Sunday, May 27, 2012
DIALOGUE: Lack of infrastructure, security in schools also highlighted
KUALA LUMPUR: ESTABLISHING English-medium schools, improving the quality of teachers and making Mandarin and Tamil compulsory subjects were among the proposals mooted by participants of the ongoing National Dialogue on Education 2012.
The dialogue sessions — which have so far been held in Putrajaya, Perak, Perlis and Kedah, Kota Kinabalu and Labuan — also saw participants highlighting others issues such as the lack of infrastructure and security in schools, the limited role of parent-teacher associations (PTAs), the limited availability of Mathematics and Science textbooks in English, the introduction of history for primary school students and the teaching of Science and Mathematics in English.
Parent Action Group for Education chairman Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim, who attended the first dialogue session in Putrajaya late last month, said many pertinent proposals were made and it reflected the people’s concern about the state of the education system.
She said there appeared to be a lack of vision and depth in some of the proposals.
“The session became a platform for PTAs to air their grouses when it should be a platform for us to look for a visionary and timeless foolproof education system.
“We need an education review which is timeless and invincible and which should not be swayed by what is popular. It should encompass the elements of globalisation, transformation, change and technology and not return to what we have been doing in the past.”
The sessions, which will end in July, are intended to gather feedback from the public, teachers, PTAs and non-governmental organisations on how to enhance the quality of schools.
This is the first time the government is inviting views from the public on a large scale in drawing up a development plan for national education.
Another participant, Datuk Dr Anwar Hassan, who attended the session in Taiping, Perak, hoped that all the issues highlighted would be addressed and that the government would be transparent about policy issues.
He agreed that many who attended the session were concerned over operational issues instead of policy matters.
“Teachers discussed the lack of funding and school facilities at length.
“They were concerned about the lack of basic infrastructure, especially in rural schools.
“Nonetheless, we hope to see a point-to-point response from the government to all the proposals.”
Tunku Munawirah Putra, the granddaughter of Tunku Abdul Rahman, who attended the session in Alor Star, Kedah, suggested that another platform be initiated for teachers to voice their grievances over operational issues.
“This platform is for proposals based on nine areas stipulated by the government. Other issues must not take precedence.”
The nine fields stipulated by the government are: elevating the teaching profession; raising the quality of school leadership; raising the quality of schools; strengthening the quality and assessment for preparing human capital; enhancing the command of the various languages among students; involvement of parents, the private sector and the community as partners in education; raising the preparedness of students to grab opportunities in higher education and the labour market; improving the efficiency and effectiveness of resource management; and to develop the capacity and capability of the education delivery system.
While applauding the government’s move to engage stakeholders, Dr N. Muniandy, who represented a Tamil foundation, said the Education Ministry must take more effort to disseminate information about the dialogue sessions.
He said while the overall turnout was good, representation from Tamil and Chinese schools was poor.
“I believe many who are concerned about vernacular schools don’t know about the sessions or where and when they are held. Hence, issues concerning these schools were not properly highlighted.”
Muniandy said the nine fields of assessment of the national education system should be extended to include a review of the infrastructure in Tamil schools.
He said the dilapidated condition of Tamil schools had been a long-standing issue and warranted urgent action.
The National Dialogue on Education 2012 is chaired by former director-general of Education Tan Sri Dr Wan Mohd Zahid Mohd Nordin.
The sessions are also attended by members of the independent review panel on education.
The 12-member panel, headed by Prof Tan Sri Dzulkifli Abdul Razak, will provide advice and expertise in evaluating the education system.
National Dialogue on Education 2012
– April 29: Putrajaya PICC
– May 6: Taiping, Perak
– May 12: Perlis and Kedah
– May 19: Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
– May 20: Labuan
– May 26: Kuching, Sarawak
– May 27: Miri, Sarawak
– June 3: Negri Sembilan and Malacca
– June 9: Selangor
– June 16: Penang
– June 23: Kuantan, Pahang
– June 30: Kota Baru, Kelantan
– July 7: Terengganu
– July 14: Johor
More information on the dialogue sessions can be obtained from http://www.myedureview.com/eng.html