Malaysia education blueprint is strong, says Microsoft director

A school boy walks past a street mural depicting a school bus and students in Shah Alam January 2, 2014. — Reuters pic
A school boy walks past a street mural depicting a school bus and students in Shah Alam January 2, 2014. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 17 — Malaysia has among the strongest vision in education planning in Asia Pacific region, said Microsoft Education director for Asia Pacific, Don Carlson.

He said the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025 was quite extensive if compared to blueprints of the other countries in the region

“I look at a lot of (education) blueprints in the region and find that the blueprint that the government produced here (Malaysia) is quite extensive.

“It is a very strong vision of blueprint of where to go and where they see themselves, which is great because it is all started from there,” he told Bernama in an interview.

The blueprint manifest via inputs among others, from education experts at Unesco, World Bank and local universities suggests 11 strategic and operational shifts including to provide internet access and virtual learning environments for all 10,000 schools in 2013 and access to 4G network to all students in the near future.

Carlson said among the interesting part in the blueprint was the plan to connect all school with 4G connectivity, the very aspect that a lot of countries were striving for.

“I think given the vision, its enable us to work with them very closely to help envision and enable that,” he said.

He stressed the most exciting part for Microsoft was the fact that the connectivity would subsequently enable data analytic, the next ‘big thing’ in digital learning to be put in place which would allow a thorough assessment of students, teachers and schools.

“It’s happening now (implemented in other countries), how we are enabling technology to help the students and teachers learn more effectively, understand the students, understand how we can make them succeed more in education (via analytic data).

“The 4G network, as far as I know is already a working progress( here), if you enable that, you will enable infrastructure like this (data analytic) to be put in place,” he said.

Carlson said the company was working with the Malaysian Education Ministry on several aspects of the education blueprint.

These include the training of teachers, developing teaching contents and materials and transforming schools into Microsoft Showcase School, whereby it would provide learning with Microsoft’s products.  

“In Malaysia, we have six showcase schools that maybe not necessarily have the best technologies, but they have the strongest leaders who can adapt to changes quite strongly. We are working with the ministry on how we can expand the school, probably in the next couple of years.”

Carlson said Microsoft had placed several key people from the company to engage with the Education Ministry regularly to help the country envision the blueprint, and assist them in fulfilling the requirement in education to achieve the developed nation status as targeted by 2020.

“We have a number of people in the country who engage at different level within the ministry and in different departments.

“We have some who work weekly with the teachers development department and we almost have an office there, its not like flying in and out,” he added. — Bernama

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