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MALAYSIAN EDUCATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

After more than ten decades, world around had witnessed an education system in this country tremendously developed in term of coverage, as well as the contents being delivered regardless the various forms of schooling that exists. Countless changes regarding the curriculum along with the teaching approaches had been made since the very beginning. This is for keeping up with the globalization demands and at the same time taking into consideration the core elements that should be preserved, to be exact our Malaysian values, a crux of the matter in upholding our education system with a Malaysian identity. In short, curriculum development in Malaysian education is an ever-changing process which is strongly affected by current trends and issues happening locally and globally. Education system in Malaysia can be divided into few stages; the colonial period before the outbreak of World War II, post World War II to pre-independence and the post-independence era up to the present time. Starting as early as the 15th century, the Malays according to the Malay Annals had informally attend schooling in which at that time mainly for the purpose of getting a religious education delivered by a Quranic teachers. These activities took place in various mosques, madrasah and surau until the 17th century. During the British colonial period however, as a part of British intention to keep each ethnic stick to their respective group and prevent unity, results in an establishment of various types of education system. This country during the period has four different types of vernacular schools for Malay, Chinese, Tamil, English and also a religious education in form of pondok system. On the whole, these separated systems deliver a different content knowledge, to cater the needs of different ethnics. After the war ended, awareness among the Malays on the importance of education triggers the British to inspect the education system and make appropriate changes upon the policy. Consequently, several inspections carried out and reports had been issued to deliver the results of the inspection which consists of the findings along with the recommendations regarding the system as well as the curriculum used. Some of the reports that contribute to the changes in Malaysian education system are The Cheeseman Report (1946), The Barnes Report (1950), The Fenn-Wu Report (1951), and The Razak Report (1956), The Rahman Talib Report (1960), Cabinet Report (1979) and The Education Act (1961 & 1996). Each of these reports has its own area of study which later on would bring about the amendments with the aim of improving the education system.

MALAYSIAN EDUCATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Post-independence era in this country had bought even more transformations in Malaysian educational system. Shortly before the Independence, The Razak Report issued in 1956 which was the turning point when Bahasa Melayu acknowledged as a national language and standardized in schools as a main medium of instruction. Also recommended in the report was the implementation of the common syllabus in schools and the compulsory order for national language and English in all primary and secondary schools. During that time, these changes were made as a means to develop unity among all races through education. However, looking back at how our education system evolved ever since, it actually serve as a point of departure in developing an independent schooling system with the uniquely designed Malaysian curriculum. In 1960, Rahman Talib Report was issued as an extension of The Razak Report to review certain educational elements such as an Islamic education and educational opportunities provision as well as to firming up the national language. Later on, the introduction to New Economic Policy in 1970 was mainly to improve the condition of peoples among races in Malaya which at the time experiencing a poverty, apart from a means to restructure the ethnically segregated society. However, the implementation of this policy affects the education system when students regardless their races will have a common syllabus and public examination in all schools. New subject started in school mainly to promote unity and patriotism, together with further emphasis on science and technical education (Educational Milestones in Malaysia, 2001). In 1979, Cabinet Report was distributed and brings about one more significant development by the introduction of The New Primary School Curriculum (KBSR) and The Integrated Secondary School Curriculum (KBSM). i. New Primary School Curriculum (KBSR) KBSR was introduced in 1982 in 305 schools on an experiment basis, and was fully implemented on the next year. Apart from emphasized the three elements of basic skills namely reading, writing and applying mathematical concepts, it also focus on a human development process which will produce an individual with a high moral standard. KBSR was divided into three major parts; communication, human and environment and individual development. Each part specifically narrowed into four components which consist of basic skills, spiritually, values and attitudes. KBSR was then changed to Integrated Primary School Curriculum, to center on the concept of integration. By the

MALAYSIAN EDUCATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

implementation of the new curriculum, some of the subjects was revised including Language subjects, Moral Education, Islamic Education and the Physical education to enable new elements such as patriotism, integration, creative and critical thinking skills, mastery learning, multiple intelligence and few more, to be encompassed (Educational Milestones in Malaysia, 2001). ii. Integrated Secondary School Curriculum (KBSM) As a continuation of the KBSR, new curriculum set for the secondary school was designed and implemented completely in secondary schools in 1989. Some of the principles by which KBSM was designed are the continuity from the primary education, integration of intellectual, spiritual, emotional noble values and physical elements. It also stressed on the lifelong education and the further usage of our national language (Educational Milestones in Malaysia, 2001). By looking at the design and later on the changes made on both KBSR and KBSM, we can see clearly that it was done in a very careful and professional way, to ensure it still in line with the elements highlighted in our educational philosophy which stated as below; Education in Malaysia is an ongoing effort towards further development of the potential of individuals in a holistic and integrated manner, so as to produce individuals who are intellectually, spiritually, emotionally and physically balanced and harmonious based on a firm belief in God. Such an effort is destined to produce Malaysian citizens who are knowledgeable, who possess high moral standards, and who are responsible and capable of achieving a high level of personal well being as well as able to contribute to the harmony and betterment of the nation at large (Ministry of Education, 1993). Even it is now already decided that Malaysian school will have a new curriculum set in near future, it still a vague for the public in general of what exactly will be the contents. Whether it will all would be completely different from what schools are using now or only the same old thing with a new look, surely it is something peoples will anticipate, especially for the educator community as they are the person who responsible to deliver it to the students.

MALAYSIAN EDUCATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

As this country moving forward to meet the 2020 Aspirations, educational sector is not left out from facing a lot of hindrance and challenge in order to move in sync with the rapid development. From time to time there are always issues and trends revolve around education arise, thus demand public as well as governments attention. Among the issues that had arisen recently are the demand voiced out by Indian community to the government for the literature textbook Interlok to be withdrawn as it contains a section touching the caste system which considered as a sensitive issue among the Indian. However, a decision is not yet determined since like what the Deputy Education Minister Wee Ka Siong said, We will get the professional views on this matter. He also adds that the only intention the textbook used is to make people united and live harmoniously (Bursa Malaysia, January 03, 2011). Apart from that, our country has not done yet with the matters on PPSMI or the teaching and learning mathematics and science in English. When this program was introduced back in 2002, heated debates started especially among the ethnic-based political parties. This is because, they claimed that it could bring a worrying effect upon the national type school namely the Tamil and Mandarin since the program require longer face-to-face interaction that will reduce the period of teaching contact time for a vernaculars students (Pillay & Thomas, 2004). Generally speaking, the claim is quite reasonable since among Indian and Chinese community, national type school is one of few limited choice they had to preserve and transmit their heritage for the future generations. In spite of this, it is beyond the question that this program is beneficial as a drill for students before they enter the higher level of education which is dominated mostly by an English language. Recently it was again announced that PPSMI will be completely eliminated from school in 2012, and in the meantime mathematics and science will be delivered using dual language both in lesson and examination. Government intention as what public able to observe might be good, however, it is something regrettable as all the back and forth changeover costs a lot of resources, moreover it will be an inconvenient for those students who happen to be in twilight zone during the process (Pillay & Thomas, 2004). The emphasis of science and technology is not a new thing in our country. After the National Economic Policy introduced in 1970 or even since Malaysia became an independent nation, our country was prepared for the needs of the developing nation as in a well-skilled labor and professionals of international standards. Hence, starting from the KBSR and KBSM, all the

MALAYSIAN EDUCATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

elements which will be further developed to achieve the goals and objectives of education of this country had been integrated from the very beginning. Nowadays, schools across the country are equipped with the facilities to ensure nobody had left behind as literacy in this age are no longer evolve around the 3Rs but also encompassed the knowledge, understanding and the competency of information technology. In some area though, there was a complaints that the facilities are not well-maintained since the teachers and staffs also have a poor competency in such field. It became a dilemma as well as a problem which can decelerate the progress as expected. On the other hand, another issue arose on the risks we are actually exposing to the students. It is true that everyone have to be aware with the rapid development and adapt in agreement, however, the emergence of an Internet, one of the most crucial elements in information technology, came along with the possibility that students would be exposed to the inappropriate or even a harmful contents. In the middle of process of adapting the changes, there is still an urgent obligation to ensure all the roots, the Malaysian values which students must possess are not disregarded from the curriculum. Allocations had been given for the purpose of establishing and maintaining the ICT facilities in schools by the government. Teachers are also provided with training to enable them to use these facilities in school. However, it is a wrong to assume the ICT applications in school are solely triggered by the wave of future or only to promote computer literacy among students. From educators point of view, it also serves as a way to enhance the efficiency and the effectiveness of the teaching and learning process. To cater the needs of future, it is critical for schools to have a curriculum which is covered; overall development, knowledge, skills, values, and language across the curriculum, explicit learning outcomes for different levels of ability, integration of knowledge, skills, and values for the Information Age as explained by Dr Maznah Ali Muda in ICT in education : Malaysian Experience regarding the curriculum of the Smart School Project. As stated earlier, the issues about inculcating Malaysian values arose when schools across the country began to implement the ICT elements. That is why recently when everyone is all about computer literacy, some parties probably from the educators community express their worries on students particularly the teenagers lack of interest in learning or knowing their heritage, as well as the historical knowledge related to our nation or any foreign country.

MALAYSIAN EDUCATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Immediately, the authority along with the organization concerned make sudden changes regarding the History subject in schools. Besides, other subject such as Civics as well as Islamic and Moral education was revised to ensure the contents is updated and encompassed the recent issues related to moral and ethics. In line with the introduction of 1Malaysia concepts, curriculum in school also much affected in a positive way to promote the Malaysian values which was hoped to produce a balance individual as pictured in our National Philosophy of Education. As a conclusion, Malaysian education system had gone through a lot of changes so it would be relevant to the age, and at the same time have not forgotten the critical values which each and every Malaysian should still possess even the time changed.

References: Dr Maznah Ali Muda. ICT in education : Malaysian Experience. Kementerian Pendidikan Malaysia. Educational Milestones in Malaysia. (2001). Kuala Lumpur. Pillay, H., & Thomas, M. (2004). A Nation On The Move: From Chalkface To Laptop. Ministry of education. Rahimah, H. A. (1998). Educational Development and Reformation in Malaysia: past,present and future. Journal of educational Administration , Vol. 36 Iss: 5,pp.462 - 475. Salleh, M. (1988). Perubahan dan Kemajuan Pendidikan Di Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur: Nurin Enterprise.