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GOVERNMENT has the responsibility of ensuring the happiness of the people, and of maintaining and promoting law and order within the milieu.
It also is responsible for the territorial integrity of the nation over land, water and airspace. Beyond these, given the functions of government, there is the seldom-articulated function of responsibility for the development of the people's intelligence.
The challenge in educational reform is to develop the acumen of general knowledge among the people -- cultivating rationality, not emotionalism -- to the utmost, while fostering conscience, concern and caring for the rest of the less fortunate.
As Malaysia is a relatively small nation with a young population, it is possible for the nation to develop an enlightened and well-educated citizenry, imbued with high traditions and culture.
The nation has the capacity to fulfil its national requirements of human resources with expertise in all professions. With such capacity for national-level planning and policy-making, Malaysian talents and expertise can potentially serve humanity.
Educational development is ongoing, as continuous improvements are made to all aspects of the functioning educational system. Educational reform, whether comprehensive or specific and limited, however, cannot be conducted too regularly because such actions could lead to "initiative overload and policy confusion".
However, when government and society do conduct what is considered educational reform, then all resources should be focused on a level of authenticity of thinking, ideas eliciting and practical conceptualisation that would truly lead to meaningful transformation for individuals, families, communities and the nation as a whole.
In educational reform, two levels of knowledge and expertise corpus are applied. The nature of the first, deeper level of knowledge corpus is as regards to the relevance and maturity of knowledge considered worthy to be transmitted.
This is about the essence, fundamentals and substance of educational transformation. Substantive knowledge of education transformation is about knowledge disciplines and thinking processes.
The second level and type of knowledge applied is on the "why and how to" of planning for change. This level of development reality has its own procedural knowledge of planning and policy-making processes.
The present stage of the preliminary Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025 is more about expertise and wisdom of the planning and policy formulation processes. Policy formulation details are like the small print in legal documents and the articles of the Constitution enshrining the principles of sacred laws.
Blueprints and road maps must embed what is good, true and right in policies. In order to ensure that policies capture the best of the process, the planning of eliciting for inclusive ideas has to be meticulous, efficient, comprehensive, above board, authentic in intention and knowledge management.
Contributors to the educational change process should have communicative and conversational competence when every exchange is respectful and inspiring, dynamic and reflective, with philosophic surrender in risk-taking in offering bold ideas and solutions to contemporary and future problems.
Educational reform should ensure depth and knowing of the language register of planning and policy-making. Planning protocols should be infused with wisdom and courage to accept new unknown paradigms of the uncertain and ambiguous futures.
Educational reform offers the rare strategic collective opportunity to develop future generations of Malaysians as discerning individuals with the will to change mindsets, to move from parochial paradigms to global paradigms.
With transformation, Malaysians will not be satisfied just to be consumers of other people's knowledge generation and entertainment scripts. Malaysians will also not just be the recipients of other peoples' constructions of the futures being shaped.
If the education system is properly planned, Malaysians will become knowledge generators and bold, confident definers of alternative futures. The critical mass of Malaysians will also be confident of their mission as civilisation builders and promoters of global peace and global order.
Within the framework of inspiring mission, Malaysians can become the spokespersons for global citizenry and can champion universal rights, justice and global causes of sustainable ecology and the environment, the prevention of pollution, nuclear proliferation, diseases, chemical and germ warfare.
The planning and policy narrative has yet to be embedded in the inspirational educational vision yet to be carefully formulated. The educational vision has to enshrine the wisdom level, beyond academic intelligence -- providing hope, confidence, a sense of belonging, ownership, self-esteem and self-respect.
Leaders of the nation from all sectors now have the responsibility to exercise the art and science of planning and policy formulation that would be so relevant and strategic that Malaysia will be a model for other nations.