Malaysia, Vision 2020, and Leadership

This past week, John Nash (fellow author of Education Recoded) and I have had the pleasure of presenting to faculty and students at the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. We have been talking about the impact technology has on education and the dire need for technology leadership. I have not been in Malaysia for about a decade. However arriving to the airport it was evident: Change is happening here. Here are a few reflections that resonated with me:


  • We heard rumors that the Malaysian government is funding something in the neighborhood of 10,000 students to obtain PhDs. Even if this number is not right, the concept has been verified.
  • Some universities are proactively trying to increase their research capabilities and in turn increase their international rankings. (It seems to be working)
  • Young teachers get it. It was not a hard sell to convince would-be-teachers that technology is changing education and that this change requires leadership.
  • Less developed countries have opportunities to do education differently. Countries like Malaysia can change and change fast – but it takes solid leadership.
  • Malaysia’s push to be a developed country by 2020 (Vision 2020) smells like opportunity – if the political will is there.
  • There are cracks though---we heard that some Smart Schools (tech rich schools funded by government) are not working well because the leaders did not get it and thus did not plan for pedagogical change and did not think about sustainability.
  • Despite the hiccups, I am impressed with what I saw. It is not a utopia – I know. But I really do believe that if a less developed nation invests in its educational leaders and ensures that these leaders become technology leader then big things will happen! I am optimistic. You?

    1 in 100 water molecules started in solar nebulae

    New research identifies an unexpected source for some of earth's water.

    Surprising Science
    • A lot of Earth's water is asteroidal in origin, but some of it may come from dissolved solar nebula gas.
    • Our planet hides majority of its water inside: two oceans in the mantle and 4–5 in the core.
    • New reason to suspect that water is abundant throughout the universe.
    Keep reading Show less

    How to split the USA into two countries: Red and Blue

    Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.

    Image: Dicken Schrader
    Strange Maps
    • America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
    • Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
    • Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
    Keep reading Show less

    Elon Musk's SpaceX approved to launch 7,518 Starlink satellites into orbit

    SpaceX plans to launch about 12,000 internet-providing satellites into orbit over the next six years.

    Technology & Innovation
    • SpaceX plans to launch 1,600 satellites over the next few years, and to complete its full network over the next six.
    • Blanketing the globe with wireless internet-providing satellites could have big implications for financial institutions and people in rural areas.
    • Some are concerned about the proliferation of space debris in Earth's orbit.
    Keep reading Show less