The Minister of Education, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, needs to assure the public that he has taken into consideration the strong criticisms by the Malaysian Independent Review Panel against the National Education Blueprint
The Draft of the National Education Blueprint 2013 to 2025 was launched on the 11th of September 2012. One of the high level panels established to provide feedback to the Minister of Education was the Malaysian Review Panel, which comprised of many distinguished individuals (see Appendix 1) and was chaired by former USM Vice-Chancellor and current Vice-Chancellor of the Albukhary International University, Professor Tan Sri Dato’ Dzulkifli Abdul Razak.
A memo that submitted by the Malaysian Independent Review Panel (MIRP) to the Minister of Education, Tan Sri Muyhiddin Yassin, shortly after the publication of the NEB draft, was highly critical of the NEB. The criticisms of this memo include:
That only 5 out of the 11 shifts are necessary and suitable to be prioritized as focus areas. The rest are merely part of the ‘refinement’ process which is already in the existing National Education Development Masterplan 2006 to 2010.
That the National Education Blueprint will not be very impactful in bringing the necessary change or shifts that they were hoping for.
That the National Education Blueprint is a ‘nice’ document and can serve as an internal guide for the officers in the Ministry of Education. But as a public document, it shows just incremental change that is carried out regularly by the Minister of Education, rather than the introducing much-hoped for reform and renewal.
That many important opportunities have been left out including emphasizing multi-lingual competencies (rather than just bi-lingual competencies) and to increase the professionalism of teachers by establishing a Teacher’s Council.
Many strong words were used by the MIRP in this memo and it was clear that the Panel felt did not feel confident that this NEB was ground breaking in any way, shape or form but was in fact just a run-of-the-mill type of document that is easily forgotten.
In a parliamentary reply on the 27th of June, the Minister of Education, stated that the NEB will be finalized in July, 2013, which is this month.
I call upon the Minister to assure the public that he has taken into consideration the strong views expressed by this high level panel which seriously affects the credibility of the NEB as a transformative education plan. I fear that the final version of the NEB will introduce merely superficial changes to the earlier draft. This will confirm the reservations of the MIRP regarding the draft NEB that this is merely a ‘nice’ document to have as a guide for officials in the Ministry of Education and will not result in any significant transformation of our current education system.