Archive for December 12th, 2013

Malaysia does not need any more robotic responses to sliding educational standards but innovative reactions like making public the minimum passing marks of public exams and allowing parents to decide whether to adopt PPMSI

Malaysia’s declining educational standards is presently a taboo subject for the Deputy Prime Minister-cum-Education Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who does not want to talk or to be asked about it, especially after two events in December which highlighted the sad reality that the Malaysia education system is facing a real crisis of confidence, unable to achieve the quality of education necessary to nurture skilled, inquisitive and innovative workers for Malaysia to break out of the middle-income trap to reach the goal of becoming a high-income nation.

These two events were the release of the 2012 PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) results on December 3, the first day of the week of UMNO general meetings, and the official release of World Bank’s latest Malaysian Economic Monitor themed “High-Performing Education”.

Instead of delegating to the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department. Datuk Seri Wahid Omar, Muhyiddin should have personally officiated at the release of the World Bank’s “Malaysia Economic Monitor: High-Performing Education” which highlighted the importance of building a high-performance education system for Malaysia’s transformation into a high income, sustainable and inclusive economy.

In fact, the World Bank report is not about Malaysia’s “high-performing education” but how Malaysia has fallen short of producing a high-performing education system based on Malaysia’s poor performances in two international education assessments – the 2011 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) where Malaysia’s scores were significantly lower than those in 2003 and 2007 for both Math and Science, and the 2012 PISA, where the Science and Reading scores fell compared to 2010 although the Math score showed improvement. Read the rest of this entry »


Questions for Umno delegates

Azly Rahman
Dec 11, 2013

Malaysia’s most exciting political party of the old, United Malays National Organisation (Umno) just had its general assembly. A ritual of the political blood transfusion and the annual health check and administration of medications and treatments of a body politics ageing and grumbling. Too much good food and good life. Too sedentary of a life after its early years of “winning the war of independence” through a victory presented essentially and arguably, on a silver platter.

With the advent of mega-issues such as the most hegemonic and imperialistic US-imposed proposal of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), the rise of fascist and hate-mongering groups, the disillusionment about our education system, run amuck and latah behaviors displayed in our Parliament, massive growth of the underclass amongst the overpopulated nation on immigrants shipped en masse to build the country to such giddy heights, a daily rise of cases of mindless crimes, a slackening and weakening school system that is criticised for not preparing the next generation for a competitive economy requiring the cultivation of brainpower, resilience, and a sense of economic republicanism with a heart of social-democraticism, the clamour for a sense of unity reminiscent of the 70s – with all these and more, why are the speeches in this party assembly out of focus?

Here are my questions to the Umno delegates:

Why can’t your speeches be about:

•Coming up with strategies to create a better understanding between the races, since we’ve been together for centuries?

•Designing our education system to be inclusive of all Malaysians with each race treated on equal terms,

•Helping any group progress, regardless of race, religion or political affiliation, since we are all lawful citizens and we are not going back to “where we belong”,

•Stopping this nonsense called ‘1Malay’ as a greeting since 1Malaysia is already enough as a meaningless slogan and even 1Mandela would be better,

•Dismantling all systems that will perpetuate hatred amongst us and redesign our lives around celebrating our strength in diversity,

•Find ways to unify all races as one dignified race of Malaysians united against any threats from outside (if there are any real or imagined),

•Coming together as Malaysians to redesign our education system that will truly enhance children’s understanding of concepts, skills, attitude to become good learners, global and transcultural in outlook, and will grow up to see each other as a human race with a common humane destiny, rather than see more divisions and destructions,

•Collaborating with all races to see how best we can help those who are marginalized regardless of race and religion, and how best we can design an economic system that will promote cooperation, collaboration, and the enculturalisation of conscience and conscientiousness amongst us, rather that perpetually create competitions that lead to hatred and warmongering,

•Mediating the differences between Muslims of different interpretive practices, schools of thoughts, ways of leading their ‘Islamic life’ rather than create bogeymen and bogey-women for the purpose of witch-hunting and persecuting each other of the things we cannot fully understand,

•Stopping the total closing of the Malay mind by constantly instilling fear of themselves since time immemorial, since feudal times, so that the Malays can be spared of being called stupid, weak, lazy, and dependent on Umno as savior – all these a perfect model of a Master-Slave Narrative.

We need new speeches, Umno, saner ones. Read the rest of this entry »