Unfortunately, the education system is now under heavy political influence and keeps on changing to the detriment of the system, observes Abdul Rashid Hanafi.
In educational administration, lofty ideals, long-range vision, and continuity and stability of policy are important. It is the responsibility of the head of the ministry to bring these qualities to public education.
Some may argue that ministers are politically appointed figureheads; hence they are dispensible and subject to change. But as long as the bureaucracy is firmly controlled by educational professionals – not mere administrators or technocrats – with its impartiality and technical expertise, the educational administration will function smoothly.
The work of the educational administrators must be guided by a minister with a broad perspective of the nation’s future.
But under the present parliamentary system, education ministers are chosen from among the members of the ruling party. As a result, the education system and policy are under heavy political influence and keep on changing to the detriment of the system.
Political considerations often take precedence over short-term and long-term national interest. Education, by right, should be free from political influence if we want to catch up with the rest.
To reform our education system requires careful research, public debates and constitutional revision before we can achieve a firm consensus in favour of breaking away from the firm control of the long-entrenched tradition
of official control and unfettered political influence.
Abdul Rashid Hanafi, a long-time reader of Aliran, is a former teacher based in Kedah.