DAP: DPM using ‘selective’ statistics on Malaysian education

By Clara Chooi
April 24, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR, April 24 – Lim Guan Eng today accused Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin of “cherry-picking” favourable statistics from selected studies to dupe Malaysians into trusting the quality of the country’s education system.

The DAP secretary-general (picture), in a statement today, pointed Muhyiddin to numerous other international studies, which he said have repeatedly painted Malaysia’s education system in a bad light, even ranking it below many countries within the ASEAN region.

“The truth is that the reality of our education is far from the rosy picture that Muhyiddin is painting.

“Data and statistics from world renowned international reports have shown time and time again that there is a crisis in Malaysian education.

“In fact, Malaysians do not even require a report to tell them that there is a dire problem with our education system that produces unemployable graduates who are unable to think critically,” Lim complained.

Muhyiddin, who is deputy prime minister and education minister, had said yesterday that Malaysians in general have high regard for the local education system.

He said this in light of a recent survey by Introspek Asia, which revealed that 55 per cent of Malaysian adults believe that the local education system is comparable to other countries, while 35 per cent said it is “better than that of developed countries”.

“Once again, Muhyiddin is cherry-picking favourable statistics to prove his point. If this is the case, then he should answer why there is not a single Malaysian Nobel Prize winner and why is there not a single Malaysian university ranked amongst the top 200 universities in the world?

“Or when given the choice, why do more Malaysian students choose to study in the US, UK and Germany rather than in Malaysian universities?” Lim asked.

Previously, said the Penang Chief Minister, Muhyiddin had “selectively” quoted part of the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Competitiveness Index Report 2011-2012 to use it as his basis for claiming that Malaysia’s education system was better than those of the United States, Germany and the United Kingdom.

Lim said that the indicator in the WEF report that Muhyiddin had chosen was merely a survey of 87 “leading business executives”, whom he said were likely urban city dwellers who couuld afford to send their children to the country’s more qualified private or government schools.

But, he added, the same WEF report had ranked Malaysia’s “Secondary Education Enrolment” at 101, which points to the significant number of school dropouts in the country.

The ranking, said Lim, places Malaysia below Thailand, Indonesia, Brunei and Singapore within ASEAN.

The same trend was also reflected in the Legatum Prosperity Index, said Lim, which showed that Malaysia only has a 68 per cent secondary education enrolment rate, ranking the country 81st in the world.

The index also ranks Malaysia at 59 for its tertiary education enrolment rate, which Lim said is far behind the average of 50 per cent for most OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries.

Another study, the 2009 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), said Lim, had ranked Malaysia 55th in reading ability, 57th in mathematics ability and 52nd in science.

“Unfortunately, instead of admitting our weaknesses and searching for solutions, the Education Minister prefers to be in denial and attempts to ‘bamboozle’ (hoodwink) Malaysians with selective and subjective data in order to whitewash the true state of Malaysian education.

“By continually insisting that our education system is better than that of developed nations, Muhyiddin not only reveals that he suffers from denial syndrome but that he is also stuck in fantasy and also raises questions about his competency,” he said.