Daily Express 21 August 2015

Kuala Lumpur: The Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas) has supported proposals for education policies to be decentralised in Sabah and Sarawak after Putrajaya postponed the implementation of a compulsory pass in the English subject in SPM.

Wan Saiful Wan Jan (pic), CEO of the public policy think-tank, said the Government’s decision to delay the move in the Form Five school-leaving examinations, which was meant to be enforced from next year onwards, signalled that many issues in the education system have yet to be addressed.

These included the lack of competent English teachers, the lack of effective implementation of policies and possibly a new direction in the education system, since Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin was dropped last month as Education Minister.

“Calls for autonomy [in] Sabah and Sarawak to make education related decisions raise an interesting alternative to preventing such indecisive and ineffective implementation of federal level policies,” Wan Saiful said in a statement.

“Empowering a school and the surrounding community may not only offer a more responsive solution for the students’ challenges but also a more effective implementation of policies such as the compulsory pass in English,” he added.

Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem said on Wednesday that he intended to reclaim autonomy for Sarawak, particularly in the education sector, noting that the State’s powers in sectors like education and health were meant to be returned to Sarawak according to the Malaysia Agreement.

The Examination Syndicate was on Thursday reported as saying that the postponement of plans to make it compulsory to pass the English subject in SPM was to “allow teachers and students to have more time and opportunities to prepare.”

Zairil Khir Johari, the DAP parliamentary spokesman for education, science and technology, questioned the delay in requiring a pass in the English subject, given that the Government has spent over RM1 billion to improve mastery of the lingua franca in local schools. The new Education Minister who replaced Muhyiddin is Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid.

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