Dr. Maszlee bin Malik, Malaysia’s Minister of Education, has implemented budget increases and new programs to increase the quality of education in Malaysia. Approximately 60.2 billion Malaysian ringgit (or $14.63 billion) has been set aside for 2019 — once again accounting for the largest share of the total federal budget at 19.1 percent.
Around 2.9 billion Malaysian ringgit will be used towards helping impoverished areas, including purchasing new books and food. Some of the increased budget has also been designated for school improvements and repair. In fact, 100 million Malaysian ringgit will go toward rebuilding schools in need of a facelift.
New Education Initiatives in Malaysia
The Ministry of Education in Malaysia has also been striving to make education more inclusive for all children, particularly for the B40 group or the “Bottom 40” — which represents the lowest earners in the country. According to Maszlee, 60 percent of residential school spots have been reserved for B40 students. These students have also been given priority enrollment into secondary and tertiary institutions.
The Ministry has also been targeting special-needs enrollment by implementing a “Zero Reject Policy” in schools throughout the country. More than 5,400 special needs students are now enrolled in Malaysian schools as of 2019. The government is also working toward making 11 years of education compulsory by revising the Education Act of 1996. Making secondary education mandatory will help to improve the quality of education in Malaysia by enforcing higher levels of classes throughout the country.
STEM education has also taken a forefront throughout 2019 in the Ministry’s new STEM4ALL campaign. The initiative is working towards making STEM education a priority for both boys and girls throughout primary and secondary education. STEM4ALL is working toward bringing technology to rural schools as well, since many of these schools are only accessible by boats or dirt paths. The program is also partnered with Microsoft Malaysia to bring more technology into classrooms to better prepare students for future careers.
The Ministry decided to eliminate midyear and final exams for years one through three in schools to adopt a more student-oriented method of learning. This has impacted more than 1.3 million students because teachers can focus less on test-oriented materials and adopt more personal approaches for teaching. This swap also allows parents to see more growth from their children as opposed to only seeing test results at the end of the year.
Dr. Maszlee bin Malik has made multiple strides to enhance the quality of Malaysian education. His many initiatives to infuse technology into classrooms and increase funding to repair school buildings have significantly improved Malaysian school systems in recent years.
– Kristen Bastin