THE launch of the National Education
Blueprint two years ago prompted the question: Will it be implemented as
detailed in the plan?
Many noted that we often produce good
plans, but cannot translate them well enough, if at all. This
perception, whether right or wrong, has become a dark cloud hovering
over the blueprint.
And it must be quickly dispersed if
confidence in the future of education in the country is to be firmly
restored. Indeed, one international expert on education was quoted as
saying it now depends on how the blueprint will be implemented.
Last week, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri
Muhyiddin Yassin, who is also Education Minister, launched The 2013
Annual Report on the Education Blueprint. This is the first annual
report card of sorts that is meaningful and highly symbolic for a number
is, foremost, a clear indication of the aim to get the blueprint
implemented. Similar to the functions of Performance Management and
Delivery Unit (PEMANDU), the Education Performance and Delivery Unit
(PADU) has been set up to monitor the implementation of the blueprint.
Secondly, the report marks the
willingness to be transparent as part of public responsibility for
assessing the progress made last year.
Thirdly, it serves as part of a
continuing process to engage the public, namely parents, the teaching
profession and other stakeholders in the progress so far.
Fourthly, it is a form of recognition of achievements as well as a reminder that there is more to be done.
Lastly, the annual report can be a start
of a new culture of sharing and openness in matters related to
education in a non-politicised way.
After all, this is information
objectively assessed against set targets backed by data. For example,
out of the 25 initiatives implemented last year, 12 have seen positive
and significant performance by achieving some of the Key Performance
Indicators (KPI). Among these initiatives are pre-school enrolment,
vocational education transformation plan, higher order thinking skills,
literacy and numeracy skills, and English language teachers proficiency.
The first two initiatives mentioned
above are to address the issue of access which is one of the aspirations
stated in the blueprint. The remaining relates to other aspirations
such as acquiring thinking skills, knowledge and bilingualism.
On the dimensions of equity, two
initiatives – the District Transformation Programme and Inclusive
Education Programme – are said to show encouraging achievements.
Yet two other initiatives in terms of
efficiency, namely Ministry Transformation and Basic Infrastructure
Enhancement, also achieved the KPI set. So, too, the transformation of
teacher education institutes, as well as the establishment of school
leadership and teachers’ charter in the effort to enhance quality.
Parent involvement is also on the rise.
While many of these are quantifiable as
KPIs to be achieved, there are aspects that are not easily measured.
These are aspirations such as promoting “ethics and spirituality”,
“national identity” and “unity”.
An initiative on “unity” – the Student
Integration for Unity Plan – was implemented last year but it takes time
to achieve a noticeable outcome before it can be convincingly reported.
These “softer” aspects must receive
equal – perhaps much more – emphasis, given the different nature of
tracking and measuring “intangibles” which cannot be quantified using
figures and percentages.
It, however, cannot be overemphasised
that these are aspirations that will underline the success of the
education transformation in more lasting and sustainable ways because
they shape attitudes, build the right values and virtues to be
internalised as part of the acculturation process in creating a good
learner, citizen as well a wholesome person as stated in the blueprint
and the National Education Policy.
It is imperative to reiterate that
education has to move beyond academic achievements – regardless of
excellence – but, at the same time, it must not fail in actualising the
other potentials of a holistic human being. In other words, education,
too, must be in itself holistic in content, delivery and measurement.
While the report is laudable as a
positive first step in casting away any scepticism about the
implementation of the blueprint, it must embrace all the aspirations
stated therein in moving ahead. Kudos for taking this bold step forward.