Reports have recently emerged of new policy developments in the higher education sector. They include statements by the Minister of Education, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, that the Malaysian Education Blueprint and National Higher Education Strategic Plan are to be incorporated under one master plan following the merger of the Education Ministry and the Higher Education Ministry; and his assurance that due attention will be given to the development of public university autonomy.
These reports also indicate that the National Higher Education Strategic Plan (PSPTN) will be rebranded as the Malaysian Education Development Plan (Higher Education) 2015-2025 and is expected to be launched at the end of the year.
Although various officially appointed bodies such as the National Education Advisory Council, the Higher Education Leadership Academy (AKEPT) and some Vice Chancellors of public universities and educationists from the private higher education sector may have been consulted on some of these developments relating to the new higher education plan which will set goals and targets for the next decade, other key stakeplayers and stakeholders have been left in the dark.
The constituencies of university academic staff and other associations and bodies representing the foremost professions in the country have apparently not been solicited for their inputs into this higher education revamping despite being key stakeholders as well as stakeplayers. Or if they have, they do not appear to have shared their views to their members or to the public.
It is necessary to remind our political and bureaucratic authorities that any meaningful policy change requires an open and transparent process of consultation so that the proposed policy can benefit from the larger body of expertise available.
A closed or limited consultative process – especially in the educational sector – can only be a recipe for failure and will lead to alarm that the authorities are being driven by narrow or concealed agendas that do not serve the national interest.
This is why it is important and necessary for the authorities – before the launch of the new higher education plan to make available to the public the draft plan and to provide adequate time for feedback from the many bodies, groups and individuals that are interested in, and concerned with, the future of higher education in the country.
There are two precedents for such a consultative process.
Firstly, in 2006, the Government made public the Wan Zahid Higher Education report to gather feedback and suggestions from all quarters on the future direction of tertiary education in the country. Secondly, the recent National Education Blueprint was “the result of a multitude of analyses, interviews, surveys and research conducted with the support of national and international education experts, officials, teachers, principals and parents all across Malaysia. In addition, through the National Dialogue … almost 12,000 members of the public and various stakeholder groups were consulted for their ideas and feedback.” (Foreword by Tan Sri Abd. Ghafar Mahmud, Director-General of Education, in Malaysian Education Blueprint, 2013-2015)
The National Higher Education Plan should not be finalized with a less rigorous, participatory or consultative process than these two recent educational reform exercises. To ensure that this request does not fall on deaf ears, we call on concerned bodies, groups and individuals from academia as well as from civil society to press the Minister and the relevant authorities engaged in preparation of the plan to share the draft plan with the public; as well as to assure the public that the policy planning process for this exercise will be inclusive, rigorous and exemplary.
Endorsement from NGOs / 联署团体
1.Angkatan Warga Aman Malaysia (WargaAman) 马来西亚和平力量组织
2.Federation of Malaysian Indian Organization (PRIMA) 马来西亚印裔组织联合会
3.JIHAD for JUSTICE 圣战于公正
4.Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH) 吉隆坡暨雪兰莪中华大会堂
5.LLG Cultural Development Centre (LLG) 林连玉基金
6.Malaysian Indians Progressive Association (MIPAS) 马来西亚印裔进步组织
7.Malaysian Youth Care Association (MYCA) 马来西亚青年关心组织
8.Merdeka Univerity Berhad 独立大学有限公司
9.National Indian Rights Ation Team (NIAT) 全国印裔权益行动组织
10.Negeri Sembilan Chinese Assembly Hall (NSCAH) 森美兰中华大会堂
11.Oriental Hearts and Mind Study Institute (OHMSI) 东方思想研究中心
12.Penang Chinese TownHall (PCTH)槟州华人大会堂
13.PeopleWelfare and Rights Organization (POWER)人民福利与权力协会
14.Persatuan Masyarakat Selangor dan Wilayah Persekutuan (PERMAS) 雪隆社区协会
15.Persatuan Rapat Malaysia (RAPAT) 马来西亚密切协会
16.Pusat Komunikasi Masyarakat (KOMAS) 社区传播中心
17.Tamil Foundation தமிழ் அறவாரியம் (TF)淡米尔基金会
18.Tamilar Action Force (TAF)Tamilar行动力量
19.The Federation of Alumni Associations of Taiwan University, Malaysia (FAATUM)马来西亚留台校友会联合总会
20.United Chinese School Alumni Associations of Malaysia (Xiao You Lian Zong or UCSAAM) 马来西亚华校校友会联合会总会(校友联总)
Endorsement from the academician/学术人员的联署:
1.Dr. Azmi Sharom
2.Dr. Diana Wong
3.Dr. K.J. John
4.Dr. Lee Hwok Aun
5.Dr. Lim Teck Ghee
6.Dr. Toh Kin Woon
7.Dr. Wong Chin Huat
8.Prof. Gurdial Singh Nijhar
9.Prof. Terence Gomez