Malaysian Minister Seeks Cooperation, Education Improvement

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Malaysian kindergartens, schools and institutions of higher learning are joining with Japan to improve the quality of education in the country following an agreement to foster more collaboration.

Shahrum Sayuthi of the New Straits Times Press reports that Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin believes the union will create an exchange of ideas and technical knowledge and will improve the existing cooperation between the two countries. Muhyiddin singled out pre-school education as an important area of emphasis, along with science, technology, and mathematics.

This week, Muhyiddin met with Japanese minister of education, culture, sports, science, and technology, Hakubun Shimomura. The efforts are aimed at improving the international ranking of the country’s universities to the same level as more-developed countries. The Rakyat Post reports that Muhyidden said:

“There are many other areas, apart from higher education, such as research and development in raising the ranking of (our) universities. There are specific areas, niche areas, their field of specialization is far ahead compared to Malaysia and other more developed nations.”

Muhyiddin stated that seeking to improve the national education system was one of the country’s most important investments and will enable Malaysia to graduate students with knowledge, skills, and expertise that will contribute to national development. Already, reports the Astro Awani, the Malaysian education system has produced scholars in the fields of medicine and engineering, which has played a part in the country becoming more developed.

The children of Malaysia, continued Muhyiddin, are invaluable assets who hold the nation’s progress in their hands. The programs being developed will produce human capital, he said, that will contribute to steady growth.

“There are about a million Diaspora overseas. They are specialized professionals, experts and specialists in their respective fields. Although Malaysia is a developing country, education is always top on its priority,” he said during a meeting with the Malaysian community, here on Sunday.

A Talent Corp has been developed to address talent requirements of the economic transformation. Malaysian professionals who have studied overseas are needed in their country and will play an integral part in driving the Economic Transformation Program. Also, Muhyiddin says Malaysia registered economic growth of 6% last year, a feat considering the economic downturn many countries have experienced.

Meanwhile, Muhyidden, who is also the education minister, advised the Education Ministry this month to give up the idea of working only in their own communities. In order to improve national education, he advised they must begin to work as a team, reports the Astro Awani.

“We have to avoid the creation of silos; heads of departments and agencies under the ministry should not become Little Napoleons as this negates any measure to work as one strong team. As such, I advise everyone to establish a strong working team that can realize the mandate in an organised manner based on praiseworthy acts and discretion,” he said when addressing the monthly assembly of the ministry.

Along with the idea of working as a team, he asked the members of the ministry to work with other departments and agencies since broader cooperation will ensure that goal objectives will be reached.