The Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) is a Malaysian think tank dedicated to promoting market-based solutions to public policy challenges. We publish research papers to shape the opinions of policy makers, parliament members, relevant government officials and public in general.

IDEAS is inviting submissions for papers from academics, think tanks, researchers, postgraduate students interested in the area of education especially among the poorest households in Malaysia. Papers are encouraged to utilise the data that IDEAS collected from our nationwide education survey of 1,200 low-income households, which we have made publicly available on our website. Writers are given the liberty to write on any aspects that you are interested in, which the data can help to substantiate.

The questionnaire was targeted at parents and sought to do the following:

  1. To understand the condition of their children’s education, including:

                   a)       educational expenses in relation to their income;

                   b)      awareness and views of different government assistance on education;

                   c)       quality of their children’s school;

                   d)      access to educational institutions; and

                   e)       ability to influence decision-making in education.

  1. To identify their children’s educational needs, including the relative importance for various needs.
  2. To explore their aspiration for their children, as well as towards the education system.
  3. To gauge their awareness and knowledge on the current education policy.

The full dataset is available at along with our first paper on the survey which covers the following five main findings:

  1. Information Gap: There is an information gap between government education plans and the information received by the poor. What can be done to improve this and why is it important? What policy recommendations can be made?
  2. Accessibility to Education Aid: Government education aid is not reaching the needy. What is going wrong and how can this be improved upon or is this an opportunity for private sector to step in. What policy recommendations can be made?
  3. Dropouts: Lack of interest in school continues to drive students to drop out at an early age. What can be done about this? Do we have enough information on the issue of dropouts to make policy recommendations?
  4.  Education Expenses: Education related expenses continue to be a burden for parents from low-income households. What areas of school-related expenses are particularly burdensome? What can be done to push students to continue going to school in spite of these challenges? What policy recommendations can be made?
  5. School Accessibility: Accessibility to schools continues to limit choice for parents. Is this limiting choice for the parents in terms of the school they would like to send their child to? Is this an opportunity for private sector to step in? What policy recommendations can be made?

Our second paper published on this survey was on dropouts which can be found at However, we are looking to publish papers on the remaining issues. We welcome and look forward to all submissions.


Please submit a concept note and latest resume to by Friday 5 September 2014. The concept note should be between 800-1000 words in length, and effectively communicate preliminary ideas for the final paper and its methodology. Please do have a browse through the dataset and associated questionnaire and keep this in mind when submitting a concept note.  Accepted authors will be notified by 12 September 2014.

The full paper should be submitted to by 30 October 2014. Submissions should be between 4000-6000 words in length.


Accepted papers will undergo a peer-review process coordinated and monitored by IDEAS.

IDEAS will provide an honorarium for the writer, at an agreed-upon rate.

Published papers will be made accessible to the public through our website as part of the Policy Ideas publications, and distributed to policy makers, members of Parliament, and relevant government officials.

IDEAS will also provide opportunities for authors to present their findings to groups of relevant stakeholders. Additionally we will provide a platform for the presentation of important research findings in our monthly press statements, regularly picked up by print and broadcast media, nationally, regionally, and internationally. Social media, such as Twitter and Facebook, will also be used for further promotion. For examples of past publications, please visit

1 Comment

  • Dr Asiah Mason 2014 Sep 16 / 10:47

    IDEAS is a powerful beacon for highlighting using scientific approach the status of social, political and economical issues in Malaysia. Congratulations for establishing this much needed platform.

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