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Hishammuddin should explain why he had scrapped the flagship reforms of the Education Development Plan 2001-2010 announced by his predecessor Musa Mohamad
(Parliament, Friday) : Education Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein should explain why he had scrapped the flagship reforms of the Education Development Plan 2001-2010 announced by his predecessor Tan Sri Musa Mohamad, proposing sweeping changes to the national education system, viz:
· The P-12 system, defined as pre-school and 12 years of school, to shorten the current 13-year school system to 12.
· Shortening the secondary school period from five to four years.
· The abolition of the Penilaian Menengah Rendah (PMR) examination for Form Three students.
· Streaming into arts and science at Form Two instead of Form Four.
None of these four proposals of the 10-year Education Development Plan announced by Musa at the end of 2001 had been implemented by Hishammuddin in the past three years since he took over the Education Ministry after the March 2004 general election.
Musa had said at the end of October 2001 that the P-12 school system needed to be introduced as soon as possible for the benefit of the children.
As justification for the change, Musa had argued that the 13-year education system was no longer practiced in other countries.
He said other countries had a shorter system of 12 years and Malaysia needed to do the same to raise up more competitive students on par with their peers from abroad.
Musa said while there were many types of 12-year systems used all over the world, Malaysia would need to find a suitable system of its own.
He said there were suggestions that Malaysia adopt Singapore’s 3+3+4+2 system, i.e. three years of lower primary followed by three years of upper primary, four years of secondary and two years of matriculation.
Musa said the P-12 system will have students sitting for their SPM after 10 years of school, thus removing the need for the PMR, which was initially used as a yardstick to measure students’ performance at their middle secondary school years.
He said abolishing the PMR will also place more emphasis on school-based assessment methods rather than central-based assessment methods “which are not popular any more”.
When the new system is fully implemented, the ministry will direct every school to conduct school-based examinations. If needed, the Education Ministry can conduct mini-centralised examinations at state or district level.
In the past three years of Hishammuddin as Education Minister, nothing had been heard about these flagship thrusts of the 10-year Education Blueprint which was approved by the Cabinet in 2001 – which had included Hishammuddin.
Without discussing the pros and cons on the flagship reforms of the Education Development Blueprint 2001-2010, one cannot but help observe that the Education Ministry had acted most irresponsibly after spending so much time and effort to draft a 10-year education development plan, secure Cabinet approval and virtually throw the whole plan into the waste-paper basket when there was a change of Education Minister.
A proper and satisfactory explanation should be given about what has happened to Musa’s Education Development Plan 2001-2010, in particular its flagship reform proposals, if Malaysians are to take seriously the new “National Education Blueprint 2006-2010” drafted also in great secrecy under the auspices of Hishammuddin and to be launched by the Prime Minister next Friday.
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman