Maszlee: Major changes to country's education system 'just the beginning'

  • Nation
  • Friday, 13 Dec 2019

KUALA LUMPUR: The country’s education system has seen major changes in the past year, and this is just the beginning.

“There’s still lots more to be done. Everything that we do today is for our children in schools and universities. We must keep focused, be consistent and continue moving forward," said its minister Dr Maszlee Malik on Friday(Dec 13).

He added in the ministry’s ‘Education for All’ report card for the year that the ministry must work hard to solve issues with urgency as he is worried that time is not on its side.

On Thursday (Dec 12), he posted a teaser on social media asking "what were the ministry's biggest achievements for 2019 other than black shoes?"

In the last 12 months, the Education Ministry carried out 53 initiatives that were focused on bringing back love and care to education, the quality of teaching and learning, autonomy and accountability, reading and the (Pakatan Harapan) manifesto.

He said the ministry wants to make Malaysia a reading nation by 2030.

The just released report said that 90% of projects involving dilapidated schools had been completed, 526 classes and 75 schools for disabled students were opened, and 4,369 dropouts went back to school.

“I can’t imagine what would happen to these children if they weren’t in school today, ” he said.

According to the report, over 96% of Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) graduates are marketable, a special entrance pathway to public universities for 38,282 low-income (B40) students were provided, and teacher workload was cut by half.

Maszlee said that reforming the education system is not only by printing words in books or blueprint documents, adding that only by paying attention to teachers could reforms be more effectively implemented.

Other highlights in the 2019 report card on the five focus areas are:

1) Bringing back love and care to education

> Special needs students

- There were 88,419 special needs students in schools nationwide last year compared to only 83,598 in 2018.

> B40

- 52.8% entry to fully residential schools

- 51,191 students got into public institutions of higher learning and public and private skills training institutes through the special entry pathway

- 62.06% entered matriculation programmes

- RM68.1mil worth of scholarships for 31,614 students

> Teachers

- Abolished the attendance manual and Linus

- Approved transfers of 15,565 unhappy teachers

- Health and canteen forms to be handled by academic and administrative assistants

- New SOPs introduced to ensure teacher safety

- A teacher development document to enhance professionalism was developed

> Students

- Exams for Years One, Two and Three abolished

- 2,636 undocumented children registered in schools

- The Education Act 1996 was revised to make education compulsory until secondary level

2) Quality of teaching and learning

> System reforms

- A policy research committee was set up to recommend improvements to the education system

- A White Paper was planned to enhance the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) system

- A special committee was set up to study the issues concerning the disabled community and inclusive guidelines at public higher learning institutions

- A special committee was set up to study the educational needs of the orang asli

- A final report on the management enhancement and harmonising of the Private Higher Education Act (Act 555) with the Universities and University Colleges Act (Auku) 1971 was prepared

- TVET Empowerment Cabinet Committee comprising five ministries was set up

> Digital reforms

- 10,208 schools enjoyed a minimum Internet speed of 30mbps & 100mbps (Fiber)

- Quality Internet access was improved

- No more monopoly of Internet supplier and provider

- Google Classroom used in 40,450 classes, 32,036 teachers and 364,204 students nationwide

- 100 Digital Maker Hubs set up in schools in a collaboration with the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC)

> Improved performance

- Students did better in reading, mathematics and science in the Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) 2018 assessment compared to 2012

- 120 local universities were listed in the QS-World Universities Ranking (WUR) 2020

- 29 public and private higher learning institutions were listed in QS Asia 2020. Universiti Malaya (UM) (19th, up to 13th), Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) (34th, up to 33rd); Universiti Sains Malaysia (43rd, up to 37th); Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (41st, up to 39th), Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (47th, up to 40th) and Universiti Teknologi Petronas (UTP) (99th, up to 82nd)

- Nine polytechnics were awarded gold status by the Asia Pacific Accreditation and Certification Commission (APACC) 2019

> Dilapidated schools

- 452 of 534 schools are now safe and operational

- 1,216 dilapidated science labs have been repaired

- Impact scale used to ensure project quality


- 54,789 of 61,510 graduates were employed

- 547 courses recognised by the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA) and Engineering Technology Accreditation Council (ETAC)

- 16,625 industry collaborations to guarantee jobs for graduates.

- 2,396 students involved in dual-track programme (which includes TVET in higher learning institutes)

3) Autonomy and accountability

> Higher education

- RM455mil research grant to solve community problems

- 14,911 special entrance pathway offers for the disabled, athletes, orang asli and B40 students

- 43 schools, 24 universities, and 1,000 participants joined the “Sekolahku Universitiku” (My school, my university) programme where schools are ‘adopted’ by varsities

- 237 intellectual programmes involving the Government and Opposition in 17 public universities

- Oct 5 was declared Academic Day and October will be marked as Academic Month yearly

> Student activism

- 20 student-conducted campus elections were held at all public universities

- Student union was set up at Universiti Islam Antarabangsa Malaysia (UIAM)

- 43 students were appointed to the Senate in 20 public universities

4) Reading

- Kuala Lumpur was named World Book Capital for the year 2020 by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco)

- RM5,000 monthly incentive for National Laureates

- Writers at Faculty programme introduces National Laureates to youngsters

- 3,703 reading programmes carried out nationwide

5) (Pakatan Harapan) Manifesto

- The PTPTN has abolished the blacklisting (of defaulters), exemption for borrowers earning less than RM2,000, write-off or discount for excellent students and those in the B40 group, and tax incentive for employers who pay for the employees without deducting their salaries.

- The Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) task force which was set up had conducted 48 sessions involving 406 individuals with the aim of producing a detailed report on the recognition of the examination.

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