Sunday September 16, 2012
Work still in progress
THE Malaysian review panel met on weekends at least once a month to ensure the maximum participation of all members.
Panel chairman Prof Tan Sri Dzulkifli Abdul Razak said since its formation in September 2011, members had convened eight times to review key diagnostic findings, provide ideas on priority themes for action, and also advised on successful implementation for the future development of the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025.
“The meetings were solely for brainstorming and did not include the numerous e-mails, telephone calls, and random discussions that were held as and when urgent issues cropped up.
“The panel did not work late into the night although there were e-mails sent at odd hours. We preferred to work over weekends to ensure maximum participation and active involvement of members,” he said when asked on the making of the Preliminary Report Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025.
Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said in his speech during the launch of the preliminary blueprint, that this was the first time in the country’s history that an education development plan was prepared through public discussion with over 90% of feedback received taken into account.
The panel relied on a number of objectives and verifiable, researched information sources.
For example, Prof Dzulkifli who is Albukhary International University vice-chancellor, said these included reports from Unesco, World Bank, the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) as well as studies on specific research areas conducted by six universities and the Higher Education Ministry.
Others included independent opinions from members of the panel, and also the International Review Panel (from Canada, South Korea, Europe and Singapore).
In addition, national dialogues and consultations involving more than 35,000 participants were held nationwide.
The national dialogues itself included 20 roundtables, 16 town hall meetings in 14 states, more than 155 memoranda, five students’ workshops and school visits as well as input from Facebook, Twitter and online forums.
“The data analysis system showed that more than 7,000 issues pertaining to education and related matters were identified.
“In other words, the net was cast very wide to get as many people as possible on their concerns and feedback. We also monitored media reports and letters to the editors as feedback. The entire process was unique,” he shared.
Muhyiddin who is Education Minister, had likened the making of the Malaysia Education Blueprint as the closest the Government has ever had to a referendum on educational issues.
He said the views of about 50,000 stakeholders contributed to the making of the blueprint. (see chart)
But how was the panel able to sift through so much information?
Prof Dzulkifli said the panel collaborated with Education Ministry officials on pertinent findings and evidence from the various reports.
“This was followed by extensive, free-flowing debates and discussions before arriving at decisions in meeting the expectations of the panel members in transforming the education system.
“There were times that votes were taken to “force” a decision or to prioritise some of the decisions or actions taken.
“Panel members also adopted the processes of a “gallery walk” where details were clarified and explained, particularly when it involved solutions,” he said.
There was no attempt to arrive at a consensus. However, broad agreement was encouraged.
Prof Dzulkifli said it was important to note that panel members represented a cross-section of the community. “They (panel members) shared their concerns from their own experiences,” he added.
Panel members included Khazanah Nasional Berhad managing director Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia vice-chancellor Prof Tan Sri Dr Sharifah Hapsah Syed Hasan Shahabudin, Securities Commission former chairman Tan Sri Zarinah Anwar and 2011 Tokoh Guru Prof Datuk Dr Ab Rahim Selamat.
The other five members who joined the panel in the second phase of the blueprint were Prof Tan Sri Dr Mohd Kamal Hassan from the International Islamic University Malaysia and Sarawak Islamic Council Education Services Bureau director Datuk Dr Adi Badiozaman Tuah, Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman president Prof Datuk Dr Chuah Hean Teik, Prof Dr Rajendran Nagappan from Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris who is also coordinator of the Action Plan for Future of Tamil Schools, and Universiti Teknologi Mara Sabah rector Dr Abdul Kadir Rosline
On the preliminary report, Prof Dzulkifli said: “It is a work in progress as it is not the blueprint as such.”
“It contains several good and credible ideas which are still open for further discussion and evaluation involving the public before the blueprint is finalised by December.”