“Job seekers cited the shortages of jobs as one reason for being unemployed. This was disputed by employers who attributed graduate unemployment to a lack of generic skills and serious inadequacy in terms of work-related competences. Furthermore, responsibility for nurturing qualities identified with “employability” lies with the entire education system, from preschool to tertiary levels. This calls for better planning and coordination among all education providers in preparing and motivating young people to become responsible and productive citizens.”- UNESCO, 2011

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela

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With growing concern about the future generation, on the 17th September 2015, the Global Peace Foundation (Malaysia) brought together education enthusiasts from various different sectors to engage in the Global Peace Education Forum 2015, “How Might Educators, Entrepreneurs and Public  Authorities Foster Synergies for School  Transformation?” at the University of Malaya.

Character creativity Initiative

Forum participants and panelists

The forum kickstarted with a little exercise to understand the perspective of the forum participants who were from all walks of life. From principals, teachers, students, government officials, entrepreneurs, gamers, social enterprise and technology companies shared their thoughts and ideas of how we may integrate the 21st century learning skills in our classrooms.

Speakers discussing about transforming school culture in Malaysia. Character and Creativity is one of such initiative.

Session 1 speakers discussing about transforming school culture in Malaysia. Character and Creativity is one of such initiative.

Session 1, “Cross-Sector Alignment in Transforming Education”, moderated by Dr. Teh Su Thye (MBBS), Chief Executive Officer, Global Peace Foundation (Malaysia) commenced with Dr Teh emphasising the necessity and importance of the platform. “Transforming education is a global effort,” he stated. The speakers of this session were Dr. Habibah Abdul Rahim of PADU (Education Performance and Delivery Unit), Lien Shariatmadari, Global Peace Foundation International and Jess Tinawin of INTI Education Group, a group of passionate education drivers in the global education landscape.

Starting of with a big picture, Lien shared how youth unemployment is a rapidly growing challenge for graduates which is the product of the current education system. Through sharing from speakers, it was made apparent that the need for a better working model to transform education was much needed, and that the model has to integrate a cross-sectorial approach. Each sector clearly has it’s strength and mechanism of support that it can offer to the education transformation.

Dr Habibah stated how we need to create compelling stories, to invite people from different sectors to be part of the change management. “If people believe in what we are doing, I believe that they would want to be part of the change process as well. The change management has to happen,” shared Dr Habibah.

Meanwhile, with an experience of 24 years in INTI, and having worked with  252 senior executives, cut across different sectors Mr Jess Tinawin brought in the employer’s perspectives as to what they look for in candidates. According to Mr Tinawin, the crucial skills are communications, problem finding instead of problem solving, how to collaborate with one another to get things done and critical thinking skills. He calls on parents, learners and teachers to change their roles to develop students who are capable.

In conclusion, awareness is the first step in realising the need for a collective effort towards disrupting the current education and rewiring the education landscape. Everyone has own role to play with their own circle of influence that could used in this effort.  

Session 2, “Implementing 21st Century Skills in Schools in Interdisciplinary Ways” was moderated by Mr. Puniamurthy Krishnasamy of University of Malaya, Mr Alfred Wong, Headmaster, SJK(C) Choong Wen, Ms Rahayu Ramli of Google Education Malaysia, Ms Liew Lai Foong, Catherine, English Teacher, SMK Bandar Baru Seri Petaling, Kuala Lumpur and Professor Dr Suhaiza, Director University of Malaya Entrepreneurship Centre (UMEC).

The session sparked with sharing perspectives about holistic education approach of incorporating different disciplines instead of working in silos. Much easier said than done, as we have been over the years by the system that we are put in, conditioned to be working in such modality.

No matter, principals play a key role in leading the education culture of a school, “teachers are the front line to teach the students,” Mr Alfred mentioned brightly emphasising the role of teachers in leveraging on the support provided in developing their students. “Teachers need to change. Teachers need to engage and interact with their students,” said Ms Catherine, who is also an Character and Creativity Initiative (CCI) Innovator in SMK Bandar Baru Seri Petaling.

“People have a very strong sense of individuality, a sense of self. When you have a voice and given a voice, that’s when your sense of empowerment kicks in. There has always been a strong sense of wanting to tell a story, and wanting to fix the problems around the world. And that is the skills we want to look for, “ Rahayu elaborated to open our minds to the reality of the role of education. “We need to pivot a way around problem solving. Not necessarily changing the curriculum but the method of delivering it. It’s not about the technology, it has been there for a very long time, but how do we contextualize the environment around it,” she added.

In conclusion, empowerment carries a weight in increasing the ownership of everyone that plays a role in the education ecosystem, with school principals being the key. While mechanisms should make it viable for companies to come in to invest in the schools. Hence, the interdisciplinary approach becomes the catalytic motion that would induce a wave of positive change in our education landscape.

Character creativity Initiative

Forum participants and panelists

“Alone we are smart, together we are brilliant,” Steven Anderson

Education is the foundation of the development of peace. The school culture transformation is in need of a cross-sectorial commitment and collaboration to reinvigorate collective efforts to nurture holistic youth who would drive global development for a better tomorrow.

“If we all do our effort and how do we sustain, it is here, we are seeing it, it is just a matter of would you like to be counted in this campaign. And I indulge you to please helps us Dr Habibah and the Global Peace to get our citizens a really truly global.”- Jess Tinawan, INTI Education Group

Written by Archana, Global Peace