The Education Minister speaks on how the National Education Advisory Council will help to create a system that has the ability to compete with the rest of the world.
IN ORDER to infuse our education philosophy into the National Education Policy (NEP), the Education Act 1996 (Act 550) among others provides for the establishment of a National Education Advisory Council (NEAC). The NEAC’s function is to give independent advice to the Government on matters related to education.
I have always believed in consultative engagement with experts of diverse backgrounds.
Our ministry has appointed seven members, with an additional four members soon to be announced, to serve as members of the NEAC - playing a significant role in uplifting our current education system.
I trust that members of the NEAC, headed by former Education director-general Tan Sri Dr Wan Mohd Zahid Mohd Noordin who was also the chairman of this council for 2010-2012, will advise me accordingly.
Dr Wan Mohd Zahid is recognised as one of Malaysia’s most prominent figures in education. His aspirations are clear: to ensure equal access to education, nurture students that are globally competitive and inculcate a culture of love in schools, while ensuring that the whole experience of education is an enjoyable one.
Royal Selangor International Sdn Bhd chairman Tan Sri Yong Poh Kon as deputy chairman of the NEAC, on the other hand is a well-respected corporate figure who has contributed greatly to education. He will help us rethink how our graduates can better match market needs and industrial demands. This is crucial if we are to increase employability and overcome the problem of youth unemployment.
The other five members of the NEAC also represent important stakeholders of the education system.
As the co-founder and chairman of the Parent Action Group for Education Malaysia (PAGE), Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim can share parents’ perspectives on education. Moreover, she also chairs the Elena Cooke Education Fund that was launched in 2009 to assist needy children to pursue higher education.
Datuk Satinah Syed Saleh, played a crucial role in formulating the Education Act 1996 (Act 550) and the Private Higher Educational Institutions Act 1996 (Act 555). She was also the head of the Project Management Office (Phase I) which reviewed the Malaysian education system that culminated with the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025.
I have also included Datuk Dr Sukiman Sarmani in the NEAC to benefit from his 40 years’ experience as a lecturer and academic administrator, who oversaw the development and assessment of the science curriculum in universities.
Air Defence Artillery Group Malaysia Commander Brig-Jen Datuk Yusri Anwar has also been roped into this council. One might wonder, why a military brigadier-general is also in the NEAC? He was appointed for his insights on how patriotism can be encouraged through education. Love towards one’s country and the willingness to make sacrifices for its betterment is important in nation building.
Prof Dr Ruzita Mohd Amin, an expert in economic and disability studies, was appointed to ensure that people with special needs have opportunities within the education system. She currently heads the Disability Services Unit at the International Islamic University Malaysia and was a member of the National Council for People with Disabilities. Prof Ruzita is a strong proponent of holistic and inclusive quality education, who wants to see the transformation of special education in the country.
As mentioned, once our laws are amended, there will be an additional four members. They will be educationists who represent views from Sabah and Sarawak as well as the Indian community.
The composition of the NEAC, reflects my desire to transform the education system. To create a system that has the ability to compete with the rest of the world while embodying the values of happiness, love and mutual respect.
I have confidence that the members of the NEAC will, without fear or favour, provide crucial advice to help me develop a holistic and inclusive education system - that realises the hopes of Malaysians from all walks of life.
DR MASZLEE MALIK