25 October 2017

8th Education International Asia Pacific Regional Conference, Kathmandu, Nepal (Oct 2017)

Delegates: Zaharom Nain, Lai Suat Yan
Observers: Rosli Mahat, Robert Jeyakumar, Junedah Sanusi

Delegates from MOVE, MAE and NUTP

Grahame McCulloch, General Secretary, NTEU, Australia

Delegates and observers from GERAK/MOVE

Friends from South Asia and the Pacific

Friends from the Philipines

Friends from Sarawak Teachers Association

Friends from MAE (Malaysia) and PGRI (Indonesia)

Friends from NUTP

Observers from GERAK/MOVE

Don’t just blame the teacher when the system is at fault, says UNESCO

Paris 24 October –

UNESCO’s 2017/8 Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report highlights the responsibility of governments to provide universal quality education and stresses that accountability is indispensable in achieving this goal. The Report, released today, warns that disproportionate blame on any one actor for systemic educational problems can have serious negative side effects, widening inequality and damaging learning.

“Education is a shared responsibility between us all– governments, schools, teachers, parents and private actors,” said UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova. “Accountability for these responsibilities defines the way teachers teach, students learn, and governments act. It must be designed with care and with the principles of equity, inclusion and quality in mind.”

Accountability in education: meeting our commitments, the second in the GEM Report series, which monitors progress towards the internationally agreed Sustainable Development Goal for Education (SDG4), looks at the different ways people and institutions can be held accountable for reaching that goal, including regulations, testing, monitoring, audits, media scrutiny, and grass root movements.

The Report demonstrates that blaming teachers for poor test scores and absenteeism is often both unjust and unconstructive. It shows, for example, that nearly half of teacher absenteeism in Indonesia in 2013/14 was due to excused time for study for which replacements should have been provided. Similarly, in Senegal, only 12 of the 80 missed school days in 2014 were due to teachers avoiding their responsibilities. People cannot be held accountable for outcomes that depend on the actions of others.

“Using student test scores to sanction teachers and schools makes it more likely they will adjust their behaviour to protect themselves, which may mean leaving the weakest learners behind,” explains Manos Antoninis, Director of the GEM Report. “Accountability must start with governments. If a government is too quick to apportion blame to others, it is deflecting attention away from its own responsibility for creating a strong, supportive education system.”

Whereas transparency would help identify problems, only one in six governments publishes annual education monitoring reports. Strong independent bodies such as ombudsmen, parliaments and audit institutions are also needed to hold governments to account for education.

Lack of accountability opens the door to corruption. In the European Union in 2009-2014, 38% of education and training tenders only had one bidder, compared to 16% of tenders in the construction sector, indicating that the risk of corruption is higher in education than in the building industry.

Setting and enforcing regulations ranging from contract tendering to teacher qualifications are also crucial, argues the Report. Fewer than half of low and middle-income countries had standards for early childhood education and just a handful had mechanisms to monitor compliance. There are no regulations on class sizes in almost half of countries.

Government regulations are often too slow to keep up with the fast growth of private schools and universities. In Lagos, Nigeria, only 26% of private schools in 2010/2011 had been approved by the State Ministry of Education. In countries with weak accreditation processes, thousands of students graduate with unrecognized degrees. In Kenya and Uganda, private schools were operating without qualified teachers and with inadequate infrastructure before regulations were put in place and courts shut them down.

Where formal mechanisms fail, citizens play a vital role in holding governments to account for meeting their right to education. In Colombia, a citizens’ campaign successfully challenged the government in court leading to the establishment of free education. In the United States, parents and media successfully lobbied for the removal of climate change denial from textbooks, and students in South Africa were able to halt university tuition hikes.

The Report emphasizes the importance of accountability in addressing gaps and inequalities. Globally, less than 20% of countries legally guarantee 12 years of free and compulsory education. There are 264 million children and youth out of school and 100 million young people currently unable to read.

The Report cites an accountability vacuum with donors not delivering on their aid commitments for those in need. The share of aid to education has fallen for six years in a row. At the same time, donors increasingly demand that in exchange for aid, countries achieve results that sometimes divert energy away from systemic improvements in the education system.

No approach to accountability will be successful without a strong enabling environment that provides actors with adequate resources, capacity, motivation and information to fulfill their responsibilities. The Report calls on governments to:
1. Design accountability for schools and teachers that is supportive and avoid punitive mechanisms, especially those based on narrow performance measures.
2. Allow for democratic participation, respect media freedom to scrutinize education and set up independent institutions to handle complaints.
3. Develop credible and efficient regulations with associated sanctions for all education providers, public and private, that ensure non-discrimination and the quality of education.
4. Make the right to education justiciable, which is not the case in 45% of countries.

**** Media contact Kate Redman on 0033 671786234 k.redman@unesco.org

Notes to Editors
Join in the conversation online @GEMReport / #CountOnMe #GEM2017
The Global Education Monitoring Report (GEM Report) is developed by an independent team and published by UNESCO. It has the official mandate of monitoring progress in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals for education. World Education Blog / Educación Mundial Blog


18 October 2017

Joint Statement by Civil Society (and individuals) on Book Banning, Thought Control and Academic Meddling

9 October 2017
We, the undersigned civil society organisations and individuals, register our gravest concern and strongest objection to a series of crackdowns on intellectuals from September 25 to October 3.
These include the arrest of Turkish writer Mustafa Akyol, the harassment and persecution of Akyol’s host, Dr Farouk Musa of Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF) and the banning of 22 books, including discursive writings by Akyol, Farouk Musa, scholar Faisal Tehrani (Dr. Mohd Faizal Musa) and cleric Ustaz Wan Ji Wan Hussin.
“Religious teaching without tauliah [proper accreditation]” (Section 11 of Act 559 in this case) is a Syariah offense normally reserved for errant preachers in mosques and surau.
Actions by the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Affairs Department (JAWI) against Akyol for allegedly committing such an offence prior to an aborted forum in Nottingham University Malaysia, and against Dr. Farouk Musa for allegedly abetting Akyol, set a dangerous precedent with far-reaching implications for academic freedom and, certainly, freedom of speech in Malaysia.
Are intellectual discourses in universities involving Islam now being regulated by State Islamic Religious Departments? Do universities need to get clearance from the religious departments before inviting any speakers on any topics related to Islam? As Islam is being applied in almost every sector in Malaysian society, are the religious bureaucrats now the de-facto thought police for the nation to decide what thoughts we can and cannot have?
We also view the recent banning of books by Akyol, Farouk Musa, Faisal Tehrani and Ustaz Wan Ji under Section 7 of the Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA) as a further attempt at mind control. Section 7 permits the banning of publications that are or are likely to be “prejudicial to public order, morality, security,” “to alarm public opinion,” or “prejudicial to public interest or national interest”.
We ask, how did Home Minister, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, find “Islam Without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty” and its Malay translation “Islam Tanpa Keekstreman: Berhujah Untuk Kebebasan” by Mustafa Akyol, the two volumes of “Wacana Pemikiran Reformis” edited by Dr. Farouk Musa, “Aku_maka aku ada” (I _ therefore I am) by Faisal Tehrani and “Ulamak yang bukan pewaris Nabi” (Those clergy who are not the Prophet’s successors) by Ustaz Wanji, to be harmful to public order, morality, security, public opinion, public interest or national interest? Are ideas like moderation, reform and liberty now enemies of the state?
The crackdowns on intellectuals during these two weeks is not an isolated development but a serious and dangerous escalation in a long and on-going process of thought policing to close the minds of Malaysians, especially Muslims. If we do not speak up for Akyol, Farouk, Faisal, Wan Ji and others whom the state want silenced, soon there will be no one left to speak up for us when we are silenced.
We call upon all Malaysians to firmly demand the Federal Government and all other relevant state parties:
(a) To end all harassments, investigations and charges on Dr. Farouk Musa, IRF and their past and future intellectual guests;
(b) To lift the ban of the abovementioned books as well as other books that promote intellectual discourses and moderation;
(c) To abolish the Printing Presses and Publications Act and to replace it with a human-rights-compliant publication law;
(d) To uphold Freedom of Expression, as enshrined in Article 10(1)(a) of the Federal Constitution and to end all thought policing on academics and academia;
Endorsed by :
1. Aliran
2. Amateur
3. Angkatan Skuad Mubaligh
4. Angkatan Warga Aman Malaysia (WargaAMAN)
5. Article 19
6. Baramkini
8. Buku Jalanan Kajang
9. Buku Jalanan Seremban
10. Buku Jalanan UIA
11. Buku Jalanan Rembau
12. Buku Jalanan Shah Alam
13. Centre for Independent Journalism
14. Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (BERSIH 2.0)
16. Federation of Malaysian Indian Organisation (PRIMA)
17. G25
18. Gerakan Media Merdeka (Geramm)
19. Himpunan Hijau
20. Institute for Leadership and Development Studies (LEAD)
21. Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas (JERIT)
22. Jawantankuasa bertindak kuala lumpur tak nak insinerator (KTI)
23. Johor Yellow Flame (JYF)
24. Kairos Dialogue Network
25. Kedai Buku Mak Ali
26. Kelab Bangsar Utama (KBU)
27. Kelas Pencerahan
28. Kolektif Ketepi
29. KuBu (Kuliah Buku) UIA
30. Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH)
31. Lingkaran Islam Traditional (LIT)
32. LLG Cultural Development Centre (LLG)
33. Malaysia Design Archive
34. Malaysian Indians Progressive Association (MIPAS)
35. Malaysian Indians Transformation Action Team (MITRA)
36. Malaysian Youth Care Association (PRIHATIN)
37. Malaysia Youth & Student Democratic Movement (DEMA)
38. Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture (MADPET)
39. Merdeka University Bhd
40. Monash University Malaysia Staff Association (MUMASA)
41. Monitoring Sustainability of Globalisation (MSN)
42. National Human Rights Society (HAKAM)
43. Oriental Heart's and Mind Study Institute (OHMSI)
44. Pergerakan Tenaga Akademik Malaysia (GERAK)
45. Persatuan Alumni PBTUSM Selangor & KL
46. Persatuan Kakitangan Akademik Universiti Malaya (PKAUM)
47. Persatuan Promosi Hak Asasi Manusia (PROHAM)
48. Persatuan Rapat Malaysia (RAPAT)
49. Projek Dialog
50. Pusat KOMAS
51. Research For Social Advancement (REFSA)
52. Sabah Women's Action Resource Group (SAWO)
53. Sahabat Rakyat
54. Save Rivers
55. Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM)
56. Sisters in Islam (SIS)
57. Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)
58. Tenaganita
59. Teoh Beng Hock Trust for Democracy
60. Teori Timur
61. Tindak Malaysia
62. Universiti Terbuka Anak Muda
63. Writers Alliance for Media Independence (WAMI)
(Please note that the following institutional affiliations are for identification purposes only and do not imply endorsement by the institutions)
1. Prof. Emeritus Datuk Dr. Abdul Rahman Embong, National University of Malaysia
2. Prof. Emeritus Datuk Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi, University of Malaya
3. Prof. Edmund Terence Gomez, University of Malaya
4. Distinguished Prof. Chong Kok Boon, Chongqing Education Commision
5. Prof. Ismail Mohd.
6. Prof. Khoo Boo Teik, The National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, Tokyo
7. Prof. Living Lee Chai Peng, University of Malaya
8. Prof. Sharmani Patricia Gabriel, University of Malaya
9. Prof. Syed Farid Alatas, National University of Singapore
10. Prof. Wan Abdul Manan Wan Muda, Gerak Exco
11. Prof. Zaharom Nain, University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus
12. Assoc. Prof. Azmi Sharom, University of Malaya
13. Assoc. Prof Faisal S. Hazis, National University of Malaysia
14. Assoc. Prof. Dr Helen Ting, National University of Malaysia
15. Assoc. Prof. Isham Pawan Ahmad, International Islamic University
16. Assoc. Prof. Khoo Gaik Cheng, University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus
17. Assoc. Prof. Lee Hwok Aun, ISEAS
18. Assoc. Prof. Rosli Mahat, Formerly University of Malaya
19. Assoc. Prof. Sumit Mandal, University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus
20. Assoc. Prof. Uma Devi Palanisamy, Monash University Malaysia
21. Asst. Prof. Leong Kar Yen, Tamkang University, Taiwan
22. Asst. Prof. Fadzilah Din, International Islamic University Malaysia
23. Dr. Andrew Aeria, Aliran
24. Dr. Ang Sze Wei, University of Hong Kong
25. Dr. Ariffin S M Omar, Senator
26. Dr. Azmil Tayeb, Aliran
27. Dr. Cecilia Ng, formerly Universiti Putra Malaysia
28. Dr. Chan Chee Khoon, Formerly University of Science Malaysia
29. Dr. Chandra Muzaffar, Yayasan 1Malaysia
30. Dr. Charis Quay Huei Li, Université Paris-Sud.
31. Dr. Christopher Chong Eu Choong, Aliran
32. Dr. Fiona Lee, University of Sydney
33. Dr. Francis Loh Kok Wah, Aliran
34. Dr. Irma Ismail
35. Dr. Johan Ariffin Samad
36. Dr. Johan Saravanamuttu, Adjunct Fellow, NTU
37. Dr. Julian Hopkins, Monash University Malaysia
38. Dr. Khairil Izamin Ahmad, International Islamic University Malaysia
39. Dr. KJ John, OHMSI
40. Dr. Lai Suat Yan, Gerak
41. Dr. Lim Chee Han, Penang Institute
42. Dr. Lim Teck Ghee, Formerly University of Malaya
43. Dr. Lyana Khairuddin, University of Oxford
44. Dr. Mary Cardosa, Consultant, Hospital Selayang
45. Dr. Maszlee Malik, International Islamic University Malaysia
46. Dr. Maznah Mohamad, National University of Singapore
47. Dr. Mahyuddin Ahmad, University of Science Malaysia
48. Dr. Muhammad Adli Musa, International Islamic University
49. Dr. Muhammad Irwan Ariffin, International Islamic University
50. Dr. Mustafa K Anuar, Penang Institute
51. Dr. Ngo Sheau Shi, University of Science Malaysia
52. Dr. Ngu Ik Tien, University of Malaya
53. Dr. Ong Kian Ming, Penang Institute
54. Dr. Ong Kok Chung
55. Dr. Patricia Martinez, formerly University of Malaya
56. Dr. Phoon Wing Keong, Vice President, Malaysian Chinese Research Centre
57. Dr. Por Heong Hong, University of Malaya
58. Dr. Prema Devaraj, President of Aliran
59. Dr. Ramy Bulan, University of Malaya
60. Dr. Show Ying Xin, Amateur
61. Dr. Simon Soon
62. Dr. Sivin Kit, Director of Centre for Religion and Society
63. Dr. Tan Beng Hui, Independent researcher
64. Dr. Toh Kin Woon, Penang Institute
65. Dr. Wong Chin Huat, Penang Institute
66. Dr. Wu Yu Ping, National University of Singapore
67. Dr. Yeoh Seng Guan, Monash University Malaysia
68. Tan Sri Mohd Sheriff Mohd Kassim, Former KSU of Ministry of Finance.
69. Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam, Former Sec-Gen of the Malaysian Ministry of Transport
70. Dato' Seri Mohd Hishamuddin Yunus, Former Court of Appeal Judge
71. Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir
72. Dato' Ambiga Sreenevasan, President of HAKAM
73. Dato’ Azzat Kamaludin, Advocate and Solicitor
74. Dato’ Dennis Ignatius, Former High Commissioner to Canada
75. Dato’ KJ Abraham, OHMSI Advisor
76. Dato’ Mohd Ariff Yusof, Former Appeals Court Judge
77. Dato' Noor Farida Ariffin, G25 and former ambassador to the Netherlands
78. Dato' Redzuan Kushairi, Former Ambassador to Uzbekistan and Member of the Royal Council State of Perak
79. Dato’ Saifuddin Abdullah, Youth Academy
80. Dato’ Syed Ahmad Aidid, Former high court judge and member of G25
81. Ahmad Fuad Rahmat, Projek Dialog
82. Altaf Deviyati, Lingkaran Islam Tradisional (LIT)
83. Altaf Ismail, IMAN
84. Alwyn Goh, Senior Staff Researcher
85. Amin Ahmad, LEAD
86. Andrew Khoo
87. Anil Netto, Aliran
88. Azmyl Yunor, Sunway University
89. Azrul Mohd Kalib, BEBAS
90. Beverly Joeman, Jaringan Orang Asal SeMalaysia
91. Carole Chung, Concerned Citizen
92. Chan Yit Fei, Teoh Beng Hock Trust for Democracy
93. Chang Teck Peng, Former lecturer at New Era College
94. Chong Ton Sin, SIRD
95. Chua Kim Boon, President of Selangor State Dongzong
96. Dina Zaman, Writer
97. Ehsan Shahwahid, Islamic Renaissance Front
98. Eugene Yapp, Executive Director, Kairos Dialogue Network
99. Faridah Stephens
100. George John, Independent Investor
101. Gopal Sundaram, Former Assistant Governor, Bank Negara Malaysia
102. Henry Loh, Aliran
103. Ho Yock Lin, Immediate Past President of All Women's Action Society (AWAM)
104. Ismail Hashim, Universiti Selangor
105. Ivy Josiah, Former SUHAKAM Commissioner
106. Jahabar Sadiq, Editor
107. Jannie Lasimbang, Former SUHAKAM Commissioner
108. Jasmine Ng, OHMSI Advisor
109. Josh Hong, Writer
110. Kassim Muhamad, PAKSI
111. Kee Thuan Chye, Writer
112. Liau Kok Fah, Chairperson of Civil Rights Committee of KLSCAH
113. Lim Hong Siang, Writer
114. Maria Chin Abdullah, Chairperson of Bersih 2.0
115. Masjaliza Hamzah, Human rights advocate
116. Muhammad Afiq Bin Mohamad Noor, Lingkaran Islam Tradisional
117. Nathaniel Tan, Writer
118. Ng Yap Hwa, Executive Director of Teoh Beng Hock Trust for Democracy
119. Nidhal Mujahid, Penang Institute
120. Ong Kok Hin, Penang Institute
121. Ong Lai Mun, ENGAGE
122. Rama Ramanathan, ENGAGE
123. Ramli Abdul Samad
124. Ratna Osman, Sisters in Islam
125. Rozana Isa, Sisters in Islam
126. Seah Hong Yee, ENGAGE
127. Sivarajan Arumugam
128. Susan Loone, Journalist
129. Tang Ah Chai, Chief Secretary of KLSCAH
130. Tan Kong Beng, OHMSI Advisor
131. Tan Yew Sing, Former President of KLSCAH
132. Tarmizi Anuwar, Kelas Pencerahan
133. Terence Fernandez, Media Specialist
134. Thomas Fann, Chairman of ENGAGE
135. V. Gayathry, University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus
136. Vince Tan Hoo She, Youth Progressives of Malaysia
137. Wang Lay Kim, University of Science Malaysia
138. Xifu Abdul Naser Tun Abdul Rahman Ya’kub, Angkatan Skuad Mubaligh
139. Yalini Easvaralingam, Independent researcher
140. Yee I-Iann, Artist
141. Yeong Pey Jung, Penang Institute
142. Yong Yew Wei, Vice President of KLSCAH
143. Zairil Khir Johari, Penang Institute
144. Zakiah Koya, Journalist
145. Zamri Vinod, Presiden Angkatan Skuad Mubaligh Msia
146. Zurairi AR, Journalist
Chronology of Intellectual Crackdown Since September 25
September 25
● A forum organized by Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF) at Nottingham University Malaysia titled “The Islamic Jesus” featuring Turkish writer Mustafa Akyol was cancelled under the pressure of Federal Territory Islamic Religious Department (JAWI)
● The arrest of Mustafa Akyol in KLIA before his departure and subsequent detention for 17 hours for “religious teaching without tauliah (proper accreditation)” under Section 11 of the Shariah Criminal Offences (Federal Territories) Act 1997.
September 28
● The gazette banning of the 21 Books in one day (decision by Home Minister on September 6) which include Mustafa Akyol’s books, “Islam Without Extremes: A Muslim Case For Liberty” and its Malay translation “Islam Tanpa Keekstreman: Berhujah Untuk Kebebasan”
● “Wacana Pemikiran Reformis” (Jilid I & Jilid II) edited by Dr Farouk Musa, Executive Director of IRF
● “Aku __ maka Aku ada” by Faisal Tehrani (Dr Mohd Faizal Musa), researcher at UKM
● “Ulama yang bukan Pewaris Nabi” by Ustaz Wan Ji Wan Hussin, clergy-politician
October 2
● IRF Chairman Dr Farouk Musa is charged for abetting Mustafa Akyol to give “religious teaching without tauliah (proper accreditation)” under Section 43 Act 559 of Shariah Offences (Federal Territories) Act 1997.
October 3
• Sapuman: Man of Steal by political cartoonist Zunar is banned