Conference: School Leadership and Policy Implementation in Malaysia

On 16 March 2019, members of the RITE Education team participated in a conference “School Leadership and Policy Implementation in Malaysia”. The purpose of this conference was to present the findings from a research project by the University of Nottingham (Malaysia campus) on the implementation of educational policy reform in Malaysia, based on interviews with national, state and district officials, as well as school heads and principals. This research was funded by the HEAD Foundation.

Key Takeaways from the Conference

42% of principals in local public schools serve < 5 years before retiring. Are they able to achieve any meaningful transformation in their respective schools, given such a short duration of service? Should we look further into competency- rather than seniority-based promotions?

Should the best school leaders and educators serve at the most challenging schools?

In setting out policies for educational reform, should we be benchmarking rather than jumping on bandwagons? For instance, there is plenty of talk surrounding the Fourth Industrial Revolution, but how much of our teaching and learning practices are actually effective in preparing future generations for it?

Will policy implementation ever succeed without the buy-in of educators? How much of transformation begins in the classroom?

Do school leaders tend to focus on management rather than instructional leadership? Are some educators “only interested in teaching”, with little care for the development of their methods to cater to millennial traits?

Our Input at the Conference Roundtable

The hierarchical nature of education models is especially present in some countries. Is this a culturally inherent factor? Should we be researching further into adapting to this attribute (in the short-term), rather than trying to enforce changes in mindset which could take decades to overcome?

Educators are more than just professionals. They should be passionate about what they do, which would almost certainly translate into greater enthusiasm and likely to produce improved learner outcomes. Should educators engage more in informal and self-sustaining collaboration and networking, beyond Professional Learning Communities, Continuous Professional Development sessions, and other such activities?

Are trust and creative freedom in educational administration features which require a top-down approach? If the Ministry of Education offers autonomy to state education departments on certain aspects (with positive results), would this trigger similar practices at district level, school leadership level, and even down to the relationships between educators and their learners?

RITE Education is passionate about delivering personalised, sustainable and cost-effective solutions to 21st century challenges in education. Our projects thus far have spanned 7 countries and impacted tens of thousands of educators and learners, with validated impact on teaching and learning outcomes.

We work primarily with government agencies, foundations and groups of institutions to deliver research-based solutions which reflect international best practices and local realities. Innovative approaches which embed global education trends are coupled with transformative practices driven through capacity building.

If you would like to discuss any of the issues touched on above, please write to me at!