Education Transformation in a State of Grace – DTP-AMAN in Kedah

Education Transformation in a State of Grace – DTP-AMAN in Kedah by Bow Martin

Lofty goals

For education transformation in Malaysia to be truly effective, any proposed implementation would need to impact all three components of the state education system – the State Education Department (Jabatan Pendidikan Negeri, JPN), the District Education Office (Pejabat Pendidikan Daerah, PPD) and the schools. This is the main thinking behind the DTP-AMAN project, which is one of the initiatives under the Malaysian Education Blueprint 2013 – 2025.

No Quick Fix

As noted by Simon Dunford, one of LeapEd’s ground team in Kedah, “unlike many other education initiatives, (DTP-AMAN) is not a ‘sticky-plaster’ or a ‘quick-fix’ project; rather, it aims to tackle the complex issues of educational transformation at a systemic level”.

In its ongoing work in Kedah, we support the JPN and the PPD to develop innovative ways of improving their organisational culture to drive school transformation. This is based on lessons learned in previous programmes, e.g. TSP, GUSTO, GPSA. As a result, the overall DTP-AMAN project is aimed at whole-state education transformation by developing capacity within the Kedah State & District Education Offices, in an efficient, effective and meaningful manner, in line with the DTP3.0 vision and direction. The aspiration is that the entire school system will benefit, from the top, down; instead of simply implementing stop-gap measures at school level. System-wide transformation at the state-level will be administered through two distinct but related work tracks: Organisational Enhancement and PPD-led Transformation.

A different perspective

Working with the PPD and JPN officers gave Diane Young of LeapEd a different perspective of the concept of “top down/ bottom up” in terms of roles and levels of autonomy, accountability, and alignment. The biggest achievement for her was watching the confidence of the PPD-Led Team (PLT) members grow, alongside their commitment to school transformation through their support of the senior leadership and middle leaders, by initiating innovative implementation solutions, specific to PPD challenges in different locales.

This transformation initiative, launched by the MoE in Wave 2 of the Blueprint (2016 – 2020), focuses on empowering leadership and embedding the guidelines which help them to achieve their objectives; this includes revising the role of JPNs & PPDs to make them accountable for providing support to the schools to accelerate school performance. Hishamuddin bin Hashim, School Improvement Partner+ (SIP+) from PPD Baling believes that DTP-AMAN reflects a new era and is a catalyst in the school transformation process, which inspires him to “think outside the box and not be afraid to try new ideas for improving leadership competencies.”

A peaceful future?

Originally, this programme was called Project AMAN. However, at a realignment workshop with BPSH, JPN and PPD in Oct 2018, it was renamed DTP-AMAN, to reflect the fact that it is not a separate programme, but a part of the MoE DTP3.0. AMAN itself is derived from the State Name – Kedah Darul Aman.

Another theory is that given AMAN in BM means “PEACE”, anyone touched by DTP-AMAN will find peace within themselves.

A positive attitude can move mountains

As mentioned by En. Ahmad Sufian, DTP Coordinator in PPD Langkawi, “DTP-AMAN has taught me that with the right attitude and the right tools, we can move mountains. Anyone from the PLT members can be in command and be an effective leader, working together for the benefit of the organisation. We still have a long way to go, but I can’t wait to see what is coming next”.

Simon Dunford believes that DTP-AMAN “seeks to empower and enable people (from JPN to PPD and to schools) to enhance working practices and professional skills by promoting collective responsibility and collaboration, with the goal of improving educational outcomes for all students in Malaysia”. This is something we all want to achieve.

If you want to find out more about how we can impact change at the system level, please get in touch with us.