Maszlee first minister to submit report card

Last update: 13/12/2019

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 13  -- The Ministry of Education (MOE) became the first ministry to present its ‘report card’ for the year 2019. 

In a special briefing and media conference today, Minister Dr Maszlee Malik presented his ministry's achievements themed "Education for All", which saw the MOE closing the year with five major changes focusing on its 53 reform initiatives in the national education system.

"The year 2019 is the beginning of all the changes and we have targeted 2019 to be a strong foundation year to ensure that the country can move towards an inclusive and high quality education system," he said.

As the recipient of the largest budget allocation for 2019, the five focus areas are 'Bringing Love Into Education; Quality of Teaching and Learning; Autonomy and Accountability; Malaysia Reads; and Manifesto.

In the 40-page achievement report card, Mazslee detailed out the achievements touching on all aspects of stakeholders in the country's education sector including students, teachers, infrastructure, system reform, digital reform, Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET), higher education and graduate studies, and making Malaysia a Reading Nation by 2030.

Also noted is the achievement of the MOE in fulfilling the promise contained in the Pakatan Harapan (PH) manifesto on the issue of the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) education loans and the recognition of the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC).

"We still have a lot to do (reforms), and this is just the beginning," he said to the packed media conference.

On Focus One, to Bring Passion Back to Education, four thrust areas which will be given attention are special needs students (MBK), referring to the handicapped, B40, students and teachers.

Maszlee said 10,200 MBK classes were started throughout the country, an increase of 526 classes compared to the 9,674 classes in 2018. The number of students in MBK classes this year was  88,419.

To ensure equal education opportunities, a 60 per cent quota was given to B40 students in fully residential schools. 52.8 per cent of this quota has been filled.

A special lane has been created for B40 children to get into public tertiary institutions and institutes of skills training (ILKA), enabling 51,191 students to pursue higher education, besides the 62 per cent enrollment into matriculation programmes and a special scholarship allocation of RM68.1 million to help 31,614 B40 students.

Besides abolishing examinations for all Level 1 pupils (comprising Standards 1, 2, and 3), the Education Ministry also recalled 4,369 drop-out pupils to school through the Zero School Drop Out programme while 2,636 children without documents were enrolled into schools through the ministry’s zero reject policy.

2019 also saw the ministry successfully tackling issues relating to teachers when at least 50 percent of teacher workload was reduced through the abolition of the attendance manual and Linus system while on the issue of ‘sorrowful’ teachers, 15,565 teachers have been transferred through a fair and just system.

On Focus Two, the Quality of Teaching and Learning, the Education Ministry attained five key targeted changes, namely System Reformation, Digital Reformation, Increase in Achievement, Derelict Schools and TVET. 

Maszlee said through system reformation, six reformations were carried out, including setting up a policy review committee to propose improvements in the existing education system and prepare a final report on the management system and harmonisation of the Higher Education Act.

The report will ensure that existing laws which curb the freedom of students and academics will be abolished and replaced with fairer laws. The Education Ministry will also set up a special committee to look into the issue of handicapped persons and a guideline for inclusive education in public tertiary educational institutions.

He said a special committee will be set up to review Orang Asli education while a TVET empowerment cabinet committee involving five ministries will be formed to ensure TVET reformations are comprehensively implemented. 

In line with the Industrial Revolution 4.0 (IR 4.0), the Digital Reformation saw 10,208 schools enjoying Internet speed of at least 30mbps up to 100mbps after the Education Ministry increased Internet access, with no more monopoly of Internet providers.

Maszlee said 40,450 classes were using Google Classroom, involving 32,036 teachers and 364,204 students throughout the country.

To date, a total of 100 digital maker hubs (DMH) have been created in schools with the cooperation of the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC).

On dilapidated schools, the Education Ministry consistently gave top priority to this matter, and 90 per cent of dilapidated school projects have been completed, comprising 452 of the total 534 dilapidated schools which are now operational, while 1,216 science laboratories have been upgraded.

In line with the emphasis on TVET as the main choice, and no longer the second or alternative choice, Maszlee said TVET reformation has resulted in the attainment of 96.5 per cent job marketability for TVET graduates while 54,789 of the 61,510 TVET graduates in the country obtained jobs after completing their studies.

Another success is the 547 courses offered by the ministry obtained accreditation from the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA) and the Engineering Technology Accreditation Council (ETAC), with the MQA accrediting 216 polytechnic and 69 (ETAC) courses while for community colleges, 262 courses were accredited by the MQA.

On Focus Three, Autonomy and Accountability, which covered tertiary education and student activism, Maszlee said among the changes which were implemented was the allocation of RM455 million in research grant aimed at resolving societal issues and creating a special lane for handicapped persons, athletes, Orang Asli and the B40, which helped 14,911 students enter university.

Acknowledging that students were the mainstay of national development and ensuring they were given opportunities to voice out, campus elections in 20 universities were managed by the students themselves while students’ unions were created to give voice to student activism.

The objective of making Malaysia  a Reading Nation by 2030 made history when Kuala Lumpur was declared World Book Capital 2020 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation   (UNESCO) and a monthly incentive of RM5,000 allocated for surviving National Laureates who have contributed to the country’s literature.

Maszlee said the promises made in the PH manifesto were kept by abolishing the PTPTN loan blacklist and releasing borrowers earning less than RM2,000.

“At the same time, we also created an initiative to either discharge or discount the loans to excellent students from the  B40 and M40 groups, including providing tax incentives to employers who pay off the PTPTN loans without salary cuts for their employees,” he said.

On the issue of the Unified Examination Certificate, he said 48 engagement sessions involving 406 people were held and a Policy Work Team was preparing a full report on it.

-- BERNAMA