Friday, December 29, 2006

National Education Blueprint 2006-2010

Thanks to Charis for this headsup. I wanted to blog about this earlier but for some reason, I couldn't connect to during the Christmas period. It was announced last Sunday that the Ministry of Education would publish and distribute its National Education Blueprint 2006-2010. I wanted to highlight two things, one, regarding the tone of the statements made by the Minister of Education, Hishamuddin Tun Hussein and two, regarding the importance of this Blueprint.

Firstly, I found the tone and words used by Hisham to be totally different from the tone of his message in the last two UMNO Youth General Assembly meetings. This could be due to the fact that he's speaking in his capacity as Minister of Education, not UMNO Youth Chief, and also the fact that NST might have choosen the most 'progressive' parts of his interview / statements to highlight.

For example:

"We need to face up to the fact that Malaysians have to compete with billions of our fellow Asians who are hungry for the kind of prosperity and stability we have achieved over the past 20 years.

"They will work harder and smarter because they are hungrier.

"All Malaysians, especially the Malay community, have to come to terms with this fact.

"If we don’t rise to the ever-increasing critical challenges, we will return to being losers in the global race.

"I also feel the blueprint has approached most of the issues from a purely market perspective, whereby we have looked at satisfying the needs and demands of the market."

He also pointed out that one of the reasons for publishing and distributing this blueprint was to generate more accountability on the part of the Ministry:

The document will spell out the ministry’s approaches for the next five years, including timelines on its delivery of goals.

It will also show how the mammoth RM23 billion allocation for education will be distributed under the Ninth Malaysia Plan.

Mindful that "everyone has an opinion on education", the ministry will also explain its direction for key areas such as the strengthening of national schools, its "clusters of excellent schools", access to education, and empowering teachers.

Admitting that the Malaysian education system was at the crossroads, Education Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said the blueprint would ensure the ministry’s goals were reflected and planned in a transparent and deliverable manner.

Themed, "Pioneering Change — A National Mission", the blueprint would allow all those involved and interested in education to be clear on where the ministry is heading and how it wants to get there, he said.

I think many Malaysians would have wanted to listen to this Hishamuddin at the UMNO Youth GA compared with the keris-bearing Hisham who actually showed up. Many of the things he said at this interview did really sound progressive and far-sighted, which surprised me a little.

Secondly and more importantly, I'm wonder out loud as to how much this Blueprint will be 'followed' and how 'accountable' the Ministry will be to its promises as outlined in this Blueprint. Many people have told me and I've observed this phenomenon myself - Malaysia (or specifically the Malaysian government) is great when it comes to producing documents (visions, plans, blueprints etc...) but drops the ball at the implementation phase.

I'm reminded by the failure of former Education Minister Musa Muhammed's 10-year Education Development Blueprint 2001-2010 to make any significant impact in shaping our education system. For some historical perspective, you can read what Lim Kit Siang had to say about this here and here.

Some of the policies implemented seemed to contradict those outlined in the Musa plan and in some case, Dr. M seemed to have overidden the Minister on certain key decisions. Will the same happen to Hisham? Will the lack of continuity at this key Ministry affect the implementation of this Blueprint if a cabinet reshuffle takes Hisham to another Ministry? Only time well tell.

In the meantime, I hope that all of us can do our part in reading, analyzing and distilling the contents of the National Education Blueprint 2006-2010 when it will be posted on MOE's website on January 12, 2007. More importantly, I hope all of us can do our part in trying to keep the Ministry accountable to its own Blueprint.


Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas and a Happy Healthy and Educational 2007 to KM & TP.

To quote KM,

"Will the lack of continuity at this key Ministry affect the implementation of this Blueprint if a cabinet reshuffle takes Hisham to another Ministry? Only time well tell."

Not only time will tell. I can also tell. Right now. As you suggested earlier in your post, blueprints are just that - blueprints. They are there for the purpose of, and fulfill only, one single objective, i.e., the need to issue blueprints.

After that, a Cabinet reshuffle, and "Next, please!". Meaning another blueprint, of course.

We are all already blue in the face with blueprints. Please enlighten me as to which blueprint has succeeded. To date, the mother of all blueprints, the NEP, has become a "Never Ending (blue)Print". For as long as I can recall, government officers, be they heads of departments or Ministers, will publish grandiose plans at the commencement of their respective tenures, knowing all too well that they will not be carrying the baby come nearer the target dates.

TDM's Wawasan 2020 is another example of these nauseating blueprints. TDM sets a catchy-sounding target date, pats himself on the back, and plans for his own egress from the scene. He cannot possibly have believed that he will still be at the helm come 2020 cos that would have made him the oldest PM is the history of the world at over 90! At that age, he cannot possibly read any print, never mind having a 2020 vision.

No, Kian Ming, I shall not care to read the blueprint of the grandson of that loved and respected, and visionary, Dato Onn who never waved his keris; that would merely prepare myself for all sorts of disappointment. As the saying goes, what I dont know wont hurt me.

Talking about the 2 Hishams, are you surprised? These are politicians, meaning that are not your constant people, they do not stand on their principles simply because they do not believe in principles, except for the only relevant principle of self-enrichment.

The Jekyll and Hyde story is about an experiment gone wrong. In Hisham's case, it is a controlled experiment, controlled behaviour to suit the audience of the moment, never mind the repercussions. Both cases, however, bears the similarity that the intention meets that only relevant principle.

To all Malaysians, have a safe and healthy 2007. May all be well.

Anonymous said...

When I read his speech, it became clear immediately that this is more about the Minister boosting his resume than anything revolutionary to expect Why? Nothing in his statement says anything about measuring what is going on particularly about performance measurement for the entire system. Why because they won't introduce real competition, and real benchmarking because the entire system especially the political leaders can't take the bad news..

Malaysian education at a cross road? No its a critical danger of being irrelevant.

Anonymous said...

Language is a very sktchy form of communication. Most people make snap judgments of speakers, based on statements made within a day, or month or year. No psyche is ever so simple.