, writing and counting that will enable all children to further develop these skills at higher levels.
  12. Every school should enjoy adequate financial aid such that even those with very low enrolment in sparely populated areas are not marginalized. Reduction of drop-outs and under-achievers should be made a key performance indicator (KPI) in the evaluation of schools.
  13. All education streamsbe it vernacular, religious or private, should be recognized as complementary and should be entitled to financial and other support.
  14. The blueprint lacks a substantive gender perspective. A gender equality perspective should prevail in every aspect of the blueprint. It is unacceptable that most courses offered to women in the TVET courses are of traditional subjects such as beauty and hairdressing.
  15. Comprehensive educational streams ranging from primary schools to universities, such as Chinese Language high schools and colleges, English Primary and Secondary schools, Tamil Language Primary and Secondary schools, Iban Language Primary and Secondary schools, and KadazanDusunPrimary  Secondary schools should be allowed according to the demand of parents, provided that no changes should be made to the existing streams of school.
  16. Official recognition should be accorded to Chinese independent schools and their United Examination Certificate which is already recognized in many other countries.
  17. Technical and vocational education training institutions should be upgradedand their status enhanced.  Government TVET should be promoted and implmented in all languages to all communities so that parents and children have a wider choice of education.
  18. A transparent and objective systematic mechanism must be designed to estimate the demographic growth and parental preferences in school planning.
  19. A transparent and objective mechanism should be established to determine allocation of school development funds taking into account both merit and need and to minimize discrimination and unjustified discretion.
  20. A short and long-term plan should be made to train adequate teachers for schools of all education streams – especially those hitherto marginalized or disadvantaged – taking into account their projected growth. Where relevant, the main medium of instruction for teacher training should be in the mother tongue language of the target learners.
  21. Special attention should be given to developing second language teaching not just in English but also in Malay and Chinese and other important languages to ensure the best interests of the non-native speakers in the respective education streams.
  22. The language used to teach subjects – be it at primary, secondary or tertiary level – should be based on its effectiveness in education and the choice of learners/parents. The claim that primary school learners’ proficiency in Mathematics and Science can be improved by switching to the use of the English language to teach the two latter subjects is not an established fact. Rather the deterioration of standards in Mathematics and Science must be understood in the context of the overall decline in educational standards in Malaysia.
  23. Any switch of language must be preceded by thorough preparation in providing support, to ensure that the learners’ ability to learn is not adversely affected.  The remove class should not be abolished until reforms are made in non-native language teaching and help is given in reducing school drop outs. The government should carry out a comprehensive study on current remove classes and introduce reforms to improve their standards instead of abolishing it.
  24. Public examinations should not be run in a black-box manner. The examination authorities must publish technical reports to demonstrate transparency and accountability in public examination, notably high stake exams such as SPM, STPM, and Matriculation exams. The current secrecy underpinning national assessment systems is counter-productive to raising educational standards.
  25. Public education is over centralized with the constitutional power on education solely within the federal government. The responsibility for service delivery should be devolved to state and local governments.  Moreover, service delivery decisions and functions can be further delegated to the level of the school. This will enable a more responsive approach to local community educational conditions.
  26. Education should be made a Concurrent Subject in the Ninth Schedule of the Federal Constitution so that education becomes a field of responsibility of State Governments and the local authorities under them with the Federal Government playing only a coordinating, facilitating and supportive role.
  27. Local or state governments and schools should be empowered to determine their own priorities and to develop their own school reforms to improve teaching and learning. Issues of management capacity, funding, and system support must be reformed to realize the positive potential of decentralization. The decentralization measure would move decision-making closer to the people and give them greater say in schooling decisions as well as greater ability to hold service providers accountable.  Empirical research evidence has shown that increasing parental involvement and participation in school governance, giving teachers the right to select their own textbooks, and granti
    ng school directors the authority to recruit teachers all contribute positively to educational quality.
  28. Teachers are pillars of an education system and as such they must be trained to practice and habitualise the true concept of an educator, fully support the National Philosophy of Education and implements teaching professionalism.
  29. The recruitment and promotion of teachers and senior officials must be solely based on merit and qualification. Having any explicit or implicit quotas is irrational and self-defeating as the nation’s younger generation will then be denied the tutelage of the brightest minds.
  30. The government must take stern action to address the growing problem of racism and religious prejudice in schools. The root causes of the lack of national unity in schools needs to be established through independent and rigorous research and not simply attributed to the existence of vernacular schools teaching in the mother tongue language.
  31. Students’  character are greatly  influenced by their parents, the mass-media and culture of society and organizations. Their negative impacts must be minimized. As such components of non-formal education (parents, community, political leaders, mass media, government agencies) must work together, strengthening one another; and not otherwise. Programs which promote healthy and scientific culture must be maximized; programs which promote hedonistic and extreme culture must be minimized.