Malaysia’s Education Blueprint

With the announcement of the upcoming 11th Malaysia Plan 2015 today, we’re excited to see what the Malaysian government has planned in its commitment to being a world-class economy – and leading regional education hub. Just last month, Malaysia’s higher education sector received a boost with the launch of The Malaysia Education Blueprint 2015 – 2025 (Higher Education). This landmark blueprint was launched in Kuala Lumpur by Malaysia’s Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohammad Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak, where he emphasised three critical themes, known as the “Three B’s”:

  • Bakat
    Focus on offering world-class quality higher education to attract international students and nurture domestic talent
  • Benchmark
    Vision for Malaysia to be in the top one-third of global leading destinations for higher education and to increase the rankings of local universities in world rankings
  • Balance
    Graduates of Malaysian universities to achieve ideal balance of being equipped with skills (ilmu) and good morals (akhlak), to be put into practice

 

New times, new priorities

Dr. Zaini Ujang

(Source: photos.utm.my)

Speaking on the creation of the blueprint which took two years to complete, Education Ministry Secretary General II Dato’ Seri Ir Dr. Zaini Ujang said that the publication was the result of 10,500 people collectively represented by stakeholders, school administrators, unions, alumni and also students with 14 chapter-writing teams and 20 lead authors. Replacing the previous blueprint done in 2006, The Malaysia Education Blueprint 2015 – 2025 (Higher Education) reflects the changes that have since passed and therefore needed to be updated (including changing the target to host 250,00 by 2025, instead of 200,000 by 2020). Professor Zaini continued,

“[The] blueprint is crucial to outline what is new in higher education. We didn’t want to use what we planned back in 2006 because much time has passed since then. There have been a lot of new developments and so we [needed] to update our strategies. [For example,] many people [now] learn through mobile devices. Students already have this ‘machine’ – their handphones. So, we have to leverage on it.”

The blueprint also highlighted the challenges Malaysia’s higher education system faces with regard to domestic and global labour markets that must be overcome including:
1) Graduates with poor English-language proficiency and lacking in critical thinking and communication skills
2) Lack of links and support between academia and industry, especially in research & development and commercialisation
3) Systemic shortcomings that hamper the efficiency and financial sustainability of the system

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New Insights On How To Engage Millennials

The YMS 2015 (Youth Marketing Strategy) recently hosted its conference in London and released a compelling report. Organized by youth research firm, Voxburner, the report themed Youth Trends 2015, gave essential insights for educators marketing to their most valuable audience: millennials.

The report follows a recent online survey that Voxburner conducted to 1,156 English 16-24 year olds between December 2014 – February 2105 followed up with interviews with some of the respondents. While the survey was specific to British youths, the findings nonetheless shed interesting light on this very connected and younger, tech-savvy demographic in both developed and emerging economies.

Judging from the presentations at YMS 2015 by some 30 speakers from today’s largest brands like Facebook, Airbnb, Twitter and Spotify, the commentaries and shared opinions proport the report’s findings of the experience of these global brands and organisations.

Specifically for educators, the most interesting and pertinent insights from Youth Trends 2015 are:

Millennials are a more serious lot that you think when it comes to their career choice and making a positive and meaningful contribution on the world than all other generations. They view both travel and work coming as coming together to bring them a successful life.
Millennials seek guidance to reach their goals – from mentors, YouTube or other resources.
They are extremely discerning with brands, believing brands must be ethical and do good things in the world to deserve their time and loyalty.
They see themselves as busy people – very busy in fact – with their lives sped up further by multiple content channels within a space of hours or even minutes. Brands have very little time to make their brand matter to them.

 

Eager, inspired and hopeful

(Source: http://i.huffpost.com)

While we’ve read about or even experienced the differences between millennials (born between early 1980s & early 2000s) compared to other generations (Boomers & Gen Xers), the Youth Trends 2015 noticed that millennials are looking forward even as they live in the present. They plan their next steps carefully considering who they want to be, from what brands to engage with to which college to attend. On the flip side, boomers and Gen Xers spent less time worrying about their place in the world and their actions and were focused more in the present. Read more