Education Blueprint: What’s the Issue?

Ever since the launching of the Preliminary Report of the National Education Blueprint 2013-2025 on September 11, 2012, we have already witnessed endless discussion and disputes over the plan. And even though the official document of Malaysian Education Blueprint 2013-2025 (PPPM) report was finalized and launched by Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on September 6, 2013 there are still some organizations do not seem to be exhausted acting against it. Why is that a plan that claims to transform the education system, which acts as the backbone of the development of this country failed to gain unequivocal espousal from the multi-ethnic society? Moreover, to which extend is the claim made by Deputy Education Minister, P. Kamalanathan[1] that only United Chinese School Committees Association (Dong Zong) alone opposes this plan seems to be true?

In fact, there are many parties have voiced out their opinions towards PPPM. Amongst them, the coalition of 25 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) calling itself Gabungan Bertindak Malaysia (GBM)  has called for the scheduled launch of the education roadmap on September 6 be rolled back to allow more time for further study and public feedback. They have also submitted a memorandum on the matter to the government on Novermber 29, 2012. [2]

United Chinese School Teacher Association (Jiao Zhong) and Dong Zong have particularly objected the additional minutes of weekly Malay language classes in vernacular schools. Dong Zong stood firm on their stance to vigorously reject any motion or policy that thwart the development of mother-tongue education. [3] Jiao Zong, in additional, urged the Ministry of Education to increase the standard of Malay language through teaching materials and methods rather than introducing extra teaching time. [4] Nonetheless, Jiao Zong hold a different stance as compared to Dong Zong, wherein it suggested that Malay language classes can be increased to 210 minutes, neither 270 minutes as proposed by PPPM, nor 180 minutes as agreed by Dong Zong.

Moreover, 16 Chinese associations have also proposed a joint statement that represented the views of the various parties in the Chinese community towards PPPM and submitted it to the Ministry of Education on August 21, 2013. The statement consisted of the contention that various streams of school within education system is reasonable and should not be regarded as an obstacle in promoting national unity.

Besides that, the adviser of Tamil Foundation, K. Arumugam also expressed his fear that vernacular schools will be marginalised under the new education roadmap as PPPM is ultimately aiming of ensuring that national schools become the school of choice and vernacular school would not be able to enjoy their fair share of education resources. He thus urged the government to bring forth the PPPM for public debate and to reconsider the benefits and advantages brought by the diversity of languages and cultures in the country. [5]

Education policy should throw off the shackles of the “singular nation-state” ideology, diversity is not a barrier of national unity

In the opinion of think-tank, Political Studies for Change (KPRU), despite PPPM seems visionary and committed to push for education system transformation in line with the transformation slogan inspired by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, it is in fact still bound by the discourse of solidary revolving around the ideology of “singular nation-state”.  KPRU hold the stance that the education system should not be stuck with a discourse of unity centered on the concept of “singular nation-state”. Otherwise, diversity will always be seen as a element contrary to the unity, and indeed this is an unfavourite impression that will gain nothing for Malaysia’s future – which is a homeland for young from various ethnic backgrounds.

Indeed, it is timely to infuse new breath into an education development roadmap that is based on the appreciation of “nation-state”, which embraces the nature and reality of diversity. Diversity should be applied in the current education system in recognition of the contribution of various streams schools in education and nurturing the mainstay of country for the future. By doing so, our beloved homeland can thus liberate itself from the myth of “singularism for unity”, and hence unite and fully utilize all forces to push for quality education that meets the needs of all students. Nevertheless, the approach taken by Dong Zong alleging that PPPM will threaten the survival of Chinese vernacular school is being too pessimistic, as PPPM does not indicate any intention to close or deny the position of vernacular schools, despite it does signify a tendency paving towards a single education system.

Full report: https://kpru2010.wordpress.com/2013/09/10/pelan-pendidikan-apa-isunya/

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