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Malaysia to undertake "cradle to career" approach pioneered in US
NEW YORK: Malaysia will revisit the way it delivers education across its entire system.
The Ministry of Higher Education will embark on an alliance with the State University of New York (SUNY) and the New York Academy of Sciences (NYAS) to undertake the "cradle to career" approach based on tactics pioneered in the US that have been successful at raising student success throughout the school system, from very early childhood through completion of university or college.
It involves, among many measures, identifying specific interventions that best prepare a child from the day he attends kindergarten to the day he starts his career.
Throughout his growing up years, the student will be helped to meet carefully tracked indicators of critical progress in, for example, math and reading proficiency along their educational journey.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced this after chairing the second meeting of the Global Science and Innovation Advisory Council (GSIAC) at 7 World Trade Centre building here.
Najib is the chairman of GSIAC, whose members comprising more than 40 local and foreign experts are plotting a course forward the nation's plan to become a high income economy through the application of science, technology and innovation.
Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Khaled Nordin represented the Malaysian government in exchanging documents with SUNY and NYAS officials for the purpose.
Malaysia is said to be the first country looking to institute at nationwide level the American education methodology, which are currently being deployed in 27 American states.
Speaking at a press conference after chairing GSIAC meeting, Najib said the proposed reforms would help ensure every child enters school well prepared, eliminate disparities in academic success, and link the community and family supports available to students.
He said these are important steps in the transformation of Malaysia’s economy with greater human capital in science, technology and innovation.
The initiative will also address the lack of student interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics due to poor teaching of the subject matter, insufficient professional support and supervision, a lack of priority given to the subjects by schools, a lack of information on career prospects in science-related fields, and unattractive prospects for science-qualified graduates.
Najib also proposed a twin city cradle to career pilot project for this purpose. "Let us commit to identifying a major city in Malaysia and in New York State where the challenges – economic and educational – are almost identical; then let us twin those two cities with the leading education and the science, technology, engineering and mathematics innovators who have made substantial progress on education reforms," he said.
He added Malaysia and New York State would benefit by tackling many of the same problems in tandem, learning from each other’s mistakes and successes, and leveraging the investments of the best practices going on throughout the world in the sphere of education and the science, technology, engineering and mathematics skill sets.
Najib also said GSIAC is looking into increasing the usage of notebooks or tablets among primary and secondary school students. Currently, the ratio of student per tablet is 10:1.
"The Council is looking at the technology solutions considered for use among students in Malaysia," he said. One of the tablets suggested was the Indian-made UbiSlate tablet retailed at US$50.
"If this can be used or replicated, each child can have access to the technology solutions," he said.
Najib and wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor later witnessed the exchange of documents between Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) and NYAS to develop Nobel Laureate mindset among students of PermataPintar UKM. Rosmah is the patron of the Permata Negara programme.
Under the arrangement, Laureate-in-Residence programmes will also be established at PermataPintar UKM and Pintar Lab at selected local research universities for mutual advancement of fundamental research.
Students of PermataPintar UKM and researchers of the local research universities will also be able to undertake programmes at NYAS to strengthen the sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics skill sets.
Two other universities, Universiti Sains Malaysia and Universiti Teknologi Malaysia also exchanged documents with American universities and institutes for scientific collaboration.
The GSIAC was set up in 2010 as a sounding board in the national effort to improve and optimise Malaysia’s capabilities in the fields of science and innovation.
The prime minister is currently on a two-day working visit to the US, where he will also attend a business roundtable with heads of Fortune 500 companies, including from Eastman Chemicals, Conoco Philips and Boeing Co, at the Harvard Club of New York.
He will also hold separate discussions with Ocean Thermal Energy Corporation chairman and chief executive officer Jeremy P Feakins, Motorola Solutions executive vice .president Gene Delaney and former senator Christopher S. “Kit” Bond.