Malaysia fares well in UNESCO survey

According to UNESCO, Malaysia provides well for its students:

BANGKOK: The Malaysian education system has done well in terms of facilities provided to students and teachers’ salaries, according to a study carried out in 11 countries by Unesco’s Institute for Statistics. Malaysia scored a high percentage in the availability of electricity, blackboards, sufficient seating, library facilities and computers for students and administrators.

The report, released by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation yesterday, showed that educational expenditure per primary school pupil was highest in Chile (US$2,120 or RM6,900), followed by Argentina (US$1,605), Malaysia (US$1,552), Brazil (US$1,159) and Uruguay (US$1,063).

In contrast, expenditure per primary school pupil was less than US$700 in India, Paraguay, Peru and the Philippines.

It’s good to know that Malaysian schools provide a lot for their students. However, I would like to know the following to make more sense of this report:

  • How well-maintained are the resources and facilities? Are students given recent and up-to-date resources, or are they still on highly outdated resources (such as computers running Windows 95)?
  • What percentage of that money is that compared to the rest of the National Budget? How does it compare to national living costs?
  • How effectively is that money utilized? Is the money well-spent?
  • Where in Malaysia, besides the completely rural areas, do you get 18 students for one teacher? Our classrooms were commonly filled with 30-40 people.
  • How effectively are the students learning? Do the resources actually contribute to student education? Are the teachers doing well?

EDIT: It seems that the priorities may be a little misplaced. From Nat Tan quoting Malaysiakini (emphasis Nat’s):

The government has spent a total of RM3.2 billion over the past five years to carry out the teaching of Science and Mathematics in English, Deputy Education Minister Razali Ismail told the Dewan Rakyat today.

Out of the amount, the government paid a whopping RM2.21 billion for the purchase of information and computer technology (ICT) equipments.

The rest of the expenditure went to the payment for educational incentives (RM638 million), teachers’ training (RM317 million) and ICT software (RM2.4 million).

WHOA! But what’s the point of all that money on technology if you don’t train teachers to use it? What about language training – apparently some teachers still revert to Bahasa Malaysia! What’s “educational incentives”? Why does hardware need to be that expensive? What about other non-computing learning tools, books, field trips?

Where’s all that money going through and where does it all come from?


EducateDeviate now part of 9rules


I’m proud to announce that EducateDeviate has been accepted into the latest round of 9rules, a well-known and well-respected blog network that features content from all areas and aspects of life.

I’m particularly stoked about being in 9rules as it’s highly sought after and it has strong community aspects. I’m interested in meeting up with other 9rules bloggers, particularly education bloggers, and see how we can work together to develop greater content. I’m also interested in getting assistance in developing EducateDeviate further, from just being a blog to being a full-fledged resource centre.

Another homeschooling/alternative education blog, Just Enough, was also accepted into this round of 9rules. I found her through looking at the accepted websites list and it’s great to have more blogs like ours around – they’re hard to find as it is! The Education community on 9rules is rather sparse at the moment, but hopefully myself and Just Enough will be able to fill it out a bit.

Huzzah! Thank you Scriv, Mike, and Tyme!

School uniforms encourage rape, apparently.

From Marina Mahathir’s blog:

KUALA LUMPUR: A Malaysian group condemned the uniform worn by girls at government schools, saying it encouraged rape and pre-marital sex.

“The white blouse is too transparent for girls and it becomes a source of attraction,” National Islamic Students Association of Malaysia vice-president Munirah Bahari said in a statement.

“It becomes a distraction to men, who are drawn to it, whether or not they like looking at it,” she said, calling for a review of uniform policy so that it did not violate Islamic ideals.


Rape is NOT about clothing! It’s not about transparent cloth! It’s about power and taking advantage of vulnerability!

There’s so many things that could be fixed with the education system and all you can think about is a non-issue?!

I don’t believe it’s Islamic to go off on petty things. If you’re seriously concerned about rape, don’t blame the victim, and don’t go pinning it on irrelevant things. Work on things like safety education, respect, and self-care. Get people to realize that rape is wrong.

School uniforms have nothing to do with it, so stop wasting time.

Life = Risk

If you haven’t failed, you haven’t lived.

HOPE: Higher Opportunities for Private Education

Just read on Education in Malaysia about the HOPE Program, where students who weren’t able to obtain places in public universities in Malaysia will be able to apply for a subsidised spot in a network of nine private universities – APIIT, LimKokWing, Segi, Life, Stamford, Putra, Inti, Mantissa, and Nilai.

The HOPE Network will also provide more funding options, such as PTPTN, to assure that students will be able to afford their education.

I like this idea. There are many reasons students get left out from being in public universities (for example, my sister was a top scorer and was very high-achieving anyway, but she couldn’t get into any public uni because she was Lain-Lain and didn’t figure into the quota system) and the cost of private universities can be rather prohibitive. This program offers a happy medium – more options for education at an affordable price.

Of course, potential students must be prepared to do their research on the universities in the network to make sure that they offer what the students need, and that the course is up to par. It can be tempting to take a place because it’s there, after facing rejection, but you still need to be careful – and besides, there’s opportunities everywhere.

Any comments from those about to take up the Program? What do you feel about it?

Education Books for Sale

I have some second-hand books on education/youth for sale. These books are of varying conditions and ages (but generally good). Prices are best offer + shipping; I’ll ship internationally from Brisbane. I accept bank transfers (Australia only) or PayPal (you can pay by credit card using PayPal). I also have some other non-education books; contact me for more info.

Click “More” to see the books I have for sale:
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Imagine It! – Promote Creative Thinking

6 days. A stack of Post-It notes. Teams of university students and budding entrepreneurs worldwide.

The task: Create additional value.

The results: Imagine It! – a documentary about entrepreneurship and creative thinking, showcasing the added value those teams created out of Post-It notes.

Watch the Imagine It! video

The Imagine It! project was part of Global Entrepreneurship Week last year, with the competition organized in Stanford, attracting participants from all over the world. The projects featured in this video are:

  • Selling fast-food to uni students, using Post-Its to take orders
  • Teaching entrepreneurship to elementary school students by getting them to draw their inventions on Post-Its
  • Collecting messages to and from Thailand’s disabled community while raising awareness about disability issues
  • Collecting feedback and personal opinions about the newly-drafted Thai constitution
  • What’s Your Post-It? – “if you had one Post-It to write to yourself, somebody else, or the world, what would it say?”
  • Creating Post-Its into characters to raise awareness about leukaemia
  • Collaborative music by combining musical snippets contributed by people
  • Comedy about organizing girlfriends with Post-Its
  • Encouraging uni students to unplug their unused appliances and conserve energy
  • Collecting the wisdom from the brightest minds of Stanford
  • Pledging the public to be Heart-Smart
  • Notifying Ecuadorian drivers about the dangers of parking/driving on pedestrian crosswalks
  • Collecting donations to be sent to Kiva, a microlending organization

These are only some of the many university groups that took part in this challenge.

The video also features interviews from Internet entrepreneur Guy Kawasaki; John Hennessy, president of Stanford University; Debra Dunn, director of the Skoll Foundation; and many more.

The Global Entrepreneurship Week will take place from November 17-23 2008. Check out their website and get involved!

Nat.Geo Glimpse Correspondents – Get Published & Paid While Studying Abroad

Are you studying abroad between August and December this year? Do you have experience in writing, photography, or video? Here’s your chance to make use of your experiences and skills – and become famous internationally.


National Geographic has launched the Glimpse Correspondents Program, whereby students aged 18-30 who are studying abroad for at least 10 weeks will be able to tell their stories of their experiences for publication in the National Geographic Glimpse magazine. Selected participants will also receive a $600 stipend and a professional editor to help them through the process.

Applications open mid-May, but you can sign up to express your interest. Those of you in The Star – BRATs that are studying abroad, I suggest you investigate this as well.

Once Upon A School: Get Inspired

As part of his TED Prize (the award given by major ideas conference TED to 3 prominent people to have one wish come true), author Dave Eggers talks about his project 826 Valencia, a writing and tutoring center for young people staffed by professional writers and educators, housed behind shops of very unusual nature – the one at Valencia was a “pirate’s goods” store. Originally the storefront was a way to circumvent zoning laws, but it became a good draw (and made money for the center), and soon the project spread to various other tutoring centres+shops across the US and the world.

(click the picture below to see his video on TED)

Dave Eggers talking at TED

Eggers’s wish is for more people to get involved with their local schools and engage their students into learning. To achieve this, he and the people at TED have started Once Upon A School, a website where people can pledge ideas for school engagement and read stories of those that have done so.

Once Upon A School

Some of the ideas include hands-on tutoring for maths and science and companies partnering with classes to provide real-world experiences (much like the KaosPilots), while a couple of projects already running include M.U.S.I.C., which brings pop music into the classroom, and ACE, or Awareness for Communities about Energy, which trains schoolkids and community members about energy-efficient living.

My story about doing a Life after School talk at my old secondary school also made it onto the website. Read my story and share your ideas.

What other ideas do you have for getting involved with your schools? How can communities and schools engage each other?