To do well in any subject you must be able to think correctly! Thinking skills are something you can learn and develop. Ask yourself questions as you read your textbooks and notes. Talk to other students whom you notice have good thinking skills. You can also sharpen your thinking skills by taking IQ tests available in books or the Internet, or playing games that require thinking such as word games.

Education System Overhaul To Produce Students With 'HOT' Skills

Last update: 09/09/2012
By Yong Soo Heong

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 9 (Bernama) -- Come Tuesday, parents of school-going children, especially those in lower primary school, will be unusually excited over what the preliminary Education Blueprint will offer, especially in terms of producing students who can compete with the best internationally and equipping them with "HOT" (Higher Order Thinking) skills.

Among other attributes, the transformation of the country's education system is also to produce knowledgeable students with strong leadership qualities and better bilingual proficiency.

"HOT" skills refer to more than just an ability to read, write and count. In today's competitive world, students also need to do more than just memorise or retell the facts.

"HOT" skills take thinking to a higher level among students rather than just restating the facts. They should be able to understand the facts, connect them to each other and apply them as solutions to problems in their work environment in the future.

To be unveiled by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, the blueprint is a result of a year of extensive research and public engagement spearheaded by Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and his officers at the Ministry of Education as well as other bodies, including Pemandu (Performance Management and Delivery Unit in the Prime Minister's Department).

The blueprint is a major paradigm shift of the country's education system for the first time in almost five decades.

It takes a holistic approach at all levels to produce better outcomes for Malaysian students in a constantly changing world.

It is also about biting the bullet and springing to action after having taken cognisance of the big gaps in the education system when compared with the best in the world. This is despite the local education system having made tremendous progress since 1957, especially in terms of student enrolment.

Malaysia spends about 16 per cent of its budget on education annually but it has been discerned that the return on investment is not as high as desired when its performance even lagged behind countries with lower funding, thus necessitating a review and overhaul of the education system.

To remedy the situation, the move will entail putting funds to the right sectors in terms of training and upskilling educators, getting better teachers, improving teaching methodologies and closer monitoring of schools and students to catapult Malaysia, now at the bottom third of countries in terms of international assessment of their education systems, to the top third in 15 years.

It has been said that education plays a central role in any country's pursuit of economic growth and national development.

According to Tan Sri Abd Ghafar Mahmud, the Director-General of Education, education is key for personal development as it provides a myriad of life-long opportunities.

Educators have often said that there is no better assessment of a nation's future than what is currently happening in its classrooms. In today's global economy, a nation's progress depends fundamentally on the knowledge, skills and competencies of its people.

Therefore, it is not surprising that countries with higher education levels like Germany, the Netherlands, Finland, Sweden, the United States, Japan and South Korea, to name a few, tend to enjoy greater economic prosperity.

Viewed from another point, education is also a necessity for nation building and unity because it provides individuals with opportunities to better their lives and contribute to society in the process.

In the final analysis, it will take more than 10 years for the dynamic changes in the blueprint to bear fruit. But at least the government has swung into action to stop the rot.

As far as quick wins are concerned, the "low hanging fruits" that can be harvested from next year will see all 10,000 primary and secondary schools using information and communication technology (ICT) to the fullest to keep abreast of latest developments and methodologies.

But best of all, the burden is not only on teachers. Parents will have to play a strong part as they will be equipped with a manual to monitor their children's progress.