Why did the MoE spend RM20 million on hiring management consultants McKinsey and Co to prepare the National Education Blueprint?

In a parliamentary reply given to Dr. Ong Kian Ming on the 23rd of September 2013, it was stated that a total of RM20,566,400 was paid to McKinsey and Co, a management consultancy, for the preparation of the National Education Blueprint. This payment was divided into Phase 1 – RM4,706,400 – and Phase 2 – RM15,860,000.

This is a complete waste of taxpayer’s money for the following reasons:

(i) McKinsey are general management consultants and are not specialists in the field of education. There would be perhaps one or two senior partners who have done previous consulting on education related projects but their experience is far less than the panel of experts who are in the project taskforce as well as the independent review panels. If these consultants were brought in because of their experience in the education arena in other countries, very little of this was reflected in the final document. The international comparisons that were in the document could have been obtained by asking a reasonably intelligent final year Malaysian student to do a final year project on international benchmarking in education.

(ii) The Ministry of Education and other government departments have many more capable personnel who are able to undertake the task of preparing the education blueprint. The Blueprint lists 20 high-powered individuals who were part of the Project Taskforce and the Project Management Office (PMO) including Dr. Faridah Abu Hassan, the Director for the Educational Policy Planning and Research Division (EPRD) as well as Tengku Azian Tengku Shahriman, Director of the Education NKRA and NKEAs. There were another 13 high powered individuals who were part of the Report Editing Team including Dr. Zainal A’alam Hassan, Deputy Director of the Educational Policy, Planning and Research Division and Dr. Aliah Haji Ahmad Shah, Head of the NKEA Unit. Surely the PMO could have utilized its many capable resources within the Ministry and PEMANDU to prepare this National Education Blueprint? Why waste RM20 million on employing expensive management consultants?

(iii) It goes against one of the 11 ‘shifts’ in the National Education Blueprint which is to ‘Maximise Student Outcomes for Every Ringgit’. This money could have been used to build 4 new schools at the cost of RM5 million each or to build more science labs.

The role of McKinsey is not even documented in the National Education Blueprint (NEB). If not for this parliamentary question and this press conference and media statement, the Ministry may never have been forced to reveal the role and cost of employing McKinsey. This goes against one of the 11 ‘shifts’ in the National Education Blueprint which is to ‘Increase Transparency for Direct Public Accountability’ and it does not give us confidence in the ability of the Ministry to publish a transparent and accountable annual report to track the progress of the National Education Blueprint, as promised.

We call upon the Minister to explain why RM20 million was spend on McKinsey and whether he plans to continue to use the services of McKinsey in implementing the National Education Blueprint.

MP for Serdang
MP for Bukit Bendera
Joint media statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming and Zairil Khir Johari in Parliament on Tuesday, 24th September 2013