There has been a lot of talks about Malaysia’s education system, from the government (particularly the Ministry of Education, MoE), business leaders and executives, Malaysians who had the honour of studying overseas, journalist in the education sector, etc. Some highlighted the issues, some gave recommendations on how to improve our education system.
I recently read a forum piece on the Weekly Edge (my weekly read to keep up with Malaysia’s development) by Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim, chairman of the Parent Action Group for Education. According to her, government should spend more on primary and secondary education. I was shocked to learn that a RM200,000 contract was awarded to a public school just to provide 2 coats of paint to the walls and another RM200,000 contract to replace a small metal roof. You have got to be kidding me. Do you know that with RM200,000 you can make a complete overhaul/renovation to your house/condominium/penthouse with modern to luxury furniture? For one, you don’t need that much of money just to replace a small metal roof (I wonder who gets this job and give such exorbitant price). Two, there is definitely more can be done for the school with RM200,000 such as investing in a Compute Science Lab for the students to learn and experiment, and you still have a balance to spend.
If the budget from the government is spent on just repairing, then I don’t see why increasing the budget would help our education system. Yes, you need to repair and maintain the public schools condition for the benefit of the students and teachers, but the cost can and should be managed more effectively. If that is our main issue, then increasing the budget is not the solution. Money will continue to be spent unwisely.
I doubt that is the only main issue. I think we Malaysians do not understand enough our education system and the issues surrounding it. Hence, we are not able to see the positive impact from the policies and initiatives made by the government or private sector. I suspect, one of the root causes is a high dropout rate at primary and secondary level and secondly, low literacy rate (which could be the cost of a high dropout rate).
What we need is to have better data so that we can perform better analysis. While I do think the government is responsible for this, citizens can also help collect the data and make it more publicly accessible. I believe the teachers, students, parents have a better knowledge on the education system and they need to be highly involved in this as well.
Ok I’m trying to find a plugin for surveys/polls but have some technical issues. Will be back.