Archive for the ‘Malaysia Education Development Plan (PPPM)’ Category

Importance of academia-industry linkages

Friday, January 25th, 2019
‘By infusing industry-based skills into education, we ensure students gain the practical know-how to match theories, and graduate with a holistic view of the specialisations…’ – TAN LIN NAH, INTI International University & Colleges chief operating officer

THE Malaysian Education Blueprint 2015-2025 (Higher Education) has highlighted the need to take collaboration between universities and the industry to the next level by enabling the latter to lead curriculum design and delivery through partnership models which include apprenticeships, hands-on training, real-life simulations and specialised employer training programmes.

Most academicians and industry frontliners are on the same page when it comes to collaboration. The benefits are numerous via the enhancement of research and innovation through joint research projects, delivery of innovative commercial products, improvements in teaching, learning and enrichment of students’ knowledge and their employability, as well as providing new streams of funding to tertiary institutions.

Most universities here have formalised collaboration with the industry in the areas of curriculum development, teaching and learning, research and development, consultancy as well as securing suitable industrial placements for students as part and parcel of a tertiary institution’s core responsibilities.

Dr Ahmad Shuhaimi Abu Bakar, a senior lecturer at Universiti Malaya’s Faculty of Science’s Department of Physics, said engaging with industry players benefits students in terms of acquiring skills and knowledge. Researchers will also gain from technology transfer and commercialisation.

For students, a mismatch of skills required by the industry has always been the root of unemployment, hence the importance of academia-industry linkages for academic engagement via curriculum, lectures and internships.

“Researchers get to collaborate with industry players to take their research products to another level — commercialisation.

“It has always been a practice for researchers to do their research and publish in journals for recognition, locally and internationally.

“This mindset has to change. They should think of making their product visible in the market and reach the end user via commercialisation.

“It is a pity if researchers have good products, which can make a breakthrough in the market, but end up on display in their rooms only,” said Ahmad Shuhaimi, adding that the university needs the industry to play a role in realising the potential of a product.

Ahmad Shuhaimi said the Low Dimensional Materials Research Centre at UM has been engaging with OSRAM Opto Semiconductors to jointly work on a collaborative project in the field of light-emitting diode (LED) technology.

“UM has expertise in this field and we want to produce more graduates who can leverage on this industry.

“The long-funding grant from OSRAM supports our postgraduate students to work on the project. Researchers in the semiconductor industry require a lot of funding to maintain the cost of facilities and laboratories.”

Postgraduate students at the Department of Physics trained in experimental physics analyse crystal growth, chip fabrication and packaging, as well as gas exchange to enable the production of high brightness LED.

Symbiotic partnerships

“All these theories are not taught at the workplace. We have a mini-lab, simulating machineries in the factory, so by end of their studies, we are able to produce skilled manpower for the industry.”

OSRAM Opto Semiconductors research and innovation director Dr David Lacey said the company seeks to identify the leading universities in areas of science and technology relevant to its business, both for teaching (quality of graduates) and research (quality of research and development).

Ahmad Shuhaimi Abu Bakar (right) and his students working on LED technology at a laboratory in UM.

Lacey said the Low Dimensional Materials Research Centre is one of the country’s leading specialists in the growth of synthetic crystals for semiconductor applications.

“That’s a technology that is at the heart of modern LED that you see in cars, smartphones and street lamps.

“Expanding postgraduate scientists’ knowledge of semiconductor technology and who can join our R&D team and potentially access support for experimental work at UM labs is critical to our business success here.

“In the near future, many semiconductor companies will be expanding their R&D in this region as there will be increasing demand for deep scientific knowledge of materials, chemistry and physics to support this R&D,” he said, adding that OSRAM is also working with Universiti Sains Malaysia, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Universiti Malaysia Perlis and Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR).


Youth development has always been one of CIMB’s agenda, both internally and through its various development programmes with universities which set the stage for developing young talents across Asean.

Since 2010, CIMB had organised competitions such as CIMB Asean Stock Challenge, CIMB Trail and CIMB Data Science Challenge annually to reach out to youth and universities in a bid to increase graduate employability by equipping students with current and future-ready skills.

With the advent of the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR), it has become more compelling than ever to prepare the workforce with new skills and competencies to ensure workers remain relevant and able to thrive in the digital era.

It is even more crucial in today’s operating landscape where disruptions have become the norm.

CIMB Group chief people officer Datuk Hamidah Naziadin said: “We understand that collaboration between universities and industries is critical to accelerate students’ skills development, enhance their industry exposure as well promote participation and engagement via learning.

“Universities are the main talent pipeline for the industry, thus it is crucial for corporations to partner with academic institutions.

“This way, corporations can help shape the curriculum to enable graduates to fully understand the talents that they are looking for.”

The financial institution aspires to develop a robust pool of regional talent to support not only its future growth but also Asean’s.

Hamidah added: “With 4IR already upon us, we want to do our bit to contribute to Asean’s digital readiness by ensuring that its young population is equipped with the necessary skills to leverage on big data, digital innovations and disruptive technology.

“We strongly believe that through industry collaboration together with various initiatives including CIMB’s 3D Academy and human resource development tools, we will be in good stead to usher in the future and ensure that Asean’s future digital talents are ready to take the region forward.”

INTI International University & Colleges chief operating officer Tan Lin Nah said the institutions work closely with the industry to ensure students gain the knowledge and competencies required at the 21st century workplace.

With youth unemployment rates in the country at 10.8 per cent in 2017, which was three times higher than overall unemployment in Malaysia and among one of the highest in the region, she said there is an urgent need to ensure that graduates meet the needs of an increasingly global workplace.

“Collaborating with industries enables us to systematically include additional development and training for students.

“Last year, we signed collaborations with Direct English, Hilton, SAS Institute and a number of partners to offer training in areas such as data analytics, language proficiencies and five-star hospitality which complement the theoretical knowledge of students from various programmes.

“By infusing industry-based skills into education, we ensure students gain the practical know-how to match theories, and graduate with a holistic view of the specialisations and stand out among their peers when entering the workplace.”

Rapid technological advancements including automation, digitisation and the Internet of Things that form part of 4IR add to the complexities of employment.

“With 43 per cent of Malaysian employees believing their jobs are at risk due to digitisation, the university has tied up with global technology giants such as IBM, Google, Microsoft and Alibaba GET to ensure graduates have the skills to deal with digital transformation and remain relevant in spite of growing technological advancements.

“By integrating industry into students’ learning experiences from as early as the first year, we empower them with the competencies they need to thrive when they pursue their careers.”

Vinda SEA, one of the largest companies for hygiene products in Asia, has worked with students on multiple projects, including the development of its corporate video by mass communications students.

“Employer projects enable students to deep dive into business needs, meet senior leaders and develop practical solutions to business issues.

“By working on these projects, students develop critical skills including teamwork, creativity, communication and critical thinking.


Xiamen University Malaysia Assistant Professor Dr Wang Changsong said it encourages the formation of industry-academia partnership to foster close relationship with the industry and community.

Through this exercise, students gain more insight from top industry players in the market which strengthens their skills and knowledge before they enter the workplace.

Most universities require students to complete internship in the final year, undoubtedly a way for them to test the waters of the work environment.

However, he added, it should be a continuous process via academia-industry linkage throughout their three-year first degree studies to ensure students acquire the kinds and levels of skills they need to be employable.

“Students will be able to identify their professional qualities and skills that permit them to position themselves in the market.

“Collaboration with the industry will allow undergraduates to be exposed to real case studies and latest industry insight, attend lectures and get training assistance for educational purposes, as well as internship opportunities,” added Wang, who is also programme coordinator of the advertising programme.

Xiamen University recently formed a collaboration with Leo Burnett Malaysia, the award-winning creative agency under Publicis One Malaysia, to provide a greater learning opportunity with real insight and promote industry readiness among its students in the fields of advertising.

Wang said it is necessary to understand the marketing and advertising industry which is constantly changing with technological advancement.

“Hence, the effective approach to the advertising programme is to be aligned with industrial development.

“These partnerships are a mechanism to remain efficient and provide up-to-date teaching and learning experience.

“I organised the Yasmin Film Fest and Forum last year at the university and met a number of professionals who provided their industrial experience and thoughts on education.

“Education, research and real work are systematically connected all the time to produce quality students, qualified graduates and competence of advertising education in Malaysia.”

As industry partner, Leo Burnett Malaysia chief executive officer Tan Kien Eng said the collaboration aims to foster and promote a collaborative learning culture between professional practice and academics that is mutually beneficial to both parties.

“As we share our expertise by roping in students into our projects, we will also adapt to industry change and further evaluate students’ needs to meet the objectives,” he added.

As an established company, the creative agency believes in inculcating young talent with the true meaning and the purpose of marketing and communication by adopting a human approach.

“We believe what we do is always about people and purpose, thus we need to take into consideration the approach that serves true human needs.

“Hence the collaboration is important for both parties as we hope students are able to truly embrace the real meaning and purpose of marketing and communication.”

The company has been working with colleges and universities to provide academia assistance but this is the first time it is entering a strategic collaboration via a memorandum of understanding.

Meanwhile, MSU Management and Science University (MSU) global affairs and strategic communication senior vice-president Datuk Rosli Yusof said the MSU Industry Advisory Panel boasts more than 200 active industries which are consistently engaged with the university in ensuring the ecosystem is strengthened from time to time.

It is important, he added, to get industry feedback to further enrich the quality of graduates.

Rosli said the industry and workplace are dynamic with the existence of knowledge-sharing on research and collaborations as well as other related work.

“Students gain the experience of the workplace through industrial exposure or internship apart from talks by industry leaders on wide-ranging areas of interest such as economics, politics, arts, health, security and Internet of Things.”


The country needs talent to venture into 4IR with the latest technological breakthroughs in artificial intelligence, blockchain and other transformative innovations.

Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia (UTHM) vice-chancellor Professor Dr Wahid Razzal said the university’s recent collaboration with an industry partner focused on employees from the industry and the university working together in the same workplace.

This collaboration model nurtures closer understanding from team-building to working towards the same goals.

Under its Faculty of Electrical and Electronics and Faculty of Computer Science, the strategic partnership sees an exchange of ideas and development of quality and practical solutions applicable to smart cities across faculties and disciplines.

MSU held the eighth edition of its Idea Regeneration Expo recently as part of a university-industry partnership to encourage innovation among students.

With the establishment of the Professor of Sena-UTHM Smart City Chair research centre, staff from Sena Traffic Systems (STS) and UTHM work together, “hand in hand and side by side”.

Prior to the signing the letter of intent on Sept 5, 2018, the faculty members have been working closely with STS staff on projects related to the development of smart city applications.

As it has already developed a healthy collaborative partnership, UTHM invited STS to set up a research centre on campus to further facilitate development.

“The partnership will bring impact all the way to the international level, spurring practical R&D activities where the industry partner and university staff interact daily.”

Both parties have had discussions on expanding the benefits of this collaboration to surrounding communities, from promoting Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) learning activities through engagements of schools with STS engineers to UTM researchers concentrating on science and mathematics instrumental to developing smart traffic lights which STS has expertise in.

Founded in 2007, STS develops smart traffic systems and other smart city applications which involve integrating telecommunication technology with sensors and computer software that analyse real-time information. In short, developing a traffic system with AI capability.

STS managing director Datuk Tan Boon Hock said the company is keen to be part of the government’s effort in developing a workforce with relevant engineering and technology know-how in this field.

STS firmly believes that it can contribute and help the government in grooming more talent and experts with technical expertise in the nation as well as building human capital relevant in the Malaysia context for Malaysians.

“The industry-academia collaborations mean that we want to create local talents in this emerging fields and fulfil our duties as a responsible Malaysian company.

“We need talents in various fields to come together to develop smart city applications together. We believe this is our duty as a responsible corporate citizen to create these opportunities for Malaysians.

“We have to start with our universities as undergraduates will have the opportunity to work on real problems rather than some hypothetical case using foreign education materials.

“At the same time, this will help students to discover their talent rather than being dictated by examination scores.”

STS has also collaborated with Multimedia University, UM and UTAR in R&D for smart city applications development.

Such applications cover a very large field, from smart traffic systems for the purpose of enabling better vehicle flow with smart traffic systems and managing urban energy consumption with smart street light monitoring to providing surveillance for security purposes.

“Technology continues to change rapidly. We need people to be on the ball to continue to innovate and create new applications to meet the demand for better quality of living.

“Our company can provide Malaysian students, academicians and professors the opportunity to explore and experiment with new ideas and innovations.

“We are also looking at reducing dependency on importing such technologies that we can develop at home, hence reducing currency outflow.

“There are also other benefits. As we have local talents who are at the top of their game and in the event of troubleshooting, response will be prompt and the issue quickly rectified, rather than waiting for a technical consultant from overseas.

“We want to produce world class smart city solutions, made in Malaysia, by Malaysians.”


Building talent requires a proper channel, and what better way than via academia-industry linkages said Ahmad Shuhaimi.

“It also helps the academician to be updated on advancing technologies via technology transfer and knowledge-sharing.

“Proper funding and grants through the right combination of industrial partnership will help bridge the skills gap and produce the 21st century workforce anywhere around the globe,” he added.

Rosli hopes for a continuous enrichment of content for the benefit of all stakeholders and continuous engagements that will benefit both the university and the industry.

The creation of a truly effective and quality partnership will thrive within an ecosystem of mutual understanding and respect.

“All we need is a review of performances, practical content, approaches and challenges that can be shared with industry partners so that further planning can be mapped out for a better future and industry-ready graduates,” he added.

This symbiotic partnership will continue to develop as each is dependent on the other. “We are aware of many opportunities and advantages from various joint collaborative work over the years.

“The challenge is the manner we maximise this partnership as we move on from level to another.”

By Zulita Mustafa.

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Education blueprints to stay

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2018

PUTRAJAYA: The new government will continue to implement the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025 and the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2015-2025 (Higher Education).

However, Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik said there will be periodic mid-term reviews on all activities and programmes in the blueprints.

“These evaluations are part of efforts to strengthen the implementation of both blueprints and ensure they are understood by all stakeholders,” he said after clocking in for the first time at the Education Ministry.

After clocking in, he immediately proceeded to meet the heads of all the ministry’s departments and sections

He also said the ministry is going to focus on getting those at school and university levels to understand what has been planned in the blueprints.

“Everything that has been planned can only go well if they (stakeholders) are involved,” said Dr Maszlee.

He added that he will hold meetings with the stakeholders to ensure their reactions and aspirations are in line with the ministry’s efforts.

He also said the Pakatan Harapan government is committed to making national schools the “best choice for the rakyat”.

He said his team would also work towards ensuring teachers have a successful career.

“The Government wants to conduct a detailed evaluation of various issues affecting the (teaching) profession including teachers’ workload,” he added.

Dr Maszlee is the 19th Education Minister and will helm the newly merged Education Ministry and Higher Education Ministry.

The ministries were split in 2015 when former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak carried out a Cabinet reshuffle.

“My team and I will do our best to manage this change (merging the ministries) and I trust that the team understands their needs and abilities in understanding their respective roles,” he said.

“To me, this merging (of ministries) can strengthen the development of Malaysia’s education sector because we need to look at the long term when addressing education issues,” he added.

Dr Maszlee also thanked his predecessor Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid for his efforts to raise the standard of the education system based on the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025.

Mahdzir could not be present at the event as his mother is seriously ill.

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A tale of two visions

Saturday, May 19th, 2018
Malaysia is the only country in the world that has two visions to guide it towards the future. FILE PIC

AS Datuk Seri Najib Razak moved out of Putrajaya and Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad moved in following a peaceful change of government after the country’s 14th General Election on May 9, Malaysians are left with two visions of the kind of future they want.

One is Vision 2020 launched by Dr Mahathir in 1991 and the other is TN50 (National Transformation 2050) by Najib last year.

Vision 2020 strives to place a prosperous, equitable and just society in a Malaysia that is fully recognised as a developed nation.

For this to happen, the vision addresses nine challenges for the people and country to achieve. They include a united nation; a liberated, secure and developed Malaysian society; a democratic, moral and ethical society; a tolerant society; a scientific and progressive society; a caring society; an economically just society and a prosperous society.

TN50 addresses the needs and aspirations of youth in a nation that is reaching out economically to be among the top 20 nations in the world. The vision is supposed to follow through from 2020 to 2050, hence 30 years.

Seven focus areas have been identified: a dynamic economy and workforce; a fair and cohesive society; responsible stewardship; education of the future; a solid foundation for healthcare and wellbeing; a vibrant nation; and an accountable and effective government

The two long-term agendas for change in the country may look similar, and share several common goals and strategies.

From the perspective of developing alternative scenarios for the country’s future, both evince interesting departures from the norms observed in the literature on future studies and scenario planning, especially in the areas of needs and aspirations, and determinants of desirability and preferability.

Vision 2020 adopts a top-down approach, while TN50 has chosen to do it via the townhall format, moving from one selected audience to another

Although the latter approach has an advantage over the former, both visions have much in common.

The preferred scenario is a nation that is economically resilient and people who are prosperous and united.

With the two scenarios, Malaysia is the only country in the world that has two visions to guide it towards the future.

But TN50 will not come to fruition just yet for these reasons:

FIRST, the two personalities named have had debates over the issue of which of the two visions would see the light of day. Both laid claims that theirs would be the surviving “vision”; and,

SECOND, the results of GE14 have seen the architect of Vision 2020, Dr Mahathir, being appointed by his party, Pakatan Harapan, as its prime minister to lead the new government. This would mean that Dr Mahathir will see the fruits of his labour materialise when Vision 2020 delivers the perfect vision for the nation.

By Dr Azhari-Karim.

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Malaysia Has Among Strongest Vision In Education Planning In Asia Pacific – Microsoft

Thursday, November 17th, 2016

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 17 (Bernama) — Malaysia has among the strongest vision in education planning in Asia Pacific region, said Microsoft Education director for Asia Pacific, Don Carlson.

He said the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025 was quite extensive if compared to blueprints of the other countries in the region.

“I look at a lot of (education) blueprints in the region and find that the blueprint that the government produced here (Malaysia) is quite extensive.

“It is a very strong vision of blueprint of where to go and where they see themselves, which is great because it is all started from there,” he told Bernama in an interview.

The blueprint manifest via inputs among others, from education experts at UNESCO, World Bank and local universities suggests 11 strategic and operational shifts including to provide internet access and virtual learning environments for all 10,000 schools in 2013 and access to 4G network to all students in the near future.

Carlson said among the interesting part in the blueprint was the plan to connect all school with 4G connectivity, the very aspect that a lot of countries were striving for.

“I think given the vision, its enable us to work with them very closely to help envision and enable that,” he said.

He stressed the most exciting part for Microsoft was the fact that the connectivity would subsequently enable data analytic, the next ‘big thing’ in digital learning to be put in place which would allow a thorough assessment of students, teachers and schools.

“Its happening now (implemented in other countries), how we are enabling technology to help the students and teachers learn more effectively, understand the students, understand how we can make them succeed more in education (via analytic data).

“4G network, as far as I know is already a working progress( here), if you enable that, you will enable infrastructure like this (data analytic) to be put in place,” he said.

Carlson said the company was working with the Malaysian Education Ministry on several aspects of the education blueprint.

These include the training of teachers, developing teaching contents and materials and transforming schools into Microsoft Showcase School, whereby it would provide learning with Microsoft’s products.

“In Malaysia, we have six showcase schools that maybe not necessarily have the best technologies, but they have the strongest leaders who can adapt to changes quite strongly. We are working with the ministry on how we can expand the school, probably in the next couple of years.”


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No child left behind

Sunday, September 11th, 2016

THE Ninth Shift of the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025 is about fostering the partnership between the school and parents, the community, as well as the private sector, to uplift overall education standards.

In this regard, Sekolah Bimbingan Jalinan Kasih (SBJK) at Kuala Lumpur’s Chow Kit area shines as a beacon of public-private partnership.

The three-year-old school is a fully Government-funded school for stateless or homeless children (including orphans) aged from four to 19-years-old.

“We have 143 students, and 16 teachers,” said principal Zulkernai Fauzi during a media tour of the school on Thursday.

A child can be admitted to SBJK if he or she can demonstrate that at least one guardian, or parent, is Malaysian.

The school follows an Education Ministry approved curriculum, and has recently been visited by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who pledged RM30mil to redevelop the school that makes use of the building formerly used by the Kuala Lumpur Education Office. Of course, before it was used as the education office, the building once housed the Princess Road Primary School, alma mater of presenter and television host Datuk Aznil Nawawi, who is now the “face” of SBJK after finding out what the school is doing for the less fortunate.

“Two years ago, I was cruising around the area, and decided to pop into my former school. While wal­king around, the principal saw me, and the rest is history,” said Aznil, 54, who is more than happy to do his part for the school by roping in his buddies from the Princess Road School alumni association.

“In the beginning, it was more of providing financial assistance. We took the kids to do Hari Raya shopping. “They had no idea what Hari Raya is, nor shopping,” he added of the students of the school located just at Lorong Haji Hussein 2, off Jalan Raja Muda Abdul Aziz.

The setting up SBJK was approved by the government in 2011, and the school opened its doors in 2013.

The ministry wants the whole country to know about the school. Specifically, it would like the community surrounding the school to be more involved in the school.


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Malaysia’s Education Development Plan In Line With Global Agenda

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 23 (Bernama) — Malaysia’s development plan in education through the Malaysian Education Blueprint 2013-2025 (MEB) is in tandem with the global education agenda, says Education Deputy Director-General Datuk Seri Khairil Awang.

He said this was evident with the MEB’s two main features, namely the system aspirations and the student aspirations, which would support the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals 4 (Education 2030).

The MEB’s system aspirations include access, quality, equity, unity and efficiency; while the student aspirations (literacy and numeracy, thinking skills, leadership skills and bilingual proficiency), are also the aspirations of Education 2030.

“Malaysia believes that in ensuring effective delivery of the Education 2030, the global agenda should not be isolated or implemented in parallel with the national education planning and monitoring evaluation system.

“The MEB 2013-2025 provides the framework for improving the performance of the education sector. The MEB was implemented three years ahead of Education 2030, (and) we found that MEB is very much in line with the targets of Education 2030,” Khairil said in his keynote address at the Education 2030 Launch and Symposium here today.

Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid will launch the Education 2030 in Malaysia this evening.

Education 2030 is the main agenda in education at global level which must be achieved in the next 15 years, that is, in the year 2030.

The Education 2030 main objective is to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote life-long learning opportunities for all.

Speaking on the challenges to ensure Malaysia’s education system was on par with international standards, Khairil said these included continuous efforts to provide education for hard-to-reach children such as the special education needs children, the indigenous and other minority groups.

He highlighted that about one per cent of the population was identified as having special education needs, in comparison to the estimated 10 per cent of the global estimated average.

“This shows an underestimation of the special education needs children in this country. Efforts to scale up early detection and improve collaboration with the health ministry to ensure inclusive programmes at various level of education are currently in progress,” he said.


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Malaysia’s Priority On Education Is Second To None – MOE

Friday, August 19th, 2016

PUTRAJAYA, Aug 18 (Bernama) — Access to quality education is seen as second to none by the Malaysian government for which the bulk of the country’s budget is being channelled at present.

Malaysia’s Education Ministry secretary-general Tan Sri Dr Madinah Mohamad said the government had put a lot of investment in education, as it strived to improve the country’s quality of education, which is envied by many countries.

She said education expenditure would be allocated about 21 per cent from the federal government annual budget.

“The government sees education as an investment, not a cost and, therefore, the government had provided facilities in terms of proper and conducive infrastructure, in the form of schools and co-curricular activities.

“Even the government has a special programme called the Supplementary Food Programme whereby money is allocated to provide nutritious meals to children from poor socio-economic background, to ensure they get a head start in school,” she said during the concurrent session, entitled ‘Innovation as a Strategic Imperative for the Organisation’.

The session was held in conjunction with 2016 Commonwealth Association for Public Administration and Management (CAPAM), which was moderated by adviser and head of the Commonwealth Secretariat’s Public Sector Governance Unit, Dr Joan Nwasike.

CAPAM was established in 1994 to facilitate the sharing of information and best practices between public administrations of Commonwealth countries, in addition to promoting good governance in the government.

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On target in meeting blueprint goals

Sunday, August 14th, 2016

Meeting selected education transformation objectives so far paves the way for Malaysia to raise its standards, and be on par with the best globally.

IT took a lot of effort to bring various parties together, but after countless evaluation sessions over the last three years, results from the First Wave of the Malaysia Education Blueprint that began in 2013 now has a report card of its own.

The Education Ministry released the 2015 annual report of the Blueprint, an ambitious undertaking that will transform the education system in three Waves orGelombang, with the first from 2013 to 2015, the second from 2016 to 2020, and the final one from 2021 to 2025. Within the Blueprint are 11 Shifts or Anjakan that will take the country to where it needs to be nine years from now.

The Blueprint contains 100 initiatives of which 25 came under the Blueprints’s First wave.

Based on the United Nations Millennium Development Goals to ensure “education for all”, the First Wave aimed to increase student enrolment, reduce the urban-rural divide, and ensure 100% literacy and numeracy (Linus) rates within the first three years of schooling.

Greater inclusivity

On inclusivity, Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid said more students with special needs have been enrolling in national schools.

“The integration of special needs students with mainstream students in daily school activities has been enhanced through the usage of a more holistic and inclusive education model,” he said.

This is done through the Inclusive Education model which saw an increase to 16,899 (23.2%) special needs students in 2015, up from 10,700 (18.4%) students in 2014.

Besides just studying with their mainstream peers in classrooms, students under this model are also included in school events such as the morning assembly and co-curricular activities.

Overall, Mahdzir said the number of special needs students enrolling in schools have increased from 58,006 in 2014 to 72,715 in 2015.

Preschoolers are also not left out of the inclusive education programme.

As of 2015, 46 children have been included in this programme.

There are 860 special needs children in 197 preschool classes nationwide guided by trained special education teachers.

Permata Kurnia director Prof Dr Hasnah Toran, a leading authority on autism in the country, said: “The ministry’s Special Education Division has taken a number of positive steps to improve education for special needs children.

Firstly, they have increased the number of children with disabilities into mainstream schools.

“And they don’t just leave them there,” stressed Dr Hasnah, who is herself a mother of an autistic child.

The integration programme provides for a “shadow aide” (guru pendamping), where a teacher is tasked to be extra watchful over a student. Teachers and parents are also trained on teaching and caring for these children, while other students are taught to be more empathetic to their fellow special needs schoolmates.

The ministry is also trying to improve the quality of special education by introducing Pentaksiran Alternatif Sekolah Rendah (PASR), which is equivalent to UPSR, but designed for students with special needs.

“This will make teachers more accountable and allows us to track a child’s progress,” said Dr Hasnah.

Then, there are the opening of new vocational schools, such as Sekolah Menengah Vokasional Pendidikan Khas Merbok in Kedah in 2015.


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Ensuring a generation of leaders with vision

Friday, August 12th, 2016

INSTITUT Aminuddin Baki’s role in uplifting the country’s education standard is thrust into the limelight under the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025.

In the Fifth Shift of the Blueprint, Institut Aminuddin Baki (IAB) is responsible for ensuring that leaders exhibiting high performance will be placed in each school. Under the First Wave of the Blueprint (2013-2015), emphasis is given to improvements to the system via changing programme implementation methods.

In this period, a key focus is increasing the quality of leadership in schools, in line with one of the initiatives to improve the quality of national education through leadership and management upskilling.

“This initiative is a huge responsibility for IAB,” said Dr Zainal Aalam Hassan, IAB’s newly minted director.

In an interview after his third month into the job, Dr Zainal said with the completion of the First Wave, IAB is now focused on delivering things that will make the Second Wave (2016-2020) of the Blueprint a success.

Dr Zainal outlines five challenges that school leaders will face when they try to usher in changes under the Second Wave.

The first would the optimisation of resources in the drive to embrace innovations and creativity in educational technology.

“The government has put in a solid foundation through the Blueprint so that our education can be on par with developed countries. In the Second Wave, the challenges for school leaders have become tougher. They need to have a competitive mindset, and work to increase their knowledge and skills, especially in information and communications technology (ICT). Great school leaders are those that dare to step out of their comfort zones to master new skills, especially communications. The explosion in the ICT sector has changed the leadership landscape,” said Dr Zainal.

The second challenge will be on expanding the level and diversity of community involvement in supporting the learning ecosystem.

“The Ninth Shift of the Blueprint stipulates that the involvement of parents, community and the private sector needs to be expanded, and their respective roles strengthened. The learning ecosystem of the 21st century has changed the concept of education from one that is school-based to one that is much more broader based. In recent learning ecosystem, learning can take place anywhere and anytime. “Research by the Centre for Social Organisation of Schools in the United States found schools that involve community groups reap various benefits, include reduction in truancy, higher rates of homework completion, and better grades. In this regard, the ministry is working towards enlarging the net so that the level of parental and community involvement can be heightened. At the moment, there is an imbalance in the level of involvement between the community and the private sector,” said Dr Zainal, who is firmly convinced that societal involvement can bring wonders to a school’s environment.


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Education plan – getting it right and doing it fast

Wednesday, August 10th, 2016

IT takes years to transform an education system, no matter how sturdy the plan and how hard the push. There are myriad factors to address, and there is a dizzying number of moving parts to adjust and replace. And often, we will only see the results much later.

As the Education Ministry has pointed out, it is “a task of great complexity in both breadth and depth”.

In making changes to what and how our children are taught in schools, a hasty and ill-advised move today can result in substantial long-term damage.

Nothing less than the nation’s future is at stake, and it is more important to get the job done right than to get it done fast. This is why the current Malay­sia Education Blueprint stretches from 2013 to 2025.

And yet, we do not really have the luxury of time.

The blueprint’s goal is to better prepare our children for the needs of the 21st century, and that demands steady progress and momentum that matches the fast pace of this increasingly global and digital world.

Yes, the transformation must not be rushed, but it has to be monitored well so that we know it is moving in the right direction and at the correct speed.

It is helpful that the transformation has been mapped out in three waves.

The First Wave, which took place between 2013 and 2015, was designed to turn around the education system by supporting teachers and focusing on core skills.

The Second Wave (2016 to 2020) is all about accelerating the improvement of the system, while the Third Wave (2021 to 2025) is meant to enable the move towards excellence with increased operational flexibility.

Yesterday, the Education Ministry launched its third annual report on the implementation of the blueprint.

The report also serves as an appraisal of the First Wave initiatives.

The ministry highlighted three achievements – 100% literacy and numeracy among students after three years of schooling; an increase in student enrolment; and a 25% reduction in the urban-rural gap.

The Star Says.

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