Hands off education, Musa Hitam tells politicians
UPDATED @ 06:53:54 PM 14-09-2012
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 14 ― Former deputy prime minister Tun Musa Hitam said today national education policies should not be determined by politicians or political parties, and should instead involve parents, education professionals and students themselves.
Musa, during the closing ceremony of the World Islamic Economy Forum (WIEF) Young Fellows 2012 here today, said allowing politics to dictate education guidelines only serves to muddy the direction and goals of the nation.
“National education policies and foundations should not be determined by any politician or political party as it involves the country’s future.
“If this continues without any drastic action, then I believe the future will be very bleak,” Musa said, without referencing anyone.
He added that the planning and implementation of policies in education must include everyone, regardless of their race and religious backgrounds.
Musa also dismissed the just-launched national education blueprint as “nothing new”, noting that the government has been composing and planning such strategies to improve national education since before Malaysia’s independence.
“Excuse me, but for me the compiling of plans and education strategies is nothing new.
“You could say that since achieving independence and the tabling of the Razak Report 1956 and the Rahman Talib Report 1960, we have already had so many plans and strategies. I was involved in those as education minister (1978-1981),” he added.
The country’s former No. 2 said the unique mix of religions, cultures and races here were a huge bonus for the nation and should be considered by the government when developing the education plan.
Musa then said that a change in policy should never be monopolised by one organisation, but must be transparent to produce positive results.
“We should not close our minds and be selfish when it comes to the importance of certain groups,” he added.
When asked of Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) call for a role in the setting of the blueprint, Musa said it may cause partisan issues.
“There’s nothing wrong if the opposition wants to give feedback, but the problem would be when the plan is thought of as a Barisan Nasional plan and automatically some people begin looking for faults.
“Then, when the opposition gives an opinion, it would be then considered an opposition plan. When such happens, it automatically creates a partisan situation instead,” Musa said.
He added that the government’s move to only allow two days for public feedback on the blueprint was inadequate since education was a national issue.
“I don’t think two days are enough to get feedback, I just hope the feedback received is from professionals in their specific fields.
“Politicians and political parties can mention such manifestos in an election but not in this issue,” he added.
The new national education plan has been roundly criticised since it was launched. Among others, the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) said the government was being opaque for not releasing the key documents needed to gauge the plan’s credibility.