Foreword of book on Education
Education has always figured prominently as an integral part of the government’s developmental policy. Our former Prime Ministers have from the time of independence held on to the belief that basic education and higher education is the only way to create a united, disciplined and professionally skilled society that can achieve the goals of industrialisation. Indeed, it is our sound education policies that make Malaysia what it is today. At the time of independence, the government emphasized a common national language and changed the medium of instruction to Bahasa Malaysia in the 1970s in a move to foster unity and this policy has resulted in the peace and harmony so necessary to growth and development. We then emphasised science and mathematics in the 1960s and 1970s as the way to achieve industrialization. We returned to basics in the 1980s with KBSR and, during my tenure as Minister of Education, citizenship education was emphasized which was carried over as values education in the new integrated secondary curriculum, KBSM, because we believe that our industrial society must be an ethical and caring society. Thus, with each educational reform we have carefully sought to preserve the language and culture of each major race in Malaysia and I am heartened to note the inclusion of chapters on Islamic Religious Education and Chinese and Tamil education in this book.
When computers made inroads into our lives, Computers-in-Education was introduced in the 1990s as a tool for teaching-learning in schools and smart schools were introduced when the Multimedia Super Corridor was built. In the 1980s and 1990s higher education, both public and private began to be expanded to produce the pool of professionals so critical to a country on the road towards industrialization. When the Ministry of Education was restructured in the mid-1990s we set up a department specifically to deal with the expansion of private education. This was a time of rapid growth in higher education, both public and private, and reputable foreign universities began to set up branch campuses in Malaysia that together with our local universities will in the years to come spawn badly-needed high-tech workers for a knowledge economy.
Furthermore, it is with this emergence of a knowledge economy and globalisation that we realized the importance of English language competence for Malaysia’s continued progress and development. The present century saw a shift to a bilingual education system when mathematics and science began to be taught in English in 2003. In order to also develop a highly-skilled, middle-level workforce, we began putting heavy emphasis on vocational and technical education and community colleges were established along with a renewed emphasis on life-long learning supported by distance education programmes and the Open University. We did not neglect teachers who form the backbone of our education system and the government has passed various reforms to improve the career prospects, remuneration and conditions of service of teachers.
I was informed that this book is the result of the joint efforts of a team of educationists who are leaders in their own field. It was an ambitious undertaking to successfully cover a broad and diverse spectrum of 50 years of Malaysian education with a focused and in-depth coverage of critical topics that are of current concern to us all today. I would like to congratulate Professor Dato’ Dr Ibrahim Ahmad Bajunid and his team of writers for an excellent and insightful book and to Oxford Fajar, the publisher, for their initiative to commemorate the 50 yeas of Malaysia’s independence. As this book has captured in a nutshell the concerns of education in Malaysia today, no academician, educationist or policy-maker should fail to read it and no library should fail to acquire it.
STATUS OF PROJECT IN AUGUST 2007
BRIEF INITIAL ANALYSIS
Life Skills need Greater Emphasis. The life skills aspect of the programme did not
4. ISAF was first established by the UN Security Council on 20th December 2001 by Resolution 1386. ISAF is a UN-sanctioned multinational coalition force headed by NATO, with the United States as lead nation and main contributor. Malaysia was invited by Afghanistan to join ISAF in September 2010 as a non-NATO contingent chiefly because of our impeccable record in peacekeeping operations, our expertise in healthcare, and our common Islamic background. The MoU signed between the Government of Malaysia and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan agreed to the deployment of an MAF contingent to Afghanistan to participate in the reconstruction process of Afghanistan. Malaysia became the 47th contributor to ISAF and the 19th non-NATO contributing nation.
6. Since July 2010, Malaysia has sent a total of four missions to Afghanistan. Each mission comprise around 40 members and the tour of duty lasts approximately 6 months. The fourth and current mission has been deployed in April 2012. They comprise a 40-member team of troops from the Royal Corp of Medicine, the Dental Corp, members of the elite 10th Para Brigade as well as special operation forces operators and administrators.