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Malaysia announces major education reform


15:27, September 12, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept. 11 (Xinhua) -- Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on Tuesday announced a major education reform plan which stresses teaching quality and language skills in a bid to strengthen competitiveness of Malaysian students.

The Malaysian National Blueprint seeks improvement of Malaysian students in thinking skills, leadership skills and bilingual proficiency, among others.

The transformation will take place in three phrases from 2012 to 2025, with the first phrase touching issues such as education equality and students' language skills.

While different language groups in the multi-ethnic country, namely Malay, Chinese and Indian, are pushing for their own agenda, the government stressed the importance of proficiency in English.

Najib said a command of the English language was a valuable asset. He even encouraged his fellow countrymen to learn a third language, beside Malay and English.

"I encouraged my son to learn Madarin,"he told the launching ceremony of the reform plan, "This is because we want a competitive advantage."

Muhyiddin Yassin, Deputy Prime Minister who also holds the education minister portfolio, said earlier that Malaysian students had fell in the bottom one-third in reading, mathematics and science in the program for international student assessment in 2009, which was conducted in 74 countries.

"The result show that our student lack higher-order thinking skills, which is the ability to be analytical and critical, and to apply their knowledge to solve problems,"he told local New Strait Times.

The target of the reform plan is to elevate Malaysian students from the bottom one-third to the top one-third of the ranking within 13 years, Muhyiddin said.

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