KUALA LUMPUR: The recent OECD report on Malaysia’s standard of education has stated that while having a reasonable budget was important for education, having quality teachers was of equal importance.
In a statement today, Wan Saiful Wan Jan, CEO of local think tank Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) said, “The OECD report also points out that expenditure is not the be-all and end-all in education. The quality of teachers is just as important.”
Wan Saiful commented that the government had to take the quality of their teachers much more seriously.
“If they are serious, they should give clear performance indicators and remove under-performing teachers immediately,” said Wan Saiful.
“But the government now says even under-performing teachers can remain in the system for up to three years. That is enough time to destroy the future of thousands of children.”
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) published the biggest ever global school rankings with Asian countries in top five places, based on test scores in 76 countries.
The ranking places Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan in the top five, while Malaysia was ranked 52.
Wan Saiful also said that the link between education and economic growth was interesting.
The OECD report commented that a country would have massive room for growth if all 15-year-olds in a country acquired basic skills or modern functional literacy (420 points in the PISA scale).
“In our case, this would mean a potential 505 percent of growth in GDP until 2095,” he pointed out, saying that the country had to ensure that all 15-year-olds have basic skills in Maths and English.
He stated that the first step towards doing so would be to move away from current education policies and go for a completely different approach of decentralisation and school autonomy, two factors IDEAS research found to play important roles.
“We documented the experience of a school that enjoyed autonomy, and found that for autonomy to produce the desired impact, there must be a concentrated effort to remove structural barriers,” said Wan Saiful.