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Malaysia Willing To Take Lead In Two Asean Education Projects - Muhyiddin

Last update: 18/07/2011
By Ahmad Fuad Yahya

DENPASAR, July 18 (Bernama) -- Malaysia has offered to take the lead in two project proposals under the Asean regional cooperation to improving quality education.

They are Regional Interoperability of National Qualifications Framework and the Regional Credit Transfer System Harmonisation.

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said currently, the student mobility programme with the credit transfer system implemented last year, involving Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand, was already in place.

"This constitutes one of the initiatives under the 'permeable framework' for the internationalisation of higher education.

"Currently, we are in the process of expanding the number of participating universities, students and also programmes of each country. I strongly believe that the harmonisation of the quality of higher education within Asean will expedite the maturity of this programme," he said, when speaking at the Informal Asean Education Ministers Meeting here Monday.

The meeting is chaired by Indonesia's National Education Minister Muhammad Nuh.

Participating in the session on the Asean Ministerial Policy Discussion, Muhyiddin, who is also education minister, said apart from the two projects, Malaysia was also keen to participate in another Asean project proposal on the Teaching Standards Framework.

The projects are among the 13 proposals adopted at the Fifth Senior Officials Meeting on Education in Bangkok last year, of which six projects are given priority.

The deputy prime minister also said that quality assurance bodies and representatives from Asean countries have already initiated a network (ASEAN Quality Assurance Network - AQAN), currently chaired by the Malaysian Qualification Agency (MQA).

The network shares common interest in pursuing quality higher education, with the sole aim towards harmonisation of higher education among Asean countries, which include building a common quality assurance system, capacity building and regional qualifications framework.

Sharing Malaysia's experience in the pursuit of educational excellence, Muhyiddin said a number of key initiatives were rolled out under the education ministry as part of the Government Transformation Programme (GTP), where education has been identified as a National Key Result Area (NKRA).

"Emphasis has been placed on raising educational standards and outcomes through several critical levers, namely, recognising teacher contributions (New Deals for Teachers), rewarding top performing schools (HPS), ensuring basic literacy and numeracy (LINUS), supporting underperforming schools (School Improvement Programme) and expanding provision of pre-school, especially those in rural areas.

"I must say that we have achieved considerable progress," he noted.

In terms of improving the quality of teaching and learning, Muhyiddin said the Malaysian Qualification Agency ensured that programmes offered by institutions in Malaysia were accredited and aligned with standards set by the relevant agencies, professional bodies, as well as the industry, while the Malaysian Qualifications Framework launched in 2007, introduced eight levels of qualifications focusing on Outcome Based Education.

"This ensures the quality of graduates in terms of competency, skills, knowledge and application in the world of work. Continuous benchmarking against international standards is also done to ensure that our students are highly equipped with the necessary skills and work competency.

"I am pleased to say that our Malaysian Qualifications Framework is among the first in the quality assurance system that ensures that the Framework is implemented efficiently," said Muhyiddin.

He said Malaysia was committed to enhancing competency and professional development of its educational leaders in the knowledge-based society of today, adding that Institut Aminuddin Baki as a leading in-service training institution for the ministry, had been playing a very important role in the leadership development of leaders and managers of Malaysia's primary and secondary schools.

"In aspiring to share our experiences and knowledge with the region in the area of educational leadership and management, Malaysia has hosted leadership and management courses at bilateral and regional levels," said the deputy prime minister.

Early this month, Malaysia organised the Second Regional Conference on Educational Leadership and Management.

The four-day conference, beginning July 4, was attended by 300 senior education officials and researchers from 19 countries in the region.