It is a growing concern, that there are still adults in the world who are illiterate. In some countries, there are children not going to school, practice of discrimination against woman and girls still exist and the quality of learning not satisfactory.
In the conference of the World Education Forum at Dakar, Senegal, April 2000, where representatives from 164 countries were present, six goals were adopted by the international community, which have come to be known as the Education for All (EFA) Goals.
The six EFA Goals are
1. Expanding and improving comprehensive early childhood care and education, especially for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children.
In line with the above, special education programmes was developed by the Ministry of Education in their effort to provide greater opportunities to students who are lacking of interest in academic and do not have the advantages to further their studies. This programme which is expanded in the ordinary and vocational schools will enable the students to develop and enhance their talent in appropriate skills. Through combined Special Education Programme these children will not feel segregated and will join the mainstream of education being offered by the country.
2. Ensuring that by 2015, all children, particularly girls, children in difficult circumstances and those belonging to ethnic minorities, have access to and complete free and compulsory primary education of good quality.
In order to ensure that this agenda is being fulfilled, the Ministry of Education has made a decision that every children from all sorts of family background will undergo a compulsory education from the age of 6 years old until 16 years old.
3. Ensuring that the learning needs of all young people and adults are met through equitable access to appropriate learning and life skills programmes.
During the Malaysia International Conference on English Language Teaching, Dato’ Sri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein, Minister of Education, emphasized that it is imperative for our students to be exposed and provided with the relevant skills through the special medium to remain competitive and able to meet the dynamic and ever changing learning environment. Technology in the form of computers and courseware is integrated in the teaching and learning to aid improvement of the learning processes making subjects taught to be more interesting to students. Thus far, the Ministry has provided teachers with a total of 79, 144 notebook, and 66,685 LCD projectors plus other peripherals and teaching courseware. Teachers are given training to fully utilize the hardware and software, besides being provided with Self-Learning packages for their own use.
4. Achieving a 50 per cent improvement in levels of adult
literacy by 2015, especially for women, and equitable access to basic and continuing education for all adults.
The Ministry has started investing heavily in enhancing the learning-teaching environment with state-of-art hardware and software. Today, teachers have access to not only textbooks, but also a wide range of multi-media resources which they can use to supplement their teaching. Therefore, the total number of illiteracy can be reduce by having this kind resources that can boost up their interest in education. This is clearly exemplified with the setting up of the SchoolNet project. This world is increasingly networked, and we should also be well-equipped in this regard. Under this scheme and with the support of the National IT Council (NITC), a total of 10,000 educational institutions under the Ministry, including school and teacher colleges will be wired with broadband access. Students and teachers would be able to access the knowledge of the world from their PCs and laptops, which will greatly assist in the quest for knowledge building. The Ministry is committed to provide the best for the teachers. After all, teachers are the main contributors for the development of the nation.
5. Eliminating gender disparities in primary and secondary education by 2005, and achieving gender equality in education by 2015, with a focus on ensuring girls’ full and equal access to, and achievement in, basic education of good quality.
According to the Client’s Charter of The Ministry of Education, they had pledge and promise to concentrate with their fullest energy and effort towards providing standardised, comfortable, fully equipped and adequate educational facilities which mirrors the practice of a caring society.
6. Improving every aspect of the quality of education, and ensuring excellence so that recognized and measurable learning outcomes are achieved all, especially in literacy, numeracy and essential life skills.
Several workshops on audit quality and bench marking are carried out in cooperation with the Institut Tadbiran Awam Malaysia (INTAN) and Unit Pemodenan Pentadbiran Malaysia (MAMPU). In 1999, the Aminuddin Baki Institute became the first training institution awarded MS ISO 9002 certified at the Ministry of Education in course management. Furthermore, several quality awards have been organized in order to ensure that every aspect of quality in education is being abided.
In a nutshell, the EFA goals cover the following areas of:
1. Early childhood care and education
2. Elementary education, and,
3. Literacy and life skills education for adults and young people;
TEACHERS ROLE IN ACHIEVING EDUCATION FOR ALL GOALS
Teacher is not merely as a source of information but rather a developer of various skills, attitudes, norms and ethics in students. Teachers role not only be confined to classroom but also in tackling other problems that pose hindrances to achieve EFA. There are several roles that the new millennium teachers should possess.
First, they should sensitise the parents and make them aware of the importance of education through personal interaction and public meetings. Enrolment and attendance can be improved.
Then, recognize students setback due to background, poor, communication problems, poor learning environment, helping them getting the aids and funds that students need.
Next, they should able to reduce the gaps between the able and less able students, in terms of access to information and having IT skills.
Furthermore, educate students on how best they can adapt themselves to their environment by providing them with the knowledge and skills of utilising whatever resources are available in their areas of development. Knowledge to plan, develop and utilise existing resources in the locality.
Teachers can also help to gradually change the attitudes of parents and students towards realising the importance of education in our lives thus life long education which will sustain through generations by developing reading habits of reading among students because reading is the gateway to all sort of knowledge.
Finally, delivery of quality education can be attractive to students thus can achieve academic excellence.
In a nutshell, a quality education must facilitate learning in terms of creativity, values for democratic citizenship and life skills, as well as knowledge and cognitive skills within a safe and learner-friendly environment. This remains a significant challenge even in highly resourced countries where levels of learning achievement are becoming a serious problem. Reorienting education to improve quality outcomes requires education systems that are structured and equipped to educate learners to meet the challenges of the 21st Century.
Therefore, a successful qualitative education reforms must be based on a long-term vision for education, a motivated and well-supported teaching corps and strong government leadership in coordinated partnership and synergy with all development partners.
Annual Report (2001 – 2005) , Ministry of Education Malaysia
Paper by the Commonwealth Secretariat (2003): Access. 15th Conference of
Commonwealth Education Ministers. Edinburg, Scotland
Paper by the Commonwealth Secretariat (2003): Progress Report Since Halifax. 15th
Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers. Edinburg, Scotland