As a former Education Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi understand the needs and problems faced by the education sector which is a priority area for him, reports GAVIN GOMEZ.
PRIME Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi did not waste any time in leaving his mark on education. His call for an “education revolution” in an effort to make graduates more marketable was made just two days after taking over at the helm.
Education Minister Tan Sri Musa Mohamad was quick to reply that the revolution talked about by Abdullah had actually started since Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s tenure as Education Minister from 1995 to 1999 and that the premier’s statement was more of a reminder to continue current efforts to develop the sector.
Musa had said that efforts such as the ministry’s 10-year Education Blueprint 2001-2010 and curriculum revamps were testimony to the Government’s effort to revolutionise the education system.
Abdullah’s image as a stickler for transparency, reflected in his announcement that most government procurement and contracts would now be done through open tender, has also gone down well with the education sector which just last year was plagued by the fiasco of shoddy workmanship of computer laboratories.
The education industry is optimistic that Abdullah’s tenure as Prime Minister will see renewed confidence in the country’s institutions of learning, earning the sector a reputable name worldwide.
“A period of consolidation” was how one industry player described Abdullah’s term as prime minister.
National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) executive secretary Datuk N. Siva Subramaniam:
“Pak Lah has had a remarkable first 100 days as Prime Minister. He knows where he is going and what he is doing. I believe he will continue to push for increased unity and interaction among the races.
“In terms of education, I think we will see changes geared towards a truly Malaysian education where multi-culturalism will get priority. There will be greater emphasis on religious and language classes towards this end.”
KBU International College’s chief executive officer Datuk Teo Chiang Liang:
“The Prime Minister has identified education as being very important to the country when he said that it was necessary if we want to be a knowledge-based economy. I commend him for that.
“We hope that the policies and regulations for the private higher education industry will now reflect his aim of making education a priority.”
Federation of Malaysian Headmasters Council president Yahya Zakaria:
“He has done a good job. The people feel a little more at ease with him. The fact that he is being very strict with government departments shows his commitment to quality.
“He has stressed a lot on education and now we will see him lead the country to be on par with other countries that are leaders in education.”
National Association of Private Higher Educational Institutions (Napei) president Dr Mohd Talha Alithamby:
“After a rapid pace of development, the country is now at a stage of consolidation and Pak Lah has done well to encourage this.
There is confidence that the succession of power was deserving.”
Betty Lim, teacher:
“Pak Lah impresses me as a religious and practical leader, a model of kesederhanaan (moderation). He started off by putting our Home Ministry in order before forging closer ties with foreign countries. He is no doubt an effective and efficient leader.”
Alina Hua Xiu Min, Form Four student, SM Assunta, Petaling Jaya:
“Pak Lah is doing a great job as Prime Minister, especially in maintaining peace and security in the country, for example, with the spot-check he conducted at the Immigration Department and his effort to put an end to bribery in the country.
“I believe he will be able to continue and achieve Dr Mahathir’s Vision 2020.”
Cassie Forsythe, 19, student, HELP Institute:
“I really respect the way he is going around doing spot-checks on government offices. I also support his view that people should look at themselves first before pointing fingers at others when things go wrong.
“He does not cover up anything for anyone. He is truly a fair leader.”