Transforming Education in Malaysia

(2-3 December 2010)

Numerous different perspectives on how education transformation should set off and why it is necessary were presented at the national conference on “Transforming Education: New Ways Forward” held at Wawasan Open University (WOU)’s campus in Kuala Lumpur.

The conference was jointly organised by WOU’s Centre for Professional Development and Continuing Education (PACE) and its School of Education, Languages and Communications (SELC). Deputy Minister of Higher Education Dato’ Saifuddin Abdullah delivered the opening address and officially opened the conference.

Dato' Saifuddin (2nd from left) shares a light moment with the plenary speakers.

Dato' Saifuddin (2nd from left) shares a light moment with the plenary speakers.

The keynote address on ‘Transforming Education: Strengthening Human Capital for the New Economic Model’ was presented by Dato' Dr Mahani Zainal Abidin, Director of the Institute of Strategic and International Studies. In her speech, she addressed the issue of producing the necessary human capital as one of the fundamentals for Malaysia’s New Economic Model.

Seven plenary papers were also presented by distinguished speakers, among them WOU Deputy Vice Chancellor for Strategy, Planning and Continuing Education, U K Menon, who spoke on the role of the private education sector in the Economic Transformation Programme and SELC dean Prof Dr Malachi Edwin Vethamani who expounded on “Transforming Teacher Education: Laying Firm Foundations”.

UKM Deputy Vice Chancellor Prof Saran Kaur Gill delivers her talk.

UKM Deputy Vice Chancellor Prof Saran Kaur Gill delivers her talk.

The other speakers were: ELC International CEO Margaret Kaloo on “The Place for International Schools”; UKM Deputy Vice Chancellor, Industry and Community Partnerships, Prof Dr Saran Kaur Gill on “Transforming Higher Education through Industry and Community Strategic Partnership; INTI International University Deputy President Prof Dato’ Dr Ibrahim Ahmad Bajunid on “Mapping Holistic Educational Policies and Effective Educational Practices: Identifying the Cast of Influencers and Critically Assessing Their Roles in Transforming Education in Malaysia”; Taylor’s University Vice Chancellor Prof Dato’ Dr Hassan Said on “Transforming Higher Education: Meeting the Global Expectation”; and Multimedia University Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Dr Zaharin Yusoff on “Universities in the National Transformation Plan: Closing the Public-Private Divide”.

A colloquium was also held on the first day of the conference. The panel members, Assoc Prof Dr Ganakumaran Subramaniam, Director of Studies,
School of Education, University of Nottingham, Malaysia and Prof Dr Siow Heng Loke, Dean of the School of Graduate Studies, Asia e University, offered interesting and thought provoking views on the issue of language in Malaysian Education.

Panel members Dr Ganakumaran (left) and Prof Siow (right) with Prof Edwin.

Panel members Dr Ganakumaran (left) and Prof Siow (right) with Prof Edwin.

The conference discussed several issues which should be pertinent for policy makers and education providers since education is one of the 12 National Key Economic Areas of the Economic Transformation Programme.

About 70 people, including WOU Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Wong Tat Meng attended the conference.