Thursday September 13, 2012
The Star Says
THE Malaysia Education Blueprint is now officially in the public domain. This blueprint is essentially a detailed plan of action that maps out the education landscape for the next 13 years.
The Government has engaged many stakeholders in the process and it expects more feedback from the public in the weeks to come.
As we have said before, the transparent manner in which this blueprint has been drawn up, and the willingness of the policy-makers to listen further, should be applauded.
The blueprint is a “frank and bold” assessment of the education system. It is good that the weaknesses are openly acknowledged.
As Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said during the launch on Tuesday, Malaysians cannot be in denial if the country is to move forward.
And his reminder that education is a national issue that should not be politicised will hopefully set the correct tone for the debate, even if Malaysia is currently in a “political season”.
The future, as the blueprint has outlined, is about producing learners who will be thinkers and innovators.
That has always been the essence of real education, which teachers even within the existing system understand. They are the ones who understand that their mission is not simply to teach, but to educate.
If we want our children to think, we must do away with rote learning and a system of assessment that glorifies grades rather than effort.
If we want the children to think outside the box, we must stop building boxes to hem them in.
If we want our children to seek out knowledge and have the competitive edge in the new economy, we must equip them with the right language and ICT skills.
The Prime Minister’s remark that we must prepare our children for jobs that are yet to exist is a case in point.
The pace of development and technological advancements in our lifetime have resulted in paradigm shifts that many of us in the working world are struggling with.
For example, as computers and automated systems increasingly take the jobs humans once held, entire professions are now extinct.
Yet, we still have decision-makers trying to impose their archaic line of thought on their very much younger workforce.
But the one thing that all the technology in the world cannot change is our brain.
A well-exercised brain can outpower even the most advanced computers.
A person who can think and innovate will never be cowed by doom and failure. Instead, he will always be able to see opportunities for himself and for others.
And our vision must not be just about making sure our children can be gainfully employed in the future, but that they spend the formative years of their lives in an environment where their characters are properly moulded by teachers of the highest quality.
Our generation, and the generations to come, deserve to have nothing less when it comes to quality education.
Now that we’ve got that spelt out with a comprehensive blueprint of strategies and outcomes, every effort must be taken to ensure that effective implementation follows suit, and the return on investment on taxpayers’ money.