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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