KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 24 — The RM20 million a private consultancy pocketed for preparing the National Education Blueprint (NEB) was a “complete waste” of taxpayers’ money, a critical federal lawmaker said today.
DAP’s Ong Kian Ming further criticised the government for engaging McKinsey and Co to prepare the education blueprint, pointing out that the firm’s staff are not education specialists but merely general management consultants.
He said the project management office (PMO) could have asked other “high-powered” individuals from the Education Ministry and the government’s efficiency unit Pemandu to prepare the blueprint, instead of hiring external consultants.
“Surely the PMO could have utilised its many capable resources within the Ministry and Pemandu to prepare this National Education Blueprint?
“Why waste RM20 million on employing expensive management consultants?” the Serdang MP asked in a statement today.
“The role of McKinsey is not even documented in the National Education Blueprint (NEB),” he pointed out.
Ong indicated that there was a lack of transparency in the non-disclosure of McKinsey’s role in the NEB, pointing out that one of the 11 shifts in the blueprint was to “Increase Transparency for Direct Public Accountability”.
He also said that this would further cast doubt on the Ministry of Education’s ability to issue a “transparent and accountable” annual report of its progress in implementing the NEB.
Citing a written parliamentary reply by the Ministry of Education to his question yesterday, Ong said the RM20,556,400 fee was given to McKinsey and Co in two phases, with the payments split into RM4,706,400 and RM15,860,000 respectively.
“I call upon the minister to explain why RM20 million was [spent] on McKinsey and whether he plans to continue to use the services of McKinsey in implementing the National Education Blueprint,” Ong said, referring to Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
In the same statement, Ong also said that the RM20 million could have been used to build new schools or science laboratories instead, claiming that the fee had gone against the aim to “Maximise Student Outcomes for Every Ringgit”, one of the 11 shifts in the NEB.
The National Education Blueprint, which was launched by Muhyiddin on September 6 this year, is a 15-year roadmap for the country’s education system that will cover the years from 2013 to 2025.
The government will take stock of the NEB’s progress at the milestone years of 2015, 2020 and 2025.
One of the government’s aims in the NEB is to propel Malaysia to the top third tier in international education rankings in 15 years’ time, based on the results of the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) and the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA).