Hornbill Unleashed

September 14, 2012

Ambitious National Education Blueprint

Lim Sue Goan

The National Education Blueprint (2013-2025) is voluminous and magnificent. To put it simply, it is a timetable as well as a set of important data and targets.

It is an ambitious plan. The target would be to turn third-grade Malaysian students into first grade in 13 years. Other countries have spent over 20 years to do so.

The blueprint sets nine key areas, 11 education transformations to cultivate students with six qualifications.

The country has been independent for 55 years, but students are still in the lowest standard in the fields of reading, mathematics and science. A large number of educational resources has failed to bring expected effects. Where does the problem lie? And now, a bold target is set. It would be an impossible task with the current efficiency of the public delivery system of Malaysia if weaknesses are not corrected.

The implementation of any plans is inseparable from leadership, execution and organisational management mechanism. According to the report, the Education Ministry will strive to improve the level and quality of teachers while restructuring and strengthening state and district Education Departments.

Restructuring state and district Education Departments can strengthen local leadership, but how about the leadership of middle and high levels? Enhancing teachers’ ability can strengthen execution, but would they have enough time to have in-service training for all the 400,000 teachers nationwide, as it is difficult to dismiss civil servants with poor performance under the existing system? Teachers are the key causing low academic standards, but 60 per cent of teachers will continue to teach for as long as 20 years. Could the in-service training really change the “diehards”?

In student cultivation, some can be assessed instantly. For example, students’ bilingual ability can be determined through testing. However, some require long observation, such as the ability to think. In addition to morality, I personally think that the ability to think should be prioritised. Good ability to think should be followed by the ability of self-development. The results of forced study will never be as good as those of spontaneous study.

The blueprint has also neglected the point of stimulating students’ creativity. If young people lack creativity, the country’s achievement will also be limited.

The blueprint basically preserves the existing mode of education and consists partial improvement plans. There are both pros and cons. The advantage is, recognition has been given to the benefits of multi-stream education, with a promise to enhance the quality of Chinese and Tamil education. However, if the mode remains unchanged, there is a possibility of being trapped in the old frame, in which only data are stressed, while the spirit of education reform is neglected.

Since the multi-stream education is accepted, why don’t they provide funding to Chinese independent schools, allowing them to assist in the expansion of the country’s soft power? To inspire the potential of children, there should not be distinction between mainstream and non-mainstream.

Chinese education groups should also be prepared to deal with the impacts brought by the blueprint. For example, the SRJK will use a Bahasa Malaysia syllabus on the same level as that used in the SRK starting in the year of 2014. Could Chinese primary school students be able to cope with the intensified language education? Would it aggravate their learning burden?

The prime minister stressed that political elements should be removed from the field of education. Political dominance has always been the people’s concern over all these years and it has also caused the lack of persistence in education policies.

Education is a monumental career and hopefully, the blueprint can lead the country to achieve the target of advanced state, instead of ending up as only a historical document.

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2 Comments »

  1. Another point missing from the Education blueprint is this:
    STOP THE EDUCATION CROOKS THAT PREY ON PTPTN LOANS!

    Education Ministry can curb the greed of private colleges by restrict the student enrollments, put quotas and external qualifying exams in order to obtain the degree

    Even a simple increase of SPM credits pre-requisite (from 3 to 5) can lead to huge drop in profits for these private colleges

    That’s why the best solution to end the abuse of PTPTN loan is accept only Form 6 STPM students!

    YES ONLY STPM STUDENTS CAN APPLY PTPN LOANS AND MANY EDUCATION CROOKS THINK TWICE TO SET-UP SHOPHOUSE COLLEGE AND CHEAT THE STUDENTS OF PTPTN LOANS GIVE THEM JUNK DEGREE

    STOP THIS PTPTN LOAN-JUNK DEGREE SCAM AND JOBLESS GRADUATE PROBLEM IS SOLVED!
    STOP THIS PTPTN LOAN-JUNK DEGREE SCAM AND JOBLESS GRADUATE PROBLEM IS SOLVED!
    STOP THIS PTPTN LOAN-JUNK DEGREE SCAM AND JOBLESS GRADUATE PROBLEM IS SOLVED!
    _______________________

    Private Nursing Colleges: High Time to Stop the Fraud
    Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM), 13 December 2011

    PSM Youth Wing as well as PSM Central Committee Member and Sungai Siput MP Dr. Jeyakumar today submitted a memorandum to the Higer Education Minister.

    We, Malaysians are deeply disappointed with the failure of the High Education Ministry to control the private institutions that offer nursing courses. The ministry’s failure to control these institutions’ greed has established a situation in which thousands of its graduates are jobless. And yet, they are burdened with PTPTN loans of as much as RM 50, 000 to RM 60, 000. Here are the facts:

    - 61 private institutions have been given the go-ahead by the Higher Education Ministry to conduct nursing courses;
    - there are currently more than 37, 500 nursing undergraduates enrolled in
    - these 61 private learning institutions. A large percentage of these undergraduates have acquired the PTPTN loan, normally around RM 55, 000:
    - the total amount of staff nurses employed throughout the country as of December 2010 were 61, 110. Of that total, 47, 992 were stationed in the government sector and the remainder 21, 118 in the private sector;
    - in 2010, 7, 665 nursing graduates from private institutions sat for the Nursing Board examination. Only 70.1% of them passed the examination compared to the passing rate of 98.4% amongst graduates from Malaysian Health Ministry colleges

    Only 42.7% of nursing graduates from private higher education institutions in 2010 succeeded in acquiring jobs at hospitals and clinics Taking all these facts into account, we wish to know the following:

    1. Is the Higher Education Ministry that determines the intake quotas for nursing courses in private educational institutions in Malaysia? If so, what is the rationale for allowing an intake quota of 9, 000 undergraduates for the year 2011?

    2. Is the Minister aware that every trained nurse must renew his or her professional license (APC-Annual Practicing Certificate) per year? One of the terms that is required to acquire the APC is an occupational status as a nurse in a hospital. Therefore, if one is unable to get employed as a nurse, he or she is not eligible to renew his or her APC.

    3. Is the Minister aware that the marketability of a staff nurse will be adversely affected if she is unable to get a nursing post in a hospital? This is due to the fact that a nurse’s skills will deteriorate if the graduate is not given a chance to practice as a nurse.

    4. Is the Minister aware that a lot of the graduates at nursing private higher education institutions originate from families that are not rich? They are hoping to get a job as a nurse in order to pay back their PTPTN loans and to aid their respective families.

    5. Is the Minister aware that repayment of the PTPTN loan is required even if the graduate is unable to acquire a job as a nurse?

    6. How many of the 61 private higher education institutions currently offering nursing courses have started or are applying to start medicine courses to train doctors?

    Our demands

    a. Freeze the intake of new students into private nursing colleges. The market is flooded at this point in time. Do not burden more young girls with PTPTN loans that they will not be able to pay back.

    b. Look into the other courses that are offered by the private colleges such as physiotherapy, health care, laboratory assistants, radiology and others. If there exists a similar situation of over-supply for these other courses as well, please freeze the intake of new students into these courses.

    c. Reject applications of private higher education institutions to conduct doctor courses if the passing rate in the Nursing Board Examination was below 90% for graduates from those institutions in 2010 or 2009.

    d. Take over the PTPTN debts for all nurse graduates who have not acquired a nursing post in a hospital despite passing the Nursing Board’s examination.

    e. Conduct an investigation to determine why the market for trained nurses is flooded- 37, 500 will graduate in 3 years, whereas the need for nurses is only 1, 500 per year (more or less 5% of the total currently employed in the private sector). Is this because of poor judgment on the part of officials who determine the quota, or is corruption involved? The profits of private higher education institutions are immense!

    f. Review the validity of the policy of relying on private companies to provide higher education for our younger generation. It is evidently clear from the actions of the private nursing colleges that maximising profits is their main focus! The existence of PTPTN loans have underwritten the income of these private higher education institutions, and they are currently competing to attract as many students as possible without a care whether they can provide adequate practical exposure to their students or whether there are sufficient job opportunities for their graduates.

    We hope that the Higher Education Ministry officials will study the issues that we have brought up and fix a date within a month’s time to inform us of the steps that will be taken by the Ministry to manage the identified problems in this memorandum.
    _____________________

    MAHSA! Do not hoodwink the public!
    Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM), 27 February 2012

    The PSM is very disappointed with the full page advertisement taken out by MAHSA University College in Sunday Star 19/2/2012. The assurances given by MAHSA’s Pro-Chancellor and Chairman, Tan Sri Dato Seri Dr Haji Mohd Ismail Merican, who was until quite recently the Director General of the Ministry of Health, are misleading, to say the least.

    The PSM would like to ask whether MAHSA and its Pro-Chancellor know the following facts –

    -that as of December 2010, there were a total of 69,110 staff-nurses working in Malaysia – 47,992 in the government sector and 21,118 in the private sector;
    -In 2010, there were a total of 37,302 students pursuing Nursing Diploma courses in the private colleges and universities. Approximately 12,000 will graduate every year.
    -The Ministry of Health does not recruit a large number of nursing graduates from Private Colleges to work as staff nurses in the Ministry of Health. In the 5 years from 2006 till 2010, only 993 graduates from private nursing colleges were offered jobs by the government. Works out to less than 200 per year.
    -Nursing Sisters tell us that they need to replace about 7% of the nurses working in their institution every year. 7% of 21,118 works out to 1478 vacancies in the private sector every year.
    -Elementary mathematics would inform us that 12,000 – 200 – 1478 = 10,322 nursing graduates will not find placements as nurses each year for the next few years!

    If MAHSA and its Pro-Chancellor are not aware of these facts, which all represent answers to questions put in Parliament, then MAHSA and its Pro-Chancellor are being highly irresponsible in taking out a full-page advertisement to entice more parents to send their children to a course where there is now a gross over-supply. If on the other hand, MAHSA and its Pro-Chancellor issued that full-page statement despite knowing these facts, then their action crosses the line demarcating “irresponsible” from “despicable”!

    The learned Pro-Chancellor’s statement (in the 4th paragraph from the end) that Malaysia needs thousands more nurses to achieve a 1:200 ratio which is the WHO criteria for a developed nation, reveals extremely muddled thinking or is a cynical attempt to mislead people! That assertion seems to imply that MAHSA is contributing to Malaysia becoming a developed nation by training more nurses! Surely Tan Sri Pro-Chancellor, you, the former DG of Health must understand the difference between correlation and causation. Developed countries have higher nurse to population ratios but is that the factor that made them developed in the first place? Advanced countries have more institutions and programmes that require nurses for example the home-nursing programme, the palliative care programme, nurse counselors for a large number of chronic ailments such as diabetes, stroke, Parkinsonism, etc . Merely training more nurses would not somehow, magically, propel Malaysia into becoming an advanced country!

    Lets face facts Tan Sri Pro Chancellor – MAHSA and the other private colleges are taking on an excess of nursing students because these colleges can earn an average of RM 25,000 from the PTPTN loan that the Ministry of Higher Education unquestioningly approves for each of the students registered in your programme. This is the main motivating factor for your nurse training programme, and not nationalistic altruism!

    The PSM knows of a number of nursing diploma graduates from MAHSA University College who have not been able to find jobs as nurses in a hospital setting. Is MAHSA prepared to help them secure nursing jobs in Hospitals. And if unable to, is MAHSA prepared to take over re-payment of the PTPN loans that these poor girls are saddled with? Do let us know when, and we will bring these unemployed MAHSA graduates to your office.

    And until you can solve the employment problem faced by MAHSA graduates, the only decent thing you and MAHSA can do is to stop taking in any more students for your Diploma of Nursing course!

    Dr. Jeyakumar Devaraj
    PSM Central Committee member
    ___________________________

    ‘Study why graduate nurses fail to obtain jobs’
    Borneo Post, February 10, 2012, Friday

    SUBANG JAYA: There is a pressing need to look into why many local graduate nurses fail to obtain jobs, noted Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin.

    A research into the matter is vital, he said at the Second International Nursing Research Conference organised by Universiti Malaya’s Nursing Science Department’s Faculty of Medicine here yesterday.

    His speech was read out by the ministry’s deputy secretary-general Datuk Rohani Abdullah when opening the two-day conference on his behalf.

    Mohamed Khaled said the department was striving towards enhancing the quality of nursing in the country to attain world-class standard.

    One of the approaches, he said, was to promote nursing research and utilisation of research findings in nursing practice.

    Alluding to the theme of the conference, ‘Access to Quality Health Through Research’, the minister said research was one of the important elements and mechanisms towards an innovative society in various fields, including nursing.

    The conference was organised in conjunction with the faculty’s 50th anniversary celebrations. — Bernama
    ____________________________

    ‘Qualifying exam, poor English to blame’
    by Karen Bong, Borneo Post, February 1, 2012, Wednesday

    KUCHING: Failure to sit for or pass the qualifying exam with the Malaysian Nursing Board (MNB), and poor English language proficiency could account for 8,000 nursing graduates in Malaysia being unemployed.

    Public Health Assistant Minister Dr Jerip Susil said the government was aware of the issue, especially when unemployment meant decades of debts for many graduates.

    “Our concerns now are that jobless nurses are facing the burden of repaying study loans, which will affect the loaners and parents who sent their children for further studies in the hope they will have a secure future,” he said when met at his office recently.

    Dr Jerip said nursing students were required to sit for the qualifying exams with MNB before they could register and practise nursing.

    “Colleges that possess the licence to train nurses should ensure that their programmes are tied up with the MNB which is strict with the standard and qualification of nursing graduates,” he said, adding that it was important that graduates adapt to real life situations.

    Nursing students were normally trained in a non-hospital environment equipped with artificial wards, clinics and dummies, Dr Jerip elaborated.

    “Hence placing students on practical and attachment with hospitals is important for them to gain hands-on experience and skill,” he emphasised.

    The Bengoh assemblyman called on all private colleges to offer a comprehensive and quality nursing course that could meet the demand of the government and private sectors.

    He pointed out that I-Systems College, which he declared open, had made it compulsory for nursing students to sit for the board’s exams, without which they would not graduate.

    “I am pleased with I-Systems College as their nursing course is tied up with the MNB. I am happy to note that the college has recorded 100 per cent passes with all graduate nurses interviewed by private hospitals for employment,” he said.

    Dr Jerip said he would visit all the colleges offering nursing courses to look into their curriculum and setup as well as ensure qualifying exams were with the MNB.

    Besides qualifying exams, poor proficiency in English among graduates could be another factor contributing to their unemployment, he reckoned.

    “English is still the main language used in the medical field, especially in communication in private clinics and hospitals. But I realise that many youngsters with poor command of English could possibly fail in interviews,” he said.

    Strengthening the command of English is an important aspect of nurse training which is why higher institutions make it compulsory for students to take the English subject, he added.

    Asked if the ministry was responsible for monitoring and supervising nursing courses, Dr Jerip replied that the licence was approved by the federal side.

    He observed that 98 per cent of nursing students came from native communities and rural areas such as Ulu Baram and Ulu Rejang. It could be that urban people were reluctant to do night shifts and youngsters felt it was not conducive for them.

    “However, rural people are ready to commit to a career with significant expectations. They think there aren’t many avenues of employment for them. Another reason could be the potential to migrate.”

    Malaysia, apart from the Philippines, is one of the significant countries in Asia which exports nurses to countries like Saudi Arabia, Middle East, Australia and New Zealand, he pointed out.

    “Malaysians are well known for their good command of languages like English and Bahasa Melayu, so Malaysian nurses are in demand especially in the Middle East,” he said.

    “But they must have the skills and proper training in Malaysia and master the English language. When the opportunities arises, they could seek employment overseas.”

    Jerip noted that work migration could leave Malaysia suffering from a shortage of qualified nurses.

    “In the past, there was an influx of government doctors resigning and leaving to work overseas and also to migrate, especially to Australia where there is a shortage of doctors and nurses,” he said.

    Back home, the shift from government to private sector is apparent.

    In Malaysia, the ratio of doctors to general population is 1:500 in urban areas and 1:2,000 in rural areas.

    “We are improving and part of the government’s effort is to reduce this disparity as Malaysia has a small population of doctors,” he added.
    ______________________

    Masterskill sinks into the red
    by Sheikh Al-Zaquan, The Edge Financial Daily, Wednesday 29 February 2012

    KUALA LUMPUR: Masterskill Education Group Bhd dipped into the red, incurring a net loss of RM1.57 million for 4QFY11, as its earnings eroded on the lower funding limit set by the National Higher Education Fund (PTPTN), in addition to higher operating costs.

    The quarterly losses were in stark contrast to net profit of RM26.85 million in the previous corresponding quarter. The nursing training college’s quarterly revenue fell 39% to RM49.5 million from RM80.9 million a year ago.

    The quarterly earnings have been declining through FY11 ended Dec 31, which started with a healthy net profit of RM22.6 million in 1Q.

    Masterskill continues to cite PTPTN’s new loan scheme, which came into effect in June last year. PTPTN reduced the maximum loan for eligible diploma students to RM45,000 from RM60,000. As a result, Masterskill said it had to reduce the average tuition fees for its diploma programmes to RM50,000 for intakes beginning last July.

    PTPTN decided to lower the loan limit due to the large number of borrowers and defaulters. This has had a visible impact on Masterkill. Some 95% of its students rely on the loans.

    Masterskill said raising the minimum entry for its diploma programme in nursing to five credits from three at the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia level had also impacted the number of students joining.

    In addition, staff costs increased due to the Malaysian Qualification Agency’s higher requirement of one teacher to 20 students from 30 previously. It said profit was affected by higher operating overheads as well, due to the company’s growth and ongoing expansion plans.

    For the full year, the company has registered its first drop in revenue since 2005. Revenue for 2011 declined 20.1% to RM250.17 million from RM315.7 million in 2010. Net profit dropped 62.4% to RM38.14 million from RM102.1 million. On an operating level, profit halved to RM64.4 million from RM131.6 million.

    Its university operations recorded a loss of RM14.9 million, compared with a profit of RM4.9 million previously. College operations saw profit shrink 44.4% to RM53.06 million from RM95.42 million in 2010.

    The company announced a second interim dividend of 1.4 sen, bringing its total payout for FY11 to RM22.9 million. Dividend per share declined to 4.18 sen from 7 sen in 2010.

    Amid the gloomy earnings prospects, Masterskill’s share price has been on a downtrend for the past one year. It is now trading at a historical low of RM1.04. The stock has lost some 13% year to date.

    In a report issued yesterday, CIMB Equities Research maintained a technical “sell” call on the company with a fair value of RM1.04.

    On its prospects, Masterskill said there is more competition in the market at present with more education institutions offering nursing and allied health programmes.
    _______________________

    Masterskill incurs H1 net loss of RM7.8m
    Business Times 29 August 2012

    Masterskill Education Group Bhd (MEGB) has incurred a net loss of RM7.77 million for the first six months ended June 30, 2012 compared with a net profit of RM34.17 million a year ago.

    Revenue for the period fell to RM83.47 million from RM139.47 million previously.

    The loss is largely attributed to lower student enrollment in the reporting period, due to competition in the market mainly from the increased public universities intake.

    Numerous other private universities, universities colleges and colleges offering the same types of programmes across Malaysia have also affected its student enrollment numbers, MEGB said in a statement.

    “Our performance for the second quarter was expected due to the challenging market environment. Internally we had been able to implement effective cost management strategies to ensure our continued business sustainability,” chief executive officer Datuk Seri Dr Edmund Santhara said.

    MEGB’s cash flow gives it the financial flexibility to continue with the growth plans, which augurs well for the future of the company.

    The group is also well position to tap the high growth demand for the higher education sector in the future. — Bernama

    Comment by Teddy Gumbang — September 19, 2012 @ 9:31 AM | Reply

  2. Biologically, “Stupidity breeds more stupid offspring” .. it will take many generations + hard-work, to produce good brains

    Comment by tigeryk — September 14, 2012 @ 4:39 AM | Reply


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