Idris: Read blueprint first, then comment

Malaysians who criticise the country’s education system should first read the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025.

Second Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh said that the Government had taken great effort in putting in place certain issues and polices but many people were quick to make their stand and comments without even checking the facts.

He said the ministry had of late received letters from people who raised issues that had already been covered in the blueprint.

“English is one area that we are very serious about,” he said during a press conference after launching the International Conference and Exposition on Invention of Institutions of Higher Learning (Pecipta) 2013.

“Not many people know about (our efforts) because they don’t read (the blueprint),” he said after a reporter cited the medium of instruction in schools as a possible cause for Malaysian students falling behind their counterparts in other countries.

The blueprint aims to put Malaysian schools in the top one-third of the world’s schools by 2025 as part of plans to turn Malaysia into a high-income country by the year 2020.

One of the ways the Government will achieve this is by emphasising the importance of research and development. Pecipta is one of the programmes set in place to promote research and innovation.

Held at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre this year, the event allows participants to explore opportunities with potential business partners and industry players.

From natural dyes produced out of sago to forest health monitoring systems, participants from secondary school students to university academicians displayed their innovations.

“It (The exhibition) gives industry partners the opportunity to see what universities have produced,” said Idris, adding that investors could only invest in products that they knew about.

This is the seventh instalment of Pecipta, held every two years and hosted by different universities. This year’s hosts are Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) and Universiti Malaysia Perlis (UniMAP).

“This year’s event themed “Transforming Research and Innovation Towards Commercialisation” reflects the Government’s seriousness in their agenda towards making Malaysia a developed nation by 2020,” said UUM vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Mohamed Mustafa Ishak.

“Innovation and invention are the keys to any initiative, whether done by the public or private sector, towards increasing economic growth.”

He added that UUM was ever-ready to provide support in promoting the agenda of research and innovation in Malaysia.

UniMAP deputy vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Zul Azhar Zahid Jamal said that for the first time since Pecipta’s inception in 2001, there were international participants from Taiwan, South Korea, Turkey, Egypt, Indonesia, Thailand and Qatar.

“There are 19 research products from this international participation,” said Prof Zul Azhar, adding that Pecipta was an important forum.

“It is here that researchers gather to evaluate and discuss their respective research products, as well as obtain inspiration on how to commercialise their discoveries,” he said.

This year’s three-day exposition showcased a diverse range of over 500 innovative products and inventions by local public and private institutions of higher learning.

Meanwhile, Bernama quoted Idris as saying that the Education Ministry will implement improvements to the School-Based Assessment System (PBSS) which allegedly put undue strain on teachers due to frequent disruptions on student data that had to be keyed in late into the night.

Expressing his concern over the problem faced by teachers in implementing the PBSS, Idris assured them that they would get a better system when schools reopen in January next year.

“Perhaps in our zealousness to implement the PBSS, we have too many systems that might have caused problems,” Idris said.

Idris was commenting on a statement by Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia lecturer Assoc Prof Datuk Dr Mohammad Agus Yusoff on the weaknesses of the system which had caused difficulties for teachers. The problems arose when they were entering data and updating student records.

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