Badan bebas Institut Hal Ehwal Demokrasi dan Ekonomi (Ideas) membidas kerajaan kerana banyak membuat pengumuman kosong yang tidak menunjukkan hasil dalam meningkatan kualiti pendidikan negara.
Malaysia hanya berjaya berada di kedudukan ke-55 daripada 65 negara dalam ranking keputusan Program Penilaian Antarabangsa Pelajar (Pisa) yang diumumkan baru-baru ini.
Ketua Eksekutif Ideas, Wan Saiful Wan Jan (gambar), berkata terlalu banyak pembaharuan ‘berilusi’ yang dicipta menerusi pelbagai pengumuman oleh kerajaan.
"Tetapi kita kena ingat ini hanya pengumuman. Realitinya, tidak ada apa-apa yang berlaku dan kita tidak lihat satu sistem yang memberi faedah besar," katanya dalam satu kenyataan, hari ini.
Baru-baru ini, keputusan skor PISA menunjukkan sistem pendidikan negara berhadapan dengan krisis.
Prestasi pelajar berusia 15 tahun ketinggalan jauh di belakang negara-negara kurang maju seperti Vietnam.
"Ini adalah satu titik penting.
"Akses kepada pendidikan tidak lagi isu utama. Isu sebenar adalah akses kepada pendidikan yang berkualiti," katanya merujuk kepada keputusan terbaru Pisa itu.
Wan Saiful berkata, kebanyakan ibu bapa pelajar tidak menyedari hakikat ini, malah ramai yang mengganggap kualiti pendidikan masih berada pada tahap baik.
"Antara 80-90 peratus ibu bapa berpendapat sekolah berjalan dengan baik dan guru mengetahui subjek mereka dengan baik.
"Mereka percaya kerajaan memberikan pendidikan yang baik. Ia nampak satu penemuan yang positif, tetapi realitinya ia sangat membimbangkan," katanya.
Pisa adalah sebuah program penarafan mutu pendidikan di sekolah yang dikendalikan oleh OECD (Organisation for Economic Corporation and Development) bagi pelajar 15 tahun yang melibatkan negara dari seluruh dunia.
Ia menguji kemampuan dan penguasaan pelajar dalam tiga bidang utama iaitu membaca, matematik dan sains.
Pisa menjadi piawaian antarabangsa yang digunakan untuk menilai keberkesanan dan mutu sistem pendidikan sekolah di dunia.
Purata min skor ialah 494 dan kajian itu menguji 510,000 pelajar tahun lalu merangkumi tiga bahagian peperiksaan – matematik, sains dan keupayaan membaca. Malaysia memperolehi min skor 421.
Pelajar Malaysia dikatakan mendapat pencapaian yang teruk dalam bahagian membaca dengan skor 398 (purata:496), bahagian matematik, Malaysia mendapat 421 (purata:494) dan sains, 420 (purata:501).
Malah, Vietnam berada di tangga ke-17 dalam kajian itu dengan markah 511 manakala Shanghai-China mendapat 613 untuk mendapat tempat pertama dalam ranking itu. - 18 Disember 2013.
Think tank warns of grim outlook for Malaysian education following poor ranking
A think tank has urged Putrajaya to urgently address what it said was a crisis in the Malaysian education system, following the recent findings that Malaysian students scored poorly in an international assessment test.
The Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas), referring to the results of the Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa), which saw Malaysia ranked 55th among 65 countries, said the test scores revealed that the country was behind less developed countries such as Vietnam.
Ideas chief executive Wan Saiful Wan Jan also cited a recent World Bank report titled High Performing Education, which showed a connection between the country's future economic growth and access to quality education.
"This is an important point, access to education is no longer the main issue. The real issue is access to quality education," Wan Saiful said, urging the public to pay closer attention to the looming education crisis.
According to Saiful, however, survey findings by Ideas on Malaysian parents' perception of their children's schools, revealed that a vast majority were happy with the system.
"In fact, between 80% to 90% felt the schools were effectively run and teachers know their subjects very well. They trust the government is providing a good education.
"This appears to be a positive finding, but in reality it is extremely worrying," said Wan Saiful, who added the nationwide survey polled parents in the bottom 40%.
He said it showed a wide gap between perception and reality as was revealed when the students were internationally assessed.
"Those in power seem to be very good at shaping how the poor view the quality of education their children receive but the trust among the poor should not be taken advantage of.
"They need true school reform to help the next generation break away from the poverty cycle," he noted.
Saiful called on the public to demand immediate and real improvements in the quality of education in the country, saying there were too many "illusions of reform" created by the government's announcements.
"We must remember there are only announcements, when the reality is that nothing has happened yet and no real benefit has been realised in the system," he pointed out.
He said to safeguard the future of Malaysian children, the gap between perception and reality must close, noting that currently, the reality "looked rather grim".
Pisa, conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), tested 510,000 students aged 15 last year, covering the subjects of mathematics, science and reading.
Malaysia obtained a mean score of 421, below the average mean score of 494. In reading, Malaysian students fared poorly, scoring 398 (average: 496). In mathematics, they scored 421 (average: 494), while in science, 420 (average: 501). - December 18, 2013.
Idris Jala: Keep politics out of education
KUALA LUMPUR: Pemandu CEO Datuk Seri Idris Jala has asked both sides of the political divide to cooperate on education, which he stressed as the most important tool in achieving the nation’s goals in the long term.
“I’m no politician, but if there is one thing that I hope both Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat would lay down their swords for and not politicise, it would be education. They must both come together and agree on what we need to do. You can argue about many things but do not argue about education,” he said during a panel discussion among five ministers yesterday in conjunction with the Economic Transformation Programme’s (ETP) third anniversary.
“In 50 years, if we do not up our game in education, we will be overtaken by other countries running faster than us. The longer-term agenda for poverty eradication is education. I came out of poverty, to be clear. To me, rural development is education. The competitiveness of nations is education.”
Jala added that the aggressive push for improvements in the education system as laid out in the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025 would only bear fruit decades from today.
“If anyone were to tell me they can fix the education problem in the country over one or two years, they must be lying. There is no shortcut in education. The real results will come out 20 years from now,” he explained.
He said the government is not being “philosophical” about the education problem but is taking “concrete measures” to fix it.
“We took a very bold approach when we made every single English teacher in Malaysia sit for the Cambridge English placement test. People in other countries would tell us that if you make teachers who have been teaching for more than 20 years sit for a test, you would probably get a strike. But we got all 70,000 English teachers to sit for it.
“The bad news is that 70% of them proved to be not very good. We then took a very drastic approach to get all the teachers who did not make the standard to go for training with the British Council.”
He added that the importance of the education agenda to the government could be seen in that there are two full ministers involved in education.
Meanwhile, when responding to a question on whether the government would remove the work permit requirement for West Malaysians to work in East Malaysia, Jala said that East Malaysians would not want to give it away.
“When Sabah and Sarawak became part of Malaysia, many people there were worried that workers from peninsular Malaysia would take over their jobs. The work permit requirement became one of the conditions. But very rarely are there rejections. It is procedural. But that’s the deal we made with Sabah and Sarawak. If we push them too hard, they would argue that the oil and gas revenues they have been producing have been shared by the whole federation.”
Also present at the panel were International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Wahid Omar, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S Subramaniam, and Communication and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek.
This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on December 17, 2013.