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 Are students given recent and up-to-date resources, or are they still on highly outdated resources (such as computers running Windows 95)?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?

YouthMalaysia’s National Youth Entrepreneurship Convention – Report Back

You can never be too overexposed!

Kid Chan

The National Youth Entrepreneurship Convention was surprisingly well done. There was a large crowd and a good group of interesting and fun speakers. Mostly everyone was relaxed and jovial and were open to questions and light banter. Kid Chan had TONS of energy, Kenny Sia was very “boy next door” and gentle, and Mia Palencia and Khai Lee were very obviously passionate. It’s funny how a couple of them credit their mother’s negative reaction as the catalyst to their success! It was also nice to hear from YouthMalaysia’s founder Joel Neoh (who became “Noel” tons of times thanks to Chris the MC) – he was a bit more humble than I imagined him to be, which is quite good. Overall it was a pretty interesting session, and far better organized than many other YouthMalaysia activities. Let this be an inspiration!

The only main complaint would be the “Millionaire Sisters”, who were utterly misplaced in the Social Entrepreneurship/Leadership category – they didn’t belong to either! They came off as very fake and materialistic and cared more about their wealth then with actually helping people. They seemed to have come from the same presentation school as people like Sarina Russo, Kathy Ireland, and basically anyone working in the “make more money now!” industry – overacting, silly interaction, lots of “LOOK HOW WEALTHY I AM”. I don’t think anyone was pretty impressed with their presence (nor was I impressed with one of their staff members who cornered me after the convention and tried to get me to come and “listen to more of what they had to say”! Urgh, creepy). Also wasn’t totally impressed with Dato’ Ong Ka Tiek’s luncheon speech – his cries of “we encourage young students to be DIFFERENT and to VOICE THEIR OPINIONS” ring really hollow when you consider that it’s his department (Higher Education) that enacts laws and rules severely restricting students’ freedom of speech and assembly.

Ern Sheong has a great writeup on all the speakers and their presentations, so check his blog out for some quick notes. I was also happy to meet some EducateDeviate readers and friends – Chong Chuan, Daniel CerVentus, Karin Cheng, Delwyn Lee, John & Michael (sorry didn’t catch your last names), Nabila, Su Ann. Turns out that the discount could apply to more than 3 people, so apologies to those whom I turned down for the group!

If you were at the convention, please feel free to share your stories here.