short sighted and flip flops in Malaysian education

The government spends about 20-21% of their budget allocation for education purposes every year. Based on the United Nation human development report in 2009 Malaysia spend about 8.1% of GDP on education and ranked 10 in the world. US spend about 5.7% and the UK 5.3%. Malaysian spending is relatively high compared to other countries and we should be having no problem with skill and talents to transform from middle income to high income economy.  Yet many Investors and FDIs are reluctant to invest locally due to poor quality of education, non competitive and non-proactive workforce, policy inconsistency and bureaucratic red tape. In fact Malaysia is one of those high spenders in education. Despite all the spending, the quality of education and skilled and talented workforce are still elusive and the Malaysian education planners don’t seem to have a solution. What went wrong? Tremendous wastes of resources, when all the money spent do not yield the required results. The Malaysian government is turning the other way for an answer when the solution is right in front of them.   

The decline in education system started when our education policies and systems were meddled with racism, zealotry and politicized. The affirmative action plan initiated in 1970 to help the poor regardless of race had been hijacked by UMNO to convert Malays into their ardent supporters and be their loyal voters. The UMNO led government went on to replace loyal and well meaning civil servants with one race and one religious civil service. Dedicated and experienced civil servants, teachers, doctors and other professionals were not promoted and but their junior colleagues were promoted. In this way the government was deprived of capable and experienced staffs. Politicians failed to see that a multi racial country needs a multi racial civil service to cater for all the needs and requirement of the country and its people. These perverted mindset of ruling politicians brought about a civil service that could not make long term informed decisions. Besides, the religious leaders and politicians did not allow civil servants to mature and think independently. They were made to be grateful and obligated to the UMNO politicians. These process and policies brought about compliant and subservient bureaucrats.

The current education system is deprived of independent, critical and analytical thinking in English which is the international lingua franca. Government could have continued with English medium schools but they closed down and then released the importance and started teaching mathematics and science in English which is again to be closed after 8 years.  Such flip flops cause confusion and billions of ringgit down the drain. Even educated Malays are looking down on our education system.

70000 Malays students in Chinese schools, higher Malay migration to western countries, more Malay parents in private national and international schools and foreign countries are testimonies of education system that served nobody except the UMNO politicians. All measures to attract talents are pointing at the wrong direction. No talents are attracted by our education policies. Poor Non Malay students with good grades can be awarded scholarships and university placements for courses that attract them. Malaysian talents are everywhere in Malaysia just that the UMNOPUTRAS can’t see it. Malaysian talents are helping other nations grow and prosper. Let’s be Malaysian first and last so that our home grown talents will lead our country grow leaps and bound.

Explore posts in the same categories: From the desk of Senator S Ramakrishnan

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