8 Values of 1 Malaysia – Part 7: Education
My vision of 1 Malaysia includes that of a nation whose people have enriched their lives through the pursuit of and a positive application of knowledge. A life-long education process which takes place in and outside of the classroom will produce Malaysians who are able to think and act less selfishly, and more for the community in which they live.
Click here to learn more about my views on Education as a value of 1 Malaysia. You can also read the transcript below.
Education and knowledge are important prerequisites for any nation to succeed and throughout history we’ve realized that the only empires that have survived are the empires of the mind, particularly in the present context. An empire built on military strength have not survived and cannot survive. So when you talk about education and knowledge, it must be seen in a holistic context. It must be integrated with values as well. You must have a society which places education and knowledge at the apex of everything. Not only the government, but society as a value. For example, the culture of reading. If you just rely on formal text books, you’re not going to gain as much as you ought to. But if you have this culture of reading, this habit of reading, whether through books or through the internet then you are able to open up the Malaysian mind. And I’d like to see the Malaysian mind more and more opened up.
We are constrained by the fact that we have different [education] streams in the country. We don’t have one stream, as such, we don’t have one national stream. Even the national stream has been redefined to include the vernacular schools. It is both a strength as well as a problem and a challenge for us because we won’t have the opportunity for Malaysians to grow up together through one school in a physical sense, but they will be compartmentalized. 95 per cent of Chinese will go to Chinese schools, 97 per cent of malays will go through the sekolah kebangsaan or national schools. So we will not have the opportunity. But what we can do is to ensure that there are opportunities for us to interact by looking at the curriculum and emphasizing on common values, so that even if we are physically separated, but if we are imbued with the same value system, hopefully at some point in time, we will converge. When we converge, in the physical sense, we will be able to appreciate each other better.