1st Edition

Policies and Politics in Malaysian Education Education Reforms, Nationalism and Neoliberalism

Edited By Cynthia Joseph Copyright 2018
    230 Pages
    by Routledge

    248 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book draws on elements of critical social theory, research on globalization, neo liberalism and education, and Malaysian Studies to understand the interplay of globalization, nationalism, cultural politics and ethnicized neoliberalism in shaping the educational reforms in Malaysia. Using the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025 (MEB) as a case study, a catalyst and a context, this collection critically explores some of the complex historical and contemporary push-pull politics and factors shaping Malaysia’s education system, its reform and the experience of Malaysians – and others – within it. The authors in this volume focus on the interplay of neoliberalism, nationalism, ethnic and cultural politics in shaping the educational reforms in Malaysia. Their work captures and seeks to understand the enduring, though changing, hierarchy of access and differentiated rights to educational, social and economic resources and opportunities experienced by different individuals and collectives, including those involved in the neoliberal enterprise of international education. It looks at how inequities have been re-configured in different educational spaces in Malaysia, and at how these inequities have been addressed through reform policies and practices. The book will be a shaper and critical contributor to the assessment of the Malaysian Education Blueprint and related policies. It will also have wider relevance globally as a critical approach to policy discussion.

    List of illustrations
    Notes on contributors

    1. Malaysian geopolitics, ethnoscapes and education policy (Cynthia Joseph)
    2. Malaysia’s ‘ethnicized neoliberalism’, ethnoscapes and education politics (Cynthia Joseph)
    3. Islamic education in Malaysia: Between neo-liberalism and political priorities in light of the Malaysia Education Blueprint (2013–2025) (Ahmad Fauzi Abdul Hamid and Mohd Haris Zuan Jaharuddin)
    4. Poverty and primary education of the Orang Asli children (Bemen Win Keong Wong and Kiky Kirina Abdillah)
    5. Beyond the Blueprint: Exploring educational exclusion through refugee voices (Lucy Bailey)
    6. MARA junior science colleges and the Malaysia Education Blueprint: A critical discourse analysis (Mutiara Mohamad)
    7. Assessing the impact of trade liberalization on Malaysia’s private higher education (Tham Siew Yean)
    8. Malaysia’s higher education policies: Impact on access, quality and equity issues (Molly N.N. Lee)
    9. Solidarity in an oppressive world? The paradox of Malaysia–Africa interactions in higher education (Sandra Khor Manickam)
    10. African international students in the Malaysia Education Blueprint: Experiences of racialization and othering (Frauke-Katrin Kandale)
    11. Malaysian students and graduates of UK universities:  International education, social reproduction and mobility (I Lin Sin)
    12. The need for decentralization: A historical analysis of Malaysia’s education system (Zairil Khir Johari and Nicholas Chan)
    13. Discourses, voices, contradictions and silences in Malaysia’s education reform: About this book and its editor (Rosemary Viete, Susan Plowright, Helen Watt, Miriam Faine and Cynthia Joseph)


    Cynthia Joseph (Dr), a science graduate, completed a Master in Education in psychology at Universiti Sains Malaysia and a PhD at Monash University, Australia. Until she passed away, she was a Senior Lecturer at Monash University in Australia, and had been active as an executive board member (and President Elect) of a leading international research network of sociologists; she was also on the editorial board of two prestigious journals.

    This is the most important book on Malaysian education for years. It asks why the standard of Malaysian education continues to struggle although the country provides one of the most generous education budgets in the world. It asks why ‘soft racism’ and concealed preference policy continue to hold back half the nation’s talent. Only by asking the hard questions can Malaysia find the answers. -- Simon Marginson, Director of the Centre for Global Higher Education, University College London, and Joint Editor-in-Chief of Higher Education.