PETALING JAYA: Malaysian students are below par when compared with their contemporaries in other countries, acknowledged Education Minister II Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh.
Although literacy rates were rising in Malaysia, it was vital to assess and compare the Malaysian education system against international standards, he added.
“Out of 74 countries, Malaysia ranked in the bottom third in the Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) 2009+. This is below the international and OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) average,” he said during the 18th Malaysian Education Summit yesterday.
“Primary and secondary school education standards need to improve, particularly so in bridging the gap between urban and rural areas. Though Malaysia has achieved commendable results in terms of providing access, we have to now ensure that access comes together with quality education of international standards.”
Meanwhile, at the higher education level, he said that the challenge was producing knowledgeable, competent and globally competitive human capital.
“Employers in Malaysia face a major problem when it comes to having fresh graduates fill out vacancies,” he said, citing poor command of English as one of the reasons.
The solution to this is the Malaysia Education Blueprint (MEB) 2012-2025, which was launched last September, as well as the soon-to-be-released National Education Blueprint for Higher Education 2015-2025 (Higher Education Blueprint).
Idris said the MEB offered a vision of the education system and students’ aspirations that Malaysia both needed and deserved and outlined 11 strategic and operation shifts that would be required to achieve that vision.
“The need for the Education Blueprint is justified in the context of raising international standards; the government aspiration of better preparing Malaysian children for the needs of the 21st century; and increased public and parental expectations of education policy,” he said.
“We have had international experts from the World Bank, Unesco, and OECD to work with our national partners to evaluate the performance of our national education system in the development process of the Education Blueprint. Overall, more than 55,000 stakeholders were consulted in its formulation.”
“The Higher Education Blueprint will also be introduced in order to ensure consistency with the primary and secondary education system, and allow for seamless progression in terms of educational offerings, opportunities and advancement,” he added.
The Higher Education Blueprint will address challenges such as empowering university governance, democratising access to higher education and improving graduate employability.
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