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Is Hishammuddin’s”National Education Blueprint 2006-2010” to be launched next Friday the “education revolution” which Abdullah promised in his first hundred days as Prime Minister?
(Petaling Jaya, Wednesday) : Is the “National Education Blueprint 2006-2010” which is to be launched next Friday, January 12, the “education revolution” which Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had promised in his first hundred days as Prime Minister?
In his third month as Prime Minister, in a dialogue with National Economic Action Council (NEAC) members, corporate leaders, professionals and academicians on 13th January 2004, Abdullah said that Malaysia needs an “education revolution” in the quest to have a world-class education to produce talented human capital in an increasingly global and competitive environment.
He had posed the question: “Is the younger generation passing through our national education system adequately equipped to thrive in an increasingly global and competitive environment?
“I believe we will need nothing less than an education revolution to ensure that our aspirations to instill a new performance culture in the public and private sectors are not crippled by our inability to nurture a new kind of human capital that is equal to the task of the challenges ahead”.
In Abdullah’s first three years as Prime Minister, there had been no sign that any “education revolution” is in the works for the national education system, whether tertiary, secondary or primary, to nurture a new kind of human capital to face the increasingly global and competitive environment.
In fact, all signs pointed to the contrary, not only with the drastic plunge of the international standing of the premier university, University of Malaya, which is hanging by the skin of its teeth in the 200 Best Universities Ranking of the Times Higher Education Supplement, but also with the prevalence of a very negative mindset and mentality manifested by the rejection of the Bangsa Malaysia concept by the Umno Mentri Besar, Datuk Ghani Othman and the “fire-and-brimstone” Umno and Umno youth general assemblies with the keris-wielding for the second consecutive year by none other than the Education Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein in his capacity as Umno Youth leader.
The message from these negative mindset and mentality is the stubborn refusal to accept two harsh realities:
Hishammuddin has announced that the Prime Minister would be launching the “National Education Blueprint 2006-2010” next Friday.
Will this be the blueprint for “an education revolution” as promised by Abdullah in first hundred days as Prime Minister to build a world-class quality education system and to promote national unity
Will it be able to stand the test of time or will it be just another education “blueprint” which would be discarded and replaced when there is a new Education Minister, just like the “Education Development Plan 2001-2010”, the earlier education blueprint of the former Education Minister, Tan Sri Musa Mohamad?
What has Hishammuddin learned from the ill-fated education blueprint of his predecessor, which is to last for a decade but which is being discarded and replaced in less than five years?
When Musa’s 10-year education blueprint was made public in the middle of 2002, I had criticized it as suffering from six fundamental defects, viz:
· Lacking transparency - nobody knew that the 10-year Education Plan was being drafted, nobody knew when it was commissioned, nobody was consulted.
· Unrepresentative with no full representation from all racial, religious and cultural groups in plural Malaysia.
· Undemocratic – as political parties and the civil society were excluded from the policy formulation.
· Unprofessional which is why it cannot stand the test of time - with many important educational issues excluded from its ambit, such as the use of English to teach science and mathematics, the so-called meritocracy system for admission into public universities, the poor academic performance of bumiputra university students, etc.
· Lacked vision - as to the larger purpose of creating a Bangsa Malaysia with the qualities of excellence and meritocracy to enhance national competitiveness.
· Unfair to mother-tongue education as it gave no place to the fair and proper future development of Chinese and Tamil primary schools.
Will Hishammuddin’s “National Education Blueprint 2006-2010” be repeating the same mistakes of Musa’s “Education Development Plan 2001-2010”?
Hishammuddin has promised the new education blueprint will be posted on the Education Ministry’s website after its launch on January 12 – as compared to keeping the previous “Education Development Plan 2001-2010” as a “official secret” for close to a year until Musa was pressured by the DAP to release it as a public document.
Hishammuddin should ensure that print copies of the education blueprint will be available to all MPs and interested parties, whether individuals or organizations, on the day of the launch itself.
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman