Published on: Saturday, September 07, 2013
He said the blueprint was developed for the sake of the future of Malaysian children who were invaluable assets for this blessed land as the nation's progress would be placed in their hands.
"If the blueprint is indeed so committed to preparing our children with skills in six student characters, it would be better and nice for it to be well-received with immense feelings of responsibility so that the programmes could be fully implemented to achieve the desired results," he said.
Also present at the launching held at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre were Second Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh, Deputy Education Ministers Datuk Mary Yap Kain Cheng and P. Kamalanathan, and Education Director-General Tan Sri Abdul Ghafar Mahmud.
Muhyiddin, who is also Education Minister, said the existing education policy based on the Education Act was still maintained in the Malaysia Education Blueprint.
He said the Government had no intention to sideline any school stream that existed in the country but, in fact, would ensure that each student in the government schools and government-assisted schools would have access, equity and quality education.
"The existence of national-type schools is also guaranteed by the Education Act 1996 (Section 28) and I wish to state here that students' mother tongues have never been denied their position as the medium of instruction in schools. "In fact, there are opportunities and room for learning of additional languages, besides Tamil, Mandarin, Arabic, Bidayuh, Dusun and so on.
"If more of our children are able to master more languages, it will be better for them and the country."
He said the Education Ministry would also continue to uphold the position of Bahasa Malaysia while giving prime attention to English Language, which would be made compulsory for students to pass in the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examination by 2016.
"I am looking at increasing the school hours by one or two hours as there are already a number of one-session schools while 1,600 two-session schools will be made one-session entities.
"The additional contact hours can be used for more exposure to Bahasa Malaysia, English or other languages," he said.
To strengthen usage of both languages, Muhyiddin said the education blueprint had outlined several initiatives including enhancing the Bahasa Malaysia syllabus at the national-type schools.
He said for weak students, remedial classes would be held outside school hours so that this would not affect the normal teaching and learning of the subject.
Muhyiddin said 9,000 English Language teachers would undergo the Cambridge Placement Test (CPT) training in October through the ministry's collaboration with the British Council.
To boost implementation of the blueprint, he said the Education Ministry had established a special entity called the Education Implementation and Performance Unit (PADU) to monitor and ensure the success of the initiatives outlined.
Muhyiddin said the unit would apply corporate-style management principles, and comprised talented officers from the ministry and outside as implementation of the blueprint demanded earnestness and efficient and credible management.
He said through PADU, the ministry intended to prepare the annual and status reports of the initiatives as information for the public.
"The Government will continue to seek views from the public by holding dialogues at the end of each wave.
"All these actions are taken to ensure the implementation of the blueprint is on the right track and realignment will be made if necessary," he added.
Muhyiddin said the initiatives drawn up with 11 strategic and operational shifts required the commitment of all Malaysians as the idea for the blueprint came from the people.
"It's not possible for the ministry to implement it alone without the involvement of all stakeholders to ensure the blueprint will be a real success."
He said the wider cooperation of the private sector and their feeling of sharing responsibility for national education development was also a strategy to ensure the success of the blueprint.
"The ministry has implemented the Teach for Malaysia and Trust School (Sekolah Amanah) programmes involving the private sector.
"The number of Sekolah Amanah will be increased to 500 by 2025 by involving the alumni and non-governmental organisations," he said.
Muhyiddin said special education that was inclusive was also not forgotten and the ministry had included it as an important element in the blueprint.
"Initially, he might not have mentioned specifically about special education but the associations and their leaders representing special education for the disabled asked why this was not given attention.
"So, we set up a special lab and included their suggestions on special education as an important component of the blueprint, specifically for children with disabilities," he said.
The 300-page Malaysia Education Blueprint states in detail the five system aspirations and six student characters to be achieved in the next 13 years.
It focuses on student outcomes encompassing all levels of schooling, that is, from pre-school to post-secondary level.
The preliminary report of the blueprint was launched by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on Sept 11, last year. - Bernama