Malaysia Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) by yiq68006


									        Malaysia: Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)


     Education throughout the world has undergone many changes in recent years,
the dynamics of which have been more apparent and prominent during the turn of
the new century in Malaysia. The new millennium continues to challenge decision
and policy makers, education providers, economists and political leaders to prepare
the country’s human resources for the global competition. With these new
developments and the move towards specialized knowledge workers (k-workers) in
the information age, education development strategies serve to ensure Malaysian
professionals remain amongst the best in the world.

     Malaysia is now at the mid-point of its journey towards becoming a developed
nation by the year 2020. The road ahead will be both challenging and demanding.
During the next 13 years, Malaysia has to deal with great changes in the global
environment while improving and upgrading the country’s domestic conditions.
Malaysia has, thus, outlined a policy implementation framework that details the
country’s priorities for the next few years called the National Mission along with the
Ninth Malaysia Plan (9MP) currently into its 2nd year of implementation. To ensure
that Malaysia achieves its Vision 2020, the government has outlined some of the
following strategic measures:

a.     The government has adopted a holistic program for the National Mission. The
       program aims to enhance the nation’s capability to compete globally, to
       strengthen national unity and to bring about a better distribution of wealth and
       income and a higher quality of life for the people. This takes into consideration
       past experiences, religious and cultural values of the various ethnic groups and
       also Islam Hadhari which emphasises on mastering of knowledge and
       development of individual potentials to achieve a well balanced human capital
       with first class mentality.

       The National Mission has five (5) thrust areas in driving the country’s goals and
       objectives. They are:

                 i. To move the economy up the value chain;
                ii. To raise the capacity for knowledge and innovation and nurture
                   ‘first class mentality’;
               iii. To address persistent socio-economic inequalities constructively
                   and productively;
               iv. To improve the standard and sustainability of quality of life; and
                v. To strengthen the institutional and implementation capacity.

b.   Strengthening human capital and bringing about a cultural and mindset change
     which will be a key challenge during the 9MP period. Malaysia realises that the
     key factor to becoming a developed nation is the capability and character of the
     nation’s people.

     Malaysia is adopting a holistic approach to human capital development and
     training, encompassing not only knowledge and skills but also ethical values,
     progressive mindset and cultural awareness. Malaysia is now an open trading
     economy participating in an extremely competitive and fast moving global
     marketplace. The Malaysian economy grew at an average rate of 6.2% per
     annum during the 1991-2005 period. Economic fundamentals remain strong.
     Inflation was as low as 2.9% per annum and low unemployment rate of 3.1 per
     cent over the period. Labour and capital-intensive modes of development have
     given way to productivity and knowledge-based growth. All these require a
     strong foundation in educational development.

     Complementing the need for strengthening the nation’s human resource
     development, the education participation rate has improved significantly with
     increased participation made at the pre-school, primary, secondary and tertiary
     levels. As of 2006, there were 7601 primary schools, 2028 secondary schools
     supported by 327,000 teachers serving 5.63 million students nationwide. This
     figure represented more than 90 per cent of access rate for the primary and
     secondary education in Malaysia which is at par with international standards.

c.   In addition, various measures were taken to review the curriculum, increase the
     teaching and utilization of ICT in schools and enhance teaching skills. To meet
     the increased demand for skilled human resource, a total of 597,384 skilled
     workers were produced by training institutions and 4.8 million training places
     for skills upgrading were provided. Opportunities for skill enhancement and
     lifelong learning were also expanded through community colleges and open
     universities. However, tertiary and training institutions will need to become
     more aligned with industry to meet the needs of the employers. Thus, the
     national education policy has a very important role to play to ensure that the
     National Mission achieve its target. It is the basic approach that the Ministry of
     Education (MOE) and the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) can take to
     ensure steady improvement in the quality of life for the present and future
     generations; while enhancing our common values and heritage.

d.    In line with the UNESCO’s goal in her programme, Education for Sustainable
      Development (2005 – 2014, UNDESD), that is to integrate the principles,
      values, and practices of sustainable development into all aspects of education
      and learning, Malaysia has formulated a five year action plan called the
      National Education Blueprint (2006 – 2010) or better known as              PIPP.
      Although this plan focuses on educational issues of national interest, it also
      places great importance on UNESCO’s goal that is to encourage
      transformation in education that will create a more sustainable future in terms
      of environmental integrity, economic viability and a just society for present and
      future generations.

The Global Scenario: An Imperative for a Local Policy Framework

      The new century has seen a lot of development and competitiveness in
education sectors globally. This has translated into the development of skilled and
knowledgeable human resources which depend heavily on investment in higher
education. Malaysia, endowed with its rich natural resources and diversity
recognises the need to adopt sound developmental strategies to meet the
challenges of the new century in education. In order to do so, a strong policy

framework and strategy must be in place to transform the country’s educational
landscape into one with high quality and excellence.

       In driving the social, economic and political needs, Malaysia has formulated
several related educational policies. This policy framework forms the core strategies
in moving Malaysia towards achieving its objective of becoming a regional
educational hub if not a global player in education.

The Third Outline Perspective Plan 2001-2010 (OPP3)

       The Third Outline Perspective Plan (OPP3) focuses on building a resilient and
competitive nation towards the realization of Vision 2020 i.e. achieving a fully-
developed nation status by the year 2020. It underlines the need to strengthen the
nation’s capacity, capabilities in education and resolves to meet the challenges of
the new century.     A highly educated force is extremely crucial in driving the
knowledge economy. The enrolment in the science and technical field is targeted at
60:40 sciences to arts ratio in OPP3. In 2000, the percentage of population
completing tertiary education was 14.0 per cent and secondary education was 58.8
per cent. The strategy involves increasing the enrolment in tertiary education for
student’s cohort (17 -23 years of age) to 30% by the year 2005 and will continue to
expand to 40% by the end of OPP3 (2010). At least 35 % of the labour force will
have attained tertiary education by the end of OPP3 too.

       The Third Outline Perspective Plan (OPP3) emphasises lifelong learning as a
platform to continuously upgrade the quality of the workforce. Distance education
and online education will be developed as an important element in education
development strategies, providing another option of education for working adults.

       Public and private universities are always encouraged to develop centres of
excellence in education through collaboration with industries or foreign partners
under OPP3. OPP3 will also serve as a vehicle for upward mobility in the society
through education. The strategy includes financial help and benefits to be provided
to the poor and low-income groups up to tertiary level in the education system. The
government will give priority to improving facilities and infrastructure and intensifying

the use of ICT in all schools and institutions. Rural areas will be modernized through
the provision of better ICT facilities, computers, labs and classrooms for schools and
physical infrastructure.

       The OPP3 has been formulated based on the National Vision Policy (NVP)
which emphasizes on national unity as its overriding objective to establish a
progressive and prosperous Bangsa Malaysia which lives in harmony and engages
in full partnership. Socioeconomic development and building a knowledge-based
society for Malaysia will continue to be given priority in the OPP3.

National Education Policy (Dasar Pendidikan Kebangsaan)

       The National Education Policy of Malaysia is drawn to move Malaysia’s
educational system forward and to enable it to become the educational hub of
excellence and quality towards the realization of Vision 2020.           The National
Education Development Plan 2001-2010, the Third Outline Perspective Plan 2001-
2010, and the Knowledge-based Economy Master Plan are in tandem with the
National Education Policy in terms of meeting the needs of the human resource
development as well as providing quality and accessibility to all levels of education.

       The main objective of the National Education Policy is to promote national
unity through 11 years of basic education and making Bahasa Melayu or Malay
Language as the medium of instruction while using English Language in the teaching
and learning of Science and Mathematics. The National Education Policy also
stresses the uniformity of curriculum and examinations throughout all schools in the
country. The implementation of such policy is in line with the economical, social and
political structure of the country.

       The National Education Policy includes the promotion of ICT usage in key
areas. ICT serves as an enabler in data base management for education,
establishing portal sites for the Ministry of Education for information access, and
system applications for the ministry. Smart school programs are among the initiatives
taken by the Ministry of Education to promote the usage of ICT in schools throughout

the nation. Apart from the use in teaching and learning, ICT is also used in
administrative work and management in smart schools to increase productivity and
efficiency. The Smart School is one of the flagship applications in planning for the
Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC). Students do not confine themselves to text books
alone with pencil and paper tests but will have easy access to internet and e-mails
for information to complement their learning process. Eventually, all schools will be
transformed into smart schools by phases that will enhance the knowledge and
competency level of ICT usage among teachers and students for their teaching and
learning purposes.

The National Education Development Plan 2001- 2010
(Pelan Pembangunan Pendidikan Negara 2001- 2010)

       The major thrusts of the National Education Development Plan 2001-2010 are
to increase access, equity and quality of education, and further improve the
efficiency and effectiveness of education management. Accessibility to pre-school
education, primary education, secondary education as well as tertiary education is
enhanced through the provision and upgrading of the basic educational facilities at
all levels. More schools and institutions for students with special needs will be built
and expanded under this plan. The Ministry of Education (MOE) plays an effective
role in ensuring that all public education institutions continuously enhance and
improve their academic programs. MOE has also taken into account the needs of
developing Malaysia’s human resources as outlined in OPP3, the 8th Malaysia Plan
and its long term Education Development Plan (2001-2010) through the programs
offered in schools and universities.

       Equity through education is achieved by providing sufficient infrastructures
and quality input to every school and institutions around the country in carrying out
their curriculum and co-curriculum activities. The quality input includes providing
qualified teachers, adequate financial allocation, teaching aids as well as supporting
services which will be distributed appropriately to all schools and institutions,
ensuring that the equity gap between the advantaged schools and the
disadvantaged schools be narrowed.

       The National Education Development Plan 2001-2010 aims are to provide all
citizens the opportunity of 11 years of education; further develop the potential of
individuals in a holistic and integrated manner so as to produce individuals who are
intellectually, spiritually, emotionally and physically balanced; nurture creativity and
innovativeness; enhance learning culture; encourage life-long learning; provide an
efficient, effective and world-class quality education system and promote Malaysia
as a centre of education excellence. These are the challenges of the new century for
education and Malaysia has incorporated its strategies by taking into account the
national development policies as well as the current and emerging challenges
brought about by globalization and K-economy.

       The purpose for further improvement on efficiency and effectiveness of
education management is to produce a world-class education system.                 The
development strategies involve empowerment at schools and universities levels,
enhancement of schools and institutional leaderships, enculturation of lifelong
learning, better accountability, self-directedness and effective leadership. MOE will
provide the necessary system applications and ICT infrastructures to support the
development of an effective and efficient management in all its institutions.

The National Education Blueprint (2006-2010)

       The National Education Blueprint (2006-2010) has six strategic thrust areas
which will contribute directly towards the achievement of the National Mission
through educational sustainability. The six thrust areas are:
            i.       Nation Building;
            ii.      Developing Human Capital;
           iii.      Strengthening National Schools;
           iv.       Bridging the Rural-Urban Educational Gap;
            v.       Improving the Teaching Profession; and
           vi.       Accelerating Excellence at Educational Institutions.

       To ensure that all the above thrust areas are given due attention, the Ministry
of Education has introduced innovative staff development programmes as well as
enhanced the existing programmes On top of that, the MOE, Malaysia endeavours to

make national schools the school of choice, the quality of teaching in national
schools will be improved with 100 per cent and 25 per cent of teachers in secondary
and primary schools, respectively, having first degree qualification by 2010. The
MOE had taken a more integrated approach when enhancing and introducing
programmes so that they complement with one another in an effort to bring excellent
culture into the education system.

       The recent budget report announced by the Most Honourable Prime Minister
in September 2007 has paved the way of free education to all including free
textbooks from K-12 levels and the abolishment of school fees policy. This is to
encourage the maximum enrolment of school going children into our schools
especially the rural poor and the natives in Malaysia. Education opportunities for
children with special needs and learning disabilities will also be increased in national
schools. To reduce performance gap between rural and urban areas, various
initiatives will be undertaken, including the provision of better educational facilities
and basic amenities. The quality of teachers will be improved through the
deployment of more experienced teachers to schools in the rural areas. Such efforts
are quantum leaps in the country’s commitment of providing free education to all.

Knowledge-based Economy Master Plan

       The Knowledge-based Economy Master Plan was formulated to provide
strategic direction for the nation to develop into a knowledge-based economy over a
ten-year period. The Plan espouses a vision of building a strong and resilient, vibrant
and competitive economy, driven by increasing application of knowledge to
production and the development of new knowledge-intensive industries.

       The Government has also put in place several tax incentives aimed at
accelerating the knowledge-based economy. These include income tax relief of
RM500 per year to tax payers for the purchase of books and RM5,000 per year for
pursuing further studies at local higher learning institutions. To encourage computer
literacy, a tax rebate of RM400 is given once in 5 years for the purchase of a
computer for the family, computers are duty free and companies contributing at least
RM50,000 for ICT acculturation projects in the local community are allowed for

income tax deduction. This is part of the educational strategies in meeting the ICT
development in Malaysia.

       The above incentives are part of government efforts in building learning
institutions and emphasising continuous learning as an integral part of effective
knowledge management for the education sector in ICT. Developing knowledge-
based human resources essentially encompass education, skills training and
retraining, lifelong learning and the sourcing of global talent.

       The emphasis placed on human resources in the K-Economy Master Plan
reflects the Government's seriousness and determination in creating a pool of highly
competent knowledge workers. Malaysia's ability to carve out significant competitive
advantage in certain industries lies in the people factor, requiring them to attain a
high level of competence and skills. Essentially it is through education and training
that Malaysia can be prepared to face the challenges of this new century.

      The role of the Ministry of Education (MOE) and the Ministry of Higher
Education (MOHE) in meeting the development strategies is essentially guided by
the pursuit of excellence in teaching, training, research and institutional performance.
The relevance of curriculum offered by higher education institutions is tailored to the
perceived priority needs of the country in building a healthy, skilled and creative

      The MOE and MOHE have made plans to further improve the development of
highly skilled and knowledgeable manpower, in terms of quantity and quality. The
strategies adopted are long term in nature and encompass all levels of education to
ensure a steady supply of the desired pool of workers.

Implementation Strategies

      Primary schools, secondary schools, public universities, private universities,
polytechnics and community colleges move in tandem and aim to produce and to
provide adequate skilled and quality manpower to enable Malaysia to compete in the
international arena. To ensure that Malaysia produces graduates who are both

capable of meeting the national needs as well as taking the roles of global players,
the National Education Development Plan has put forward some strategies in
promoting excellence and quality in education. The strategies are:

     1. Increasing accessibility and participation rate of tertiary education.

            i.      Increasing the participation of student’s cohort (17 -23 years of
                    age) from 25% in 2000 to 30% by the year 2005, and thereafter
                    to 40% for the same cohort group by the year 2010.

            ii.     Improving the opportunity of tertiary education for all in line with
                    the realization of the life long learning policy.

     2. Providing equity towards education through:

            i.      Encouraging private institutions to be set up nationwide and
                    outside the capital cities.

            ii.     Providing incentives such as tax redemption for private education
                    providers in rural areas.

            iii.    Providing more twining programs between public universities and
                    private institutions in rural areas or outside the capital cities.

     3. Providing adequate and balanced education opportunities across the

     4. Addressing the imbalance of socioeconomic status among various races
         through increased participation of tertiary education by bumiputras (native
         Malay and indigenous groups).

     5. Emphasizing Science and Technology (S&T) needs through:

            i.      Increasing the participation of students at all levels of education
                    in the field of S&T to 60% in comparison with other fields of study.

       ii.      Increasing the proportion of scientists and technologists in
                comparison with the general population to be at par with other
                developed countries.

6.   Continuous enhancement of the curriculum to ensure its relevancy, quality
     and competitiveness at a global level, as well as satisfying the country’s
     manpower needs.

7.   Ensuring that the manpower produced by the higher institutions is
     competent in communication and soft skills.

8.   Ensuring that the number of academic staff are adequate and qualified

       i.       The provision of training both locally and abroad as well as in
                collaboration with the industries.

       ii.      Providing a competitive salary scheme for the academic staff.

       iii.     Recruitment of qualified academic staff.

9. Increasing and extending the R&D activities in higher institutions by:

       i.       Assimilating the R&D culture among academic staff and students.

       ii.      Increasing the number of R&D personnel and experts.

       iii.     Emphasising fundamental research.

       iv.      Establishing research universities from the public universities.

       v.       Increasing the number of research centres and facilities at par
                with international standings.

       vi.      Enhancing the smart partnership of higher institutions with local
                industries and industries abroad.

10.    Increasing the usage of ICT through:

        i.       Infrastructure development and increase usage of ICT in
                 education environment.

        ii.      Establishing e-universities environment.

11. Producing skilled and semi-professional manpower in the right proportion

        i.       Provision of a wider opportunity for tertiary education on a ratio of
                 1:2 for first degree courses with respect to non-degree courses

        ii.      Establishment of technical universities to increase the number of
                 ‘hands-on’ professionals.

        iii.     Establishment of technical-based private institutions.

12. Expanding and extending financial assistance to students in schools and
      tertiary institutions.

13. Internationalization of education in Malaysia through:

        i.       Active promotion of higher education to attract foreign students
                 into public institutions as well as private institutions.

        ii.      Increasing the proportion of foreign students to five per cent in
                 the public higher education institutions, in non-critical area at first
                 degree level (except International Islamic University at 20%).

        iii.     Increasing the proportion of post-graduate foreign students in the
                 public higher education institutions from 25% in 2005 to 40% by
                 the year 2010.

        iv.      Attracting renowned scholars to conduct research in Malaysia.

       v.        Enhancing collaborative research activities between local tertiary
                 institutions and foreign universities.

       vi.       Facilitating international student and staff exchange programs
                 with overseas counterparts.

       vii.      Using bench-marking procedures in tertiary education to face
                 global challenges in the future.

14. Enhancing support services and facilities for student’s welfare through:

               i. Continuous improvement of the facilities and guidance and
                  counselling services.

               ii. Enhancing health, transport, hostel and safety services of

              iii. Improving the welfare services for students from the low-income
                  or middle-income groups.

              iv. Providing facilities for students with special needs.

15. Developing communication skills in international language through:

       i.        Increased usage of English Language in communication at all
                 levels of education.

       ii.        Reviewing and determining a clear policy guideline for the usage
                  of English Language as a medium of instruction in public and
                  private universities.

       Iii.       improving the standard of English Language among academic
                  staff e.g. through refresher courses and training of the trainers

Policy Directions for the Future

       Malaysia is fully committed to provide Education for All (EFA) as initiated by
UNESCO. It is estimated that the population grew at an average rate of 2.1% per
annum from 23.49 million in 2000 to 27 million in 2006. Malaysia endeavours to
facilitate educational development into the new century and beyond, to position itself
as a regional educational hub. It does so by providing better facilities and qualified
manpower at a sustainable rate to support a relatively young population with a
median age of 24.2 years old in 2006.

       The main thrust in Malaysia’s educational policy is to develop skilled and
knowledgeable human resources. It also emphasizes on equity, accessibility and
quality in the education delivery system for the masses. Information and
Communication Technology (ICT) will continue to feature prominently in schools,
colleges and universities. ICT will be used extensively in the implementation of smart
schools throughout the nation and will also enhance computer aided teaching and e-

       The enrolment of primary schools, secondary schools, polytechnics,
community colleges and universities will continue to increase through strategic
planning and development of the education system. At the same time, continuous
effort is being undertaken to enhance the quality of education in public institutions of
higher learning. More schools, polytechnics, community colleges and universities will
be built under the Ninth Malaysia Plan (2006-2010) to ensure that the general
population has access to quality education in line with the objectives of providing
accessibility as well as democratization of education.


       The education strategies in Malaysia for sustainable development in the new
century call for a total commitment from all Malaysians, with a sense of urgency in
the face of increasing competition. The strategies listed above will be responsive to
the changing market needs both locally and globally. The Malaysian policy
framework recognizes that education development plays an ever important role in
building a sustainable, resilient and competitive society.

       Interestingly, the global education scenario has similar development
strategies namely by providing wider accessibilities, ensuring quality education,
continuous strategic education reforms so that the respective countries can compete
as global education providers and education has already evolved into a big
economic entity for some countries. Malaysia is ready to face these challenges in
the field of education, both internally and externally, with the advent of globalization,
trade liberalization, and the development of ICT in this new century.


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2.   Education Planning, Research and Development, MOE. (2007). Pelan Induk
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3.   Economic Planning Unit (EPU), Prime Minister’s Department. (2001). The
          Third Outline Perspective Plan 2001-2010. Putrajaya: Author.

4.   Economic Planning Unit (EPU), Prime Minister’s Department. (2004). Mid-
          Term Review of the Eight Malaysia Plan 2001-2005. Putrajaya: Author.

5.   Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS). (2002). Knowledge-
             based Economy: Master Plan. Kuala Lumpur: Author.

6.   Kementerian Pelajaran Malaysia. (2004). Dasar Pendidikan Kebangsaan.
          [National Education Policy]. Kuala Lumpur: Author.

7.   Kementerian Pendidikan Malaysia. (2001). Pembangunan Pendidikan 2001-
          2010: Perancangan Bersepadu Penjana Kecemerlangan Pendidikan.
          [Education Development 2001-2010: Integrated Planning for
          Generating Education Excellence]. Kuala Lumpur: Author.

8.   The Economic Planning Unit. (2006). The Ninth Malaysia Plan. Putrajaya:
          Prime Minister Department.

9.   UNESCO. (2004). Synthesis report on trends and developments in higher
         education since the World Conference on Higher Education. Paris,
         France: Author.


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