World Bank slams Malaysia’s education system

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malaysia_education_systemThe World Bank in a recent working paper entitled Malaysia Economic Monitor has pointed out the “urgent need to transform Malaysia’s education system” for it to produce the type of labour force required by a high-income economy.

The World Bank defines a high-income economy as one where economic output per citizen is a minimum of $12,616 a year. Last year, Malaysia’s gross domestic product per capita was $9,928, putting it among the ranks of upper-middle income economies that include Turkey and South Africa.

Although primary education is required by law in Malaysia, the World Bank report notes that “access to schooling is a necessary, but insufficient condition for building human capital that will propel economic growth.”

As demand for more high-skilled professionals has grown in the country, one of Southeast Asia’s most developed and steadily growing, the education system has failed to reform to meet these shifting needs, says the World Bank, even though nearly 97 per cant of children in the country are enrolled in primary school, according to government data.

Among East Asian countries that participated in the 2012 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), Malaysian students only outperformed their Indonesian peers, and lag even lower-income countries (including, by a wide margin, Vietnam), the World Bank noted.

Expenditure on basic education is more than double that of other ASEAN countries and the decline in learning outcomes occurred while inputs to education were expanding and the size of the student population was falling.

“The key constraints to improving the quality of basic education thus relate not to the quantity of inputs but institutions,” the report said. Some 46 per cent of principals reported a lack of qualified teaching staff as a constraint, and the Ministry of Education (MOE) admitted that in recent years some candidates enrolling in teacher training institutions did not meet minimum requirements of academic achievement at the secondary level.

To improve the situation, the World Bank suggests:

(1) moving towards school-based decision-making; (2) improving parental involvement and enhancing accountability; and (3) improving incentives and recruitment for teachers.

The Malaysian government may also consider piloting fixed contract recruitments with tenure contingent on performance, and tying retraining and up-skilling efforts with certification, it said.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

The World Bank in a recent working paper entitled Malaysia Economic Monitor has pointed out the “urgent need to transform Malaysia’s education system” for it to produce the type of labour force required by a high-income economy.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

malaysia_education_systemThe World Bank in a recent working paper entitled Malaysia Economic Monitor has pointed out the “urgent need to transform Malaysia’s education system” for it to produce the type of labour force required by a high-income economy.

The World Bank defines a high-income economy as one where economic output per citizen is a minimum of $12,616 a year. Last year, Malaysia’s gross domestic product per capita was $9,928, putting it among the ranks of upper-middle income economies that include Turkey and South Africa.

Although primary education is required by law in Malaysia, the World Bank report notes that “access to schooling is a necessary, but insufficient condition for building human capital that will propel economic growth.”

As demand for more high-skilled professionals has grown in the country, one of Southeast Asia’s most developed and steadily growing, the education system has failed to reform to meet these shifting needs, says the World Bank, even though nearly 97 per cant of children in the country are enrolled in primary school, according to government data.

Among East Asian countries that participated in the 2012 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), Malaysian students only outperformed their Indonesian peers, and lag even lower-income countries (including, by a wide margin, Vietnam), the World Bank noted.

Expenditure on basic education is more than double that of other ASEAN countries and the decline in learning outcomes occurred while inputs to education were expanding and the size of the student population was falling.

“The key constraints to improving the quality of basic education thus relate not to the quantity of inputs but institutions,” the report said. Some 46 per cent of principals reported a lack of qualified teaching staff as a constraint, and the Ministry of Education (MOE) admitted that in recent years some candidates enrolling in teacher training institutions did not meet minimum requirements of academic achievement at the secondary level.

To improve the situation, the World Bank suggests:

(1) moving towards school-based decision-making; (2) improving parental involvement and enhancing accountability; and (3) improving incentives and recruitment for teachers.

The Malaysian government may also consider piloting fixed contract recruitments with tenure contingent on performance, and tying retraining and up-skilling efforts with certification, it said.

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