More Decision Making Power for Schools in Education

Kuala Lumpur, 13 July 2015 — Recently, Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) president, Senator Prof Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian, asked for a review of the Education Act 1996 (Act 550) citing the State Education Department’s “ has limited power in making policy decision and operations” and that it plays a “supporting role” in implementation of any initiatives.

“Dr Sim’s frustration is understandable – our education system has been highly centralised for years and education has fallen victim to politicisation,” says Wan Saiful Wan Jan, CEO of IDEAS, “If the system were decentralised and more decision making was given not only to the State Education Department (JPN) but to the District Education Office (PPD) and schools, there would be an increase in the responsiveness and maybe even quality of education delivered. PPDs would be able to adapt to the needs of the local population and there would be more onus on parents and the community to make their voices heard.”

“While we understand that this process will not occur overnight and needs consultation with various stakeholders including parents, policy makers, and educationists it is essential that moves are made in the right direction to empower districts and schools to make decisions with regards to resources allocated to them including budget, personnel and pedagogy.”

Wan Saiful adds “Sarawak should take up the leadership role in championing decentralisation of our education system. Sarawak, together with Sabah, understand decentralisation better than many other states in Malaysia because they have always kept their autonomy on many areas. I congratulate Dr Sim for this suggestion and we would be happy help where we can.”

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IDEAS is Malaysia’s first think-tank dedicated to promoting market-based solutions to public policy challenges. We are an independent not-for-profit organisation. As a cross-partisan think tank, we work across the political spectrum. Our purpose is to advance market-based principles, and we are not bound by party politics, race or religion.

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