Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Blue Print For Change

Today, on The Star’s front page, the headline is the launch of “The National Education Blueprint”.
And Pak Lah was quoted as saying that The National Education Blueprint will produce students who can ‘think out of the box’.

This is great. Provided it comes with excellent content, planning and implementation.

Talking about ‘thinking outside of the box’, I truly believe, the role of teachers must change.
Teachers must evolve from their present role to facilitators. And this ‘facilitator’ thing is not something new.

When I was in Malay College from 1975 to 1979, the teachers there were great facilitators and helped the students to be lateral thinkers and resourceful young men.

In addition to all of us getting First Grade in our MCE (Malaysian Certificate of Education), our organizing and communications skills were polished to the max.

How? By having the students ‘run’ the school.

Yes, we students organized and managed all the activities in school.
The principal and teachers functioned as advisers who provided the directions and the ‘real blue print’.
All these taught us ‘responsibility’ and ensure things done well with creative approach.
Now, that is thinking outside the box.

We should also think outside the box to change threats to opportunities and weaknesses to strengths.


Take the obvious example.

Something is not quite right when it comes to how we use information to manage our environment -- the floods in Johor. Yes, it’s true -- the amount of rain that fell in Johor was out of the ordinary, and as a result we have floods everywhere in Johor today. But then again, this is the time for us to ‘think out of the box’ and start working fast on implementing an excellent proactive flood prevention program.
We have the experts in the institutions of higher learning to help us out. And soon, when the rain comes, we will no longer worry about moving people to evacuation centres anymore but using the much needed ‘excess’ water to improve our lives. Let us take Holland for example,

Holland has always been at the mercy of the North Sea windstorm that would cause storm tides.

In January 1953 Holland suffered a combination of heavy rain and a tidal surge of the North Sea that caused water level to exceed 5.6 meters above mean sea level.

The flood and waves caused extensive flooding.

What did they do?
Holland and its European neighbours applied lateral thinking skills. Ambitious flood prevention systems were conceived and deployed.

One example is The Delawerken, designed to protect the estuary of The Rhine and Meuse.

The works were completed in 1998.
Today they are proud of the storm surge barriers. Among them the MeasMeaslantkering in Nieuwe, near Rotterdam.

Flood barriers, improved weather forecasting, modern communications and sophisticated emergency services helped position Holland as a ‘forward thinking’ nation.

And better than that, they created ‘drama’ out of all these efforts in their communications channel to turn the flood prevention projects into tourist attractions – now…talk about great knowledge management and smart spin.

And millions of tourists from all over the world would flock to Holland every year to see the successful flood prevention program and how the experts ‘added’ landmass by conquering the sea (reclamation) and used the land to plant beautiful flowers for the export market.

That is tourism. Not oversized ‘tengkolok’ on heavily made-up male dancers who ‘put on’ shows for tourists. We must show tourists how clever we are in managing our environment and make big bucks from it, with or without the ‘big wheel spinning’ – oklah adalah sikit excitement kalau naik gondola tu.

Note: Pictures from:

1. Google Image.
2. Denarend.com.
3. Photoglobe.info.
4. Awfulgood.com.
5. Freewebs.com.
6. Answers.com.
7. The Star.