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Education ministry looking into issues in World Bank report
Published on: Tuesday, April 30, 2024
By: FMT
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Education ministry looking into issues in World Bank report
A World Bank report published last Thursday said that poor teacher preparedness and a lack of robust performance tracking systems were contributing to the poor educational outcomes observed in Malaysia.
PETALING JAYA: The education ministry says it is committed to reforms and working to address the issues highlighted by the World Bank in a recent report about Malaysia’s education standards.

Apart from noting limited access to quality early childhood education, the World Bank report titled “Bending Bamboo Shoots: Strengthening Foundation Skills” said that poor teacher preparedness and a lack of robust performance tracking systems were contributing to the poor educational outcomes observed in Malaysia.

Published last Thursday, the report said that 42% of Malaysian students fail to achieve reading proficiency by the end of Standard 5, which is higher than other countries with similar gross national incomes per capita (34%).

It also found that Malaysian students spend an average of 12.5 years in school but learn the equivalent of only 8.9 years. In comparison, Vietnamese students spend an average of 12.9 years in school and learn the equivalent of 10.7 years while Singaporean students spend 13.9 years in school and learn the equivalent of 12.8 years.

“The key issues addressed in the World Bank report such as the quality of and access to preschool education, student efficiency, and teacher development are indeed (already) under the ministry’s attention,” the ministry said in a statement.

“The ministry is currently implementing important initiatives to reform the national education (system), which includes restructuring the preschool system, the 2027 school curriculum, and carrying out intervention to address student dropouts.”

The ministry also said that preschool classes would be expanded with the aim of ensuring that student dropouts can be addressed earlier.

It said various programmes are being offered to enhance the competency and professionalism of teachers in service, with a learning management system platform recently introduced to meet the digital competency needs of teachers.

“The ministry is committed to ensuring that reforms to the national education system are a success. This is a continuous effort that requires the commitment, cooperation, and support of all parties involved,” said the ministry.

Among those who commented on the World Bank report was former minister Rafidah Aziz, who called for immediate reforms in the education sector after the “worrisome” picture painted of the country’s education standards.

In a statement to FMT, Rafidah said the failure to address these issues would cause Malaysia to lag “far behind” in crucial aspects such as competitiveness and socioeconomic development.

She also said that the country’s education system must be able to produce a skilled and capable workforce, in line with market demands.

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