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EDUCATION IN MALAYSIA: A HISTORICAL REVIEW

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1.0 INTRODUCTION

Informal education in Malaysia began since the Malacca Sultanate. For decades, the education in Malaysia went through a series of transformation according to local needs. There was no significant change in the provision of education during the occupancy of Portuguese and Dutch. However, the arrival of the English in 1786 brought a new era in education for the Malays until it was disrupted by the invasion of the Japanese in 1941. After the fall of the Japanese in 1945, the English again played a significant role in the development of education until Malaya achieved its independence from the British on 31 st August 1957.

Since independence, education in Malaysia has undergone tremendous changes and development. From a diverse and fragmented system of education based upon communal needs, it has evolved into an education system that strives to build a united nation according to the Malaysian mould. Malaysia aims to produce a competitive society that is strong, united and resilient in facing challenges and adversity.

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1.1 PRE-INDEPENDENCE : EDUCATION DURING THE BRITISH OCCUPANCY (1824-1957)


Prior to attaining independence from the British in 1957, there was an absence of uniformity in the provision of education. Each ethnic group established its own school. Malay, English, Chinese and Tamil schools used their respective medium of instruction, curricula, books and teachers. Children of different ethnic background could only study together in English schools. Teachers for the Chinese and Tamil schools were brought in from China and India respectively while local Malays were recruited to teach in Malay schools. At that time, education was focused on maintaining loyalty towards the country of origin. As a result, segregation existed among the ethnic groups.

1.1.1

English Schools
The establishment of English schools in Malaya was led by the British government, individuals and Christian missionaries. The missionaries felt that it was an opportunity to spread Christianity among locals. The curriculum emphasized preparing students for the Cambridge Overseas School Certificate. Students who obtained good results in the School Certificate examination were given the opportunity to further their education at the diploma level at Kings Edward Medical College VII in Singapore and degree level at University of England.

1.1.2

Malay Schools
Initially, education among the Malays was informal and mainly focused on Al Quran and religious matter. The British government, on the other hand, set up Malay schools to teach Malay children to become better farmers than their parents. The first Malay school was established in 1855 in Gelugur, Pulau Pinang.

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1.1.3

Religious Schools
Sekolah Agama Madrasah or Islamic religious schools were pervasively established to compete with English and Malay schools by Islamic religious figures such as Sheikh Tahir Jalaluddin and Sayid Syeikh Ahmad Al-Hadi. These schools had better infrastructure, and were more organized and systematic compared to sekolah pondok. The establishment of these religious schools provided a sense of security among the Malays that the position of Islam was secured despite the influence of other religions and way of life brought about by the English and vernacular schools. However, the aim to build a modern, rationale and progressive Muslim society was not realized as the curriculum lacked emphasis on Mathematics, Science and English Language, which were considered as essential subjects to promote mobility amongst a modern Muslim society.

1.1.4

Chinese Schools
The Chinese was brought to Malaya from mainland China to work at the tin mines in urban areas. Chinese schools were established and financed by this community until the 1920s. The curriculum, textbooks and teachers were brought in from China. The first Chinese school was set up in Malacca in 1816 by a group of missionaries from London. The Chinese schools were very much influenced by the reformation movement in mainland China.

1.1.5

Tamil Schools
The Indians were brought into Malaya to work in estates and plantations. The development and growth of Tamil schools was thus closely linked to the opening of rubber estates in Penang, Malacca and Johore. The textbooks and teachers were brought in from India while the curriculum was adapted from the Indian curriculum.

1.2 EDUCATION DURING THE JAPANESE OCCUPANCY (1942-1945)


Malaya was occupied by the Japanese from 1941-1945. The Japanese army continued the vernacular schools but added the Japanese language into the curriculum. The Japanese established the Nippon-Go school which emphasized on the culture and values of the Japanese. There were no clear educational objectives during the occupation, merely as a tool to assist the Japanese administer the country.

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1.3 DEVELOPMENT OF EDUCATION IN SABAH AND SARAWAK


The British government did not give due emphasis on the development of vernacular schools for the native of Sabah and Sarawak. Efforts to build schools in remote areas were initiated by the Christian missionaries. Before 20th century, schools that taught the Quran was established by Muslims from Bajau, Sulu, Illanum and various ethnics. The Woodhead Report (1955) recommended that emphasis be made on the:

importance of primary education; need to improve primary and secondary education; provision for primary and secondary education, and need to establish a teaching service in North Borneo.

1.4 POST INDEPENDENCE: EDUCATION DURING POSTINDEPENDENCE (1957-1970)

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Prior to independence, there was awareness amongst the leaders and the locals for the need to replace the education system for all. This awareness resulted in the Razak Report 1956. The Education Committee Report 1956 established an education system that incorporated national characteristics and guaranteed a place in schools for all children regardless of their ethnic or religion. The education policies as outlined in the Razak Report were the foundation in the formulation of a national education system that placed high emphasis on national unity. In 1960, a Review Committee looked into the implementation of recommendations made by the Razak Report. The findings of this committee, known as the Rahman Talib Report, confirmed the educational policy in the Razak Report and its general acceptance by the public. The recommendations of these two reports became the integral components of the Education Act 1961. In January 1976, the Act was extended to Sabah and Sarawak, which had been incorporated into the formation of Malaysia in 1963. The most important challenges facing the new nation after independence were unity and democratization of education. The process of consolidating the diverse school systems into a cohesive national education system, with the national language as the main medium of instruction, was initiated. In 1957, all existing primary schools were converted to national and national-type schools. Malay medium primary schools were renamed national schools. English, Chinese and Tamil schools became national-type primary schools. Whilst Malay was the medium of instruction in national schools, English and the vernacular languages were the medium of instruction in nation-type schools. The national language was made a compulsory subject in there national-type-schools. The English national-type schools were converted into national schools in stages beginning 1968, with the implementation of five subjects taught in the Malay language for Year One to Year Three pupils. English and Chinese secondary schools were converted to national-type secondary schools. These schools became fully or partially assisted schools. Private Chinese Schools that opted to become government-aided schools were termed as Conforming schools. In 1958, Malay medium secondary education classes started as an annex in English secondary schools. In 1962, school fees were abolished in all fully assisted primary schools. Free primary education was made available to all children regardless of their ethnic or religion. The entrance examination into the secondary school, the Malaysia Secondary School examination was abolished in 1964 and the universal education was extended from six to nine years in Peninsular Malaysia. This examination was abolished in Sarawak in 1974 and in Sabah in 1977.
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1.5 EDUCATIONAL DEVELOPMENT DURING THE ERA OF NEW ECONOMIC POLICY (1971-1990)
Social and economic issues shaped the development of education from 1971 to 1990. This was the period of New Economic Policy (NEP) that is a socio-economic policy to achieve national unity and development. The NEP brought about significant changes in the national education system. All pupils follow the same curriculum and sit for same examinations. Science and technical subjects were offered at the secondary level to produce skilled workforce in the areas of science and technology. The provision of education, which was more focused in urban centers, was extended to rural areas. More schools were built in the rural areas hence providing greater access for rural children, especially the economically disadvantaged. In 1974, a Cabinet Committee was formed to study the implementation of the national education system. The focus of this committee was to ensure that the education system was able to produce citizens who are united, progressive, disciplined and talented in diverse fields as required to achieve the national mission. As a result, the New Integrated Primary School Curriculum (KBSR) was formulated in 1983 and the New Integrated Secondary School Curriculum (KBSM) in 1989.

1.6 EDUCATIONAL DEVELOPMENT DURING THE ERA OF NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT POLICY (1991-2000)
Drastic changes in education took place with the vast development of ICT hasten the globalization era. In concurrence with the demands of globalization and the information and technology era, Vision 2020 was launched by Dato Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad in 1991 to aspire Malaysians towards achieving the status of a developed nation by the year 2020. The 1961 Education Act was replaced with the 1996 Education Act, which one of the major amendments made was to include preschool into National Education System. The enactment of the 1996 Private Higher Education Act was also amended to allow the establishments of more private higher education institutes. The MOE formulated four acts to encourage a more systematic development of higher education. The acts are:

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1996 National Higher Education Council Act to allow the establishment of a council that will determine the policy and manage development of higher education.

1996 National Accreditation Board Act- quality assurance, especially for the private higher education programmes.

1996 University and College University Act (Amendment)- grants more financial and management autonomy to public universities.

1996 National Higher Education Fund Cooperation Act- provides student loans and funds in order to increase access to the higher education.

Measures were also taken to improve leadership qualities amongst school heads and administrators which Institut Aminuddin Baki (IAB) was entrusted with the task to provide leadership and management training.

1.7 EDUCATION DEVELOPMENT DURING THE ERA OF NATIONAL VISION POLICY (2001-2010)
Globalization, liberalization and the vast development of ICT has influenced the development of the national education system. The challenge for the nation is to produce human capitals that are knowledgeable, competent and globally competitive.

The National Education Policy was formulated based on the education Ordinance of 1957 which was later amended through the Razak Report (1956), the Rahman Talib Report (1960) and the Cabinet Committee Report (1979). To promote unity amongst the Malaysians, the education system was extended to 11 years of schooling with Malay language as the medium instruction, a uniformed national curriculum and a standardized national assessment.

Developing competency and efficiency amongst leaders, teachers and education officers was also an important agenda during the period of time. Empowerment and learning organization concept were widely instilled and encouraged. Allocations were made to promote continuous human resource development

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1.8 EDUCATION DEVELOPMENT PLAN 2001-2010


The Education Blueprint
The Education Development Plan for Malaysia (2001-2010) also referred to as the Blueprint takes into account the goals and the aspirations of the National Vision Policy to build a resilient nation, encourage the creation of a just society, maintain sustainable economic growth, develop global competitiveness, build a knowledge-based economy (K-economy), strengthen human resource development and maintain sustainable environmental development. The Blueprint aims to ensure that all citizens have the opportunity to twelve years of education in terms of access, equity and quality.

The Blueprint focuses on the development of pre-school, primary, secondary and tertiary education which will be strengthened through the development of support programmes, funding, management and integration of information and communication technology (ICT). The Blueprint is used as a framework for preparing action plans for education development, which encompass the expansion and strengthening of existing programmes as well as the replacements of non-relevant programmes with new programmes that are more realistic to current and future needs. The education Development Plan was developed based on four thrusts:

to increase access to education; to increase equity to education; to increase quality of education; and to increase the competency and efficiency level of the educational management.

To implement the programmes in the Blueprint, the Federal Government continuously increased funds allocation for MOE.

1.9 EDUCATION DEVELOPMENT MASTER PLAN (EDMP) 2006-2010


The Education Development Master Plan (EDMP) was launched on 16 January 2007 to promote the education agenda under the 9th Malaysian Plan (9MP). The EDMP outline six thrusts that mirror the objectives of the National Mission. The aim of the EDMP is to provide quality education for all. To ensure this goal this goal is achieved, two main approaches have been identified under the Ninth Malaysia Plan:
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Complete tasks specified under the previous five-year plan, ensure access to education for all and to provide equal opportunities for all students. Further develop the potential of schools in their respective clusters of educational institutions, enabling teachers and students to promote the schools and the national education system at the international level.

THE EDMP STRATEGIC THRUSTS


Six strategic thrusts have been identified to strengthen the national education system:

The MOE aspires to produce citizens who passes local, global and patriotic, who value and treasure the cultural heritage and arts from the formative school years. The desire to build a nation can be achieved by strengthening the Malay language, improving students discipline, fully implementing the Student Integration Plan for Unity (RIMUP) including co-curricular and sports activities to develop the identity and by cultivating positive tarits and courtesy among students. Focus and implementation strategies:

Strengthening the national language as the basis for unity and knowledge Strengthening unity and national integration Cultivating love for arts, heritage and national culture Promoting a clear understanding of Islam Hadhari

The MOE focuses on the development of positive value systems, discipline and character building of students. This thrust aspires to produce students competent in science and technology, innovative, creative and marketable. The MOE will provide a holistic assessment and evaluation system, mould students discipline and emphasise on cleanliness, health and safety. Focus and implementation strategies:

Providing more education choices for parents and students Enhancing capacity and mastery of knowledge Developing skills and students personality Strengthening evaluation and assessment system to become more holistic
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Enhancing co-curriculum and sports programmes Strengthening students discipline Enhancing disciplinary complaint system service Strengthening curriculum Enhancing MOEs smart partnership with various agencies.

The MOE aims to strengthen the national schools (primary and secondary) as the school of choice. In this regard, national schools will be equipped with sufficient and quality education facilities including clean water, electricity supply and ICT infrastructure. These schools will have sufficient trained teachers according to options as well as adequate numbers of supporting staff. Focus and implementation strategies:

Strengthening the leadership of the principal/head and quality of teachers Reinforcing the school culture Reinforcing the developing curriculum Reinforcing co-curriculum and sport system Improving the support system Improving academic performance of the National Schools Improving the infrastructure and performance of National Schools

The MOE aims to bridge the education gap in terms of the provision of physical and nonphysical amenities, students achievements and drop-out rate. Hence, the MOE will continue to develop infrastructure and educational facilities especially in the rural areas of Sabah and Sarawak. These schools will be provided with the required infrastructure as stipulated under the Ninth Malaysia Plan. The MOE will also increase aid for poor students, students with special needs, and minority group, bridge the digital gap and emplace trained teachers according to subject specializations in rural and remote areas. Focus and implementation strategies:

Developing infrastructure and educational facilities in rural and remote areas Increasing the participation rate and reducing the risks of drop-out Increasing the number of trained teachers according to options in remote areas

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Improving the distribution systems of the support programme for poor students, students with special needs and students from minority groups

Efforts to elevate the teaching profession are aimed at making it a respected profession in line with the responsibility of moulding future generations. The MOE has upgraded teacher training colleges to teacher education institutes to raise the qualification of teachers to degree level. The Moe will also improve the systems for teacher selection, services, placements and welfare. Focus and implementation strategies:

Implementing a stringent selection system for teacher candidates Strengthening teacher training Strengthening the teacher career Improving the working environment and wellbeing of teachers Strengthening human resource planning and management

The effort to accelerate excellence in educational institutions is planned through the establishment of cluster schools based on their niche in academic, co-curricular and sports activities. Selected schools in these clusters will be benchmarked and showcased at the international level in line with efforts to develop a quality and world-class education system. Focus and implementation strategies:

Ensuring strong and effective leadership Selecting capable and highly skilled teachers and trainers Allowing greater autonomy to schools Creating a system of accountability Setting standards and benchmarks that are exemplary for developing and developed countries Strengthening Malaysia as a hub for educational excellence Initiating changes and innovations.
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1.10 MALAYSIA EDUCATION BLUEPRINT 2013-2025


The National Education Blueprint was launched with comprehensive review by Ministry of Education in October 2011. This decision was made in the context of rising international education standards, the Governments aspiration of better preparing Malaysias children for the needs of 21st century, and increases public and parental expectations of education policy.

This preliminary Education Blueprint is the result of extensive research and public engagement carried out by the Ministry of Education. The Blueprint was developed with three objectives:

1.

Understanding the current performance and challenges of the Malaysian education system, with focus on improving, access to education, raising standards (quality), closing achievement gaps (equity), promoting unity amongst students and maximizing system efficiency.

2.

Establishing a clear vision and aspirations for individual students and the education system as a whole over the next 13 years

3.

Outlining a comprehensive transformation programme for the system, including key changes to the Ministry which will allow to meet new demands and rising expectations and to ignite and support overall civil service transformation.

Eleven Shifts to Transform the System are: 1.


Provide equal access to quality education of an international standard

Benchmark the learning of language, Mathematics and Science to international standards. Launch new Secondary (KSSM) and revised Primary Curriculum (KSSR) in 2007 Revamp examinations and assessment to increase focus on testing higher-order thinking skills by 2016 Raise quality of preschools and push to 100% enrolment by 2020. Move from 6-11 years of compulsory schooling, starting at age 6+; supported by retention initiatives and job-ready vocational training. Increase investment in physical and teaching resources for students with special needs.

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2.

Ensure every child is proficient in Bahasa Malaysia and English Language

Introduce a common Bahasa Malaysia curriculum at the primary level, with earlier intensive remedial support for students that struggle to allow for removal of peralihan class.


3.

Expand the LINUS programme to include English language literacy. Upskill English language teachers and expand opportunities to greater exposure to English language. Encourage every child to learn an additional language by 2005.

Develop value-driven Malaysian

Strengthen civics elements by making community service a pre-requisite to graduation by 2017 Enhance Islamic and Moral Education with greater focus on core values and underlying philosophies of major religions by 2017. Develop students holistically by reinforcing requirement to participate in 1 Sport, 1 Club and 1 Uniformed Body. Enhance and expand RIMUP from 2016 to facilitate interaction across school types, ethnicities and socio-economic groups.

4.

Transform Teaching into the profession of choice.


5.

Raise entry bar for teachers from 2013 to be amongst top 30% of graduate. Upgrade the quality and personalization of CPD from 2013 with greater emphasis on school-based training. Focus teachers on their core function of teaching from 2013 by reducing administration burdens. Implement competency and performance-based career progression by 2016. Enhance pathways for teachers into leadership, master teaching and subject specialist roles by 2016. Peer-led culture of excellence and certification process by 2025.

Ensure high-performing school leaders in every school.

Competency-based selection criteria and enhanced succession planning processes for principals from 2013 New Principal Career Package rolled-out in waves from 2013, with greater support, greater operational flexibility for school improvement, curriculum and cocurricular planning and sharper accountability for improving student outcomes.
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6.

Empower JPNs, PPDs and Schools to compromise solutions based on need

Accelerate school improvement through systematic, district-led programmes in all states by 2014 Allow greater school-based management and autonomy, including greater operational flexibility over budget allocation and curriculum implementation, starting with the best performing and most improved schools.

Ensure 100% of schools meet basic infrastructure requirements by 2015, starting with Sabah and Sarawak

7.

Leverage ICT to scale up quality learning across Malaysia

Provide internet access and virtual learning environment via 1BestariNet for all 10,000 schools by 2013 Augment online best practice content starting with a video library of best teachers delivering lessons in critical subjects in 2013. Maximise use of ICT for distance and self-paced learning to expand capacity and allow for more customized learning.

8.

Transform Ministry delivery capabilities and capacity

Empower JPNs and PPDs through greater decision making power over budget and personnel while also holding them accountable for common KPIs from 2013 Deploy almost 2,500 more personnel from Head Office and JPNs to PPDs to better support schools by 2014 Strengthen leadership capabilities in pivotal 150-200 leadership roles from 2013. Strengthen key central functions and rationalize structure of Ministry from 2016.

9.

Partner with parents, community and private sector at scale.

Equip every parents to support their childs learning via a parent engagement toolkit and online access to their childs in-school progress 9SAPS System) Invite every PIBG/PTA to provide input on contextualization of curriculum and teacher quality from 2016 Expand Trust school model to 500 schools by 2025 by including alumni groups and NGOs as potential sponsors.

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10. Maximize student outcomes for every ringgit.

Link every programme to clear student outcomes and annually rationalize programmes that have low impact: align to governments overall shift towards outcome-based budgeting

Capture efficiency opportunities, with funding reallocated to the most critical areas such as teacher training and upskilling.

11. Increase transparency for direct public accountability.

Publish an annual public report on progress against Blueprint targets and initiatives, starting for the year 2013. Conduct comprehensive stock takes in 2015, 2020 and 2025 to ensure Blueprint remains relevant by incorporating stakeholder feedback and accounting for an ever evolving external environment

EXCERCISE
1. State the differences between Quranic Schools and Pondok as the earliest forms of education in Malaysia. 2. In the 19th century, the majority of Malay parents did not trust secular education. Discuss the reasons for Malay parents to have had such an attitude. 3. The report of the Education Committee, commonly referred to as the Razak Report (1956) made FOUR (4) recommendations, which marked a milestone in the evolution of a national system of education. Elaborate each recommendation. 4. Discuss the following aspects of Abdul Rahman Talib Report (1960) a. b. c. d. 5. National Language Transition classes Automatic Upgrade Moral subjects

Education is one of the most important elements in the development of human capital towards achieving the status of developed nation. a. List FIVE (5) strategies outlined in the Education Development Master Plan (EDMP), Ministry Of Education (MOE) to strengthen National Schools.

6.

Explain briefly the objectives and approach of the review to the implementation of Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025.
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REFERENCES
Mok Soon Sang. (2005.) Education Studies for KPLI (Sekolah Rendah). Puchong: Multimedia ES Resources Sdn Bhd Curriculum Development Division. (2011). Ministry of Education Malaysia. Ornstein, A.C & Hunkins, F.P. (2004). Curriculum: Foundations, Principles and Issues. Boston: Allyn & Bacon Malaysia, Educational Planning and Research Division. Education in Malaysia. A Journey to Excellence. (2008) Ministry of Education, Malaysia. Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013: www.moe.gov.my/userfiles/file/PPP/Preliminary-Blueprint-Eng.pdf Basic School Information January 2008. Ministry of Education, Malaysia. Educational development in Malaysia and Oman: Two Sucess Stories 2008. Ministry of Education, Malaysia and Sultanate of Oman, Ministry of Education. Panduan Pengurusan Sekolah Berkesan (2006). Bahagian Sekolah Kementerian Pelajaran Malaysia. Pelan Induk Pembangunan Pendidikan (PIPP) 2006-2010. Kementerian Pelajaran Malaysia Pelan Strategik Pengajian Tinggi Negara: Melangkaui 2020, Kementerian Pengajian Tinggi Malaysia. Quick Facts 2007, Education Planning and Research Division, Ministry of Education Malaysia. Quick Facts 2008, Education Planning and Research Division, Ministry of Education Malaysia. Written report, information and statistics from respective divisions in the Ministry of Education, Malaysia www.moe.gov/bppdp (website of Education Planning and Research Division, Ministry of Education, Malaysia.

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