"If we are afraid to ask questions, our mind will be owned and manipulated by those who think they have the right answers, or by those who want to use force to tell us what the right answers shall be."
-Dr. Azly Rahman
Dr. Azly Rahman
Dr. Azly Rahman grew up in Kampong. Melayu Majidee, Johor Bahru. He pioneered the Maktab Rendah Sains MARA/MARA Junior Science College (MRSM) Kuantan, a Malaysian school system modeled after amongst others, The Bronx School for the Gifted in Science (in New York City). He has had the experience of teaching in the MRSM school system and heading the English Department as well as a Gifted and Talented program. He co-wrote two English Language textbooks for the Malaysian Ministry of Education and was involved in teacher training projects in the area of Teaching Thinking Skills.
Dr Azly Rahman coordinated the Universiti Utara Malaysia's (UUM) Thinking Skills Program, was appointed as the Coordinator of UUM's Technology Learning Unit, and subsequently served as its director. He helped establish the Center for Innovations in Education. For his contribution to the university, he was awarded the university's Service Excellence Award in 1997. He also served as member of UUM's Senate. He started a multidisciplinary journal called PRAXIS, of the School of Languages and Scientific Thinking. He helped coordinate publication of articles in the fields of education, language, and literature.
Dr Azly Rahman holds a doctorate in International Education Development (Columbia University, New York), Masters in International Education (Columbia University, New YorkCity), Masters in Communication (Columbia University, New York City), Masters in Education, specializing in Curriculum and Instruction (Ohio University), Masters in International Affairs, specializing in Politics of Southeast Asia (Ohio University).
The State of Education in Malaysia Today
The CURRENT state of education in Malaysia, after FIFTY (50) years of independence,
- the excellence and the rigour,
- the political will to recognise equity and equal opportunity,
- empathy in looking at the class divisions forming in the process of schooling;
Our conveyor belt of nationalistic-tribalistic education philosophy guised under the name of "educational progress", is going haywire, sending our batch-processed children off tangent.
What a waste of talent and human capital !!
Instead of turning them into lotuses of learners that bloom, we are making them bricks in the wall. I believe talents are wasted.
The Barisan Nasional government has its OWN idea of what Malaysian education should look like:
.... An idea closely tied to communal/race-based politics and the obsession with mind-control, obedience, and the lessening of critical thinking.There are solutions that THIS current regime has not yet discovered.
An Opportunity For Change
The revolution of March 8 needs a NEW means to sustain a good idea for human development and social change. It has the potential of political, cultural, and educational RENEWAL.
We Malaysians must all rise beyond the current pre-September 16 national-political crisis that is imploding and exploding multi-directionally against the backdrop of a world that is perpetually in crisis. Our nation is actually in danger of a major human development crisis, compounded by the current oil and food crisis.
Ultimately bi-partisan thinking should govern educational change. Ultimately in education, philosophy will triumph over politics.
Our goal is to see children of ALL races progress. That's what any religion and humanistic philosophy teaches. Whatever success one's own children have achieved, that success formula MUST be applied to the children of others, especially of the poor.
We cannot discriminate ANY child; at ALL levels of his/her development.
The mind is too precious to be under the control of the ignorant, the arrogant, and the xenophobic.
Experimenting a New Paradigm of Education Reform
We need to have the states governed by Pakatan Rakyat to experiment with a NEW paradigm of educational reform to:
- SHOWCASE what "human capital revolution", "education across the life span" and "education for creative and critical consciousness" means.
- HAVE a continuous improvement plan that uses data-driven and sociologically reflective techniques to engineer, nurture, and sustain such changes until education becomes the only means to educate the child to become a thinking, feeling, and reflecting human being skilled to live in harmony with people of different races and consistently exploring the power to transform the self.
Compare Education Performance between Pakatan Rakyat and Barisan Nasional States
We can embark upon a longitudinal comparative study – which states will progress better with a different set of idea of what education ought to be. The Yellow states of Pakatan Rakyat and the Blue states of Barisan Nasional can each be given five years to showcase improvement.
We need to give them only these concepts to work on:
- "nature of the human beings",
- "nature of the human mind",
- "nature of learning and teaching",
- "nature of change",
- "nature of intellectual freedom",
- "nurture of human intelligence",
- "nurture of multiculturalism", and
- "nurture of class consciousness".
WHICH STATE WILL HAVE:
- the least drop-outs,
- least at-risk youths,
- least youths incarcerated,
- most globally-minded,
- most employable graduates,
- more intelligent, more world-wise, and more emphatic leaders in society
- best teachers with the best teaching skills and strategies,
- most engaged students,
- most creative classroom,
- most frequent integration of project-based learning strategies,
- most innovative assessment strategies,
- most inquisitive students,
- happiest learners,
- most-mentally resilient and gung-ho graduates
- most internationally-recognized awards
- the most unmotivated teachers,
- most vandalised schools,
- most neglected students,
- most number of daily truancy cases,
- most absent teachers,
- most stratified schools districts,
- most wasted class periods,
- most under-funded schools,
- most number of tuition classes,
- most frequent interference of politicians who do not have any business interrupting schools,
- most mentally lethargic learners, and
- most unmotivated and unskilled graduates who still need to be coached during job interviews
We need an independent body of researchers to report on the state of educational improvement in these two set of states – the Yellow and the Blue states.
The winner will get to:
- take over the entire operation of the Ministry of Education as well as the Ministry of Higher Education.
- set up another ministry – The Ministry of Human Intelligence, fashioned after Venezuela's, to look into education in the most comprehensive sense of its definition.
These standards need to be met cumulatively and progressively, pegged meaningfully and authentically to SMART national and international standards.
Selangor State Leading the Way
Perhaps the state of Selangor as the most progressive state can show us the way forward in education; and the fruits of success shared with others. It can even be a hub for top notch and quality education that will link its institutions with top notch programs, institutes, and colleges worldwide.
Perhaps this state can be spearhead the radical reform and see an intellectually sustainable culture emerging.
Perhaps Selangor's state university UNISEL (Universiti Industri Selangor) can be the impetus for change; spearheading comprehensive reforms at all levels.
Let us first commission a new study of drop-out/keciciran, using good qualitative and quantitative data next and find strategies to deal with it.