Education blueprint: Master languages, especially English, says PM

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysians should be able to be master several languages as they live in a multicultural environment.

“After 55 years, each Malaysian must be able to speak Bahasa Malaysia well... this is not a political issue but a national one, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said Tuesday.

“English (language) is a reality; (it is) not a zero sum game but an asset if we can speak well in English,” he said.

He added that English Literature can help improve proficiency in the language and suggested that students could start with abridged version of Shakespeare.

“If this is too hard, you can even start with Enid Blyton,” he said during his speech before launching the preliminary report on the Malaysian Education Blueprint 2013 2025 here on Tuesday.

Najib said education was a national issue and should not fall prey to party sentiments.

“As leaders, we should be brave enough to de-politicise' education, for the sake of our children, and not to be populist,” he said.

The weaknesses of the current education system could not be ignored if the country was to move forward, he said, adding it was better to acknowledge the shortcomings of the system than be in a “denial syndrome”.

“We need to have creative and innovative approaches to solve our existing problems.”

The preliminary report was developed following research and public engagement that was carried out by the Education Ministry.

The report aims to understand the current performance and challenges of the education system, establish a clear vision for the next 13 years, and outline a comprehensive transformation programme for the system.

“For someone with experience in running the Education Ministry, I understand the task of putting together a futuristic and long-term blueprint is challenging.

“All of us who are here in the hall, and the other 28mil Malaysians, have an interest in education and consider ourselves education experts,” he said.

Najib said the key element for the blueprint to be successful was its execution.

“We must not work in silos. The stakes are too high (and) we cannot fail the Malaysian people,” he said.

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