Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak recently announced that graduates within the country need to have good moral values in order for their knowledge and skills to be put to use.
He added that good moral values are important “so they do not become villains who destroy the nation”.
“If they are clever but don’t possess morals, they can use their intelligence to destroy this country. The most extreme example is, someone highly educated using their knowledge to build bombs. (Therefore) it is, not impossible,” he was quoted as saying in a recent Malaysiakini report. “This is why we want to develop positive values (in our graduates).”
Najib had reported during the launch of the National Higher Education Blueprint 2015-2020 that the goal of the higher education was to produce individuals with proper values. He said doing so would allow the country to be competitive on an international level.
“Any nation wishing to compete internationally will say it is about talent. So our education must generate talent, and to get that we are setting international benchmarks, aiming to be among the top one-third of nations in the world. All that we do will have global benchmarks, so Malaysia’s standards will improve,” said Najib.
He added that doing so would ensure that public universities produce more income rather than needing more allocations.
“For example, in 2025, the government will contribute RM14 billion, while public universities must get (an additional) RM4 billion on their own.” he said in the Malaysiakini report.
During his own speech, Deputy Prime Minster Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said that a focus of the blueprint would be to create holistically balanced graduates whose minds will become that of job creators rather than job seekers. He added that Malaysian universities will find a new independence under the blueprint, as they will be allowed to “develop and carry out multi-track schemes by giving them the power to manage human resources matters.”
In addition, life-long education will be considered through the creation of more flexible education opportunities, an increase in the quality of programs already in existence, as well as creating public awareness and interest in those programs.
“The blueprint will increase the capacity, quality and standards of technical and vocational training by expanding the curriculum to one that is industry-driven,” said Muhyiddin.
University funding will also see changes. The government currently funds 90% of the operating costs associated with public universities in Malaysia. However, as student enrollment increases as a result of the blueprint, financing of the university system will become more efficient.
He added that the government’s role will change to become less of a controlling entity to one of a regulator and policy maker. Public universities will receive autonomy based on their readiness level.
“This will be balanced with accountability through five-year performance contracts for all public universities,” said Muhyiddin, adding that it was also an aim of the blueprint to bring in women and international experts to be members of the university’s board of directors.