BY NATASHA JEE & ALEXANDRA LORNA
KUCHING: In recognition of his role and contribution to education in Sarawak and the country, Datuk Dr Adi Badiozaman Tuah has been named ‘Tokoh Kepimpinan Pendidikan Kebangsaan 2022’, the highest award given during Teachers’ Day.
He received the award from Senior Education Minister Datuk Radzi Jidin at the 51st National Teachers’ Day celebration at Universiti Malaysia Kelantan (UMK), Bachok on Monday (May 16).
Adi, 71, in a special interview with New Sarawak Tribune, said he was touched and honoured to receive the recognition.
“In the past few years, the award had been given to the director-general of Education or former director-general of Education. I have never held such a post.
“To get this award, to me, it is a recognition of professional leadership that has been presented at the various levels.
“I do not know whether or not it is for my contributions heading two secondary schools, heading two divisional education offices, heading three divisions in the state education department, heading a very important department at the ministry of education. I am not quite sure.
“But receiving such an award, is a recognition of your leadership, a recognition of the vision that you have for education.”
While grateful for the other awards presented to him previously, he said the best award that any teacher had “is when they realise that their contribution is not for self glorification.
“But rather for the betterment of the system, and of everybody who are involved or who are affected by the teaching process.”
Adi was born on Aug 15, 1951 in Tatau. He started his primary education in Tatau and then continued his secondary education at Kolej Tun Datuk Tuanku Haji Bujang, Miri.
In 1973, he obtained a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Malay studies from Universiti Malaya; Diploma in Education in Malay and Geography Studies.
He then obtained his Master of Education in Co-curriculum Management in 1979 from the same university. He furthered his studies in the United Kingdom and obtained a Doctor of Education in Education Management from University of Bristol, United Kingdom.
He was first posted as teacher at Kolej Tun Datuk Tuanku Haji Bujang, his alma mater, from Jan 1, 1974 to Dec 12, 1974. He was then appointed as the deputy director of State Education Department (Second School Division) in Kuching in 1975; lecturer at Batu Lintang Teachers’ College in 1976 to 1977; and deputy director of State Education Department (Administration Division) in Kuching in 1979.
He also held the post as the principal of SMK Green Road in 1979 and Kolej Tun Datuk Patinggi Tuanku Bujang from 1980 to 1983, and then was appointed as the assistant head director in the State Education Department (Co-curriculum Division) from 1983 to 1984.
Adi also held the post as the Sarawak Islamic Council education officer from 1984 to 1986. He was the assistant head director in the State Education Department (School Supervision Division) in Kuching from 1986 to 1987; Education Division officer at Education Department Sri Aman Division from 1987 to 1989; Education Division officer Miri Division from 1989 to 1990; assistant head director in State Education Department (School Supervision Division) from 1990 to 1993; assistant head director in the State Education Department (Educational Services Management Sector) in Kuching from 1996 to 1999.
In 1999 to 2001, he was the assistant head director in the Ministry of Education (Student Welfare, School Division); director of Batu Lintang Teachers’ College from 2001 to 2003; director of State Education Department from 2003 to 2006, director of Malaysia Examination Board from 2006 to 2007, and the director of Sarawak Islamic Council Education Service Bureau from 2007 until 2021.
He retired as the director of Malaysia Examination Board in 2007. Before retiring, he shared that the efforts made by the board at that time was to introduce a holistic assessment system.
“The examination-oriented student assessment is no longer relevant to be the only measurement method that symbolises a student’s excellence.
“So we came up with the proposal and it was accepted by the government in 2007. My only goal is to improve the teaching of teachers as a whole while improving the learning of students as a whole.”
He added that school assessment could attract students to learn, be highly motivated and further improve student learning, while it would help teachers obtain information of the students taught, provide effective feedback, understand student learning and improve teaching.
Meanwhile, among his contributions to the education in Sarawak and the country included being the founder of the Sarawak Islamic Council primary and secondary schools with first primary school started in Kuching in 1985, and eight more in other areas of Sarawak, as well as the secondary school that is SMA Tun Ahmad Zaidi Adruce in Kuching.
Secondly, he sparked the idea of the establishment of the art school in Malaysia which saw two art schools being set up in 2007 with one in Johor Bharu and Kuching.
Adi is also the main driver and conceptualist of the National Assessment System (SPPK). This after realising that the centralised examination system in Malaysia was too exam-centered; sparked the idea for the redefinition of school and schooling and development of indigenous curriculum for the Asli and Penan community; the main driver of efforts to empower and improve the infrastructure of the co-curricular centre of the Ministry of Education.
For education to move forward in Sarawak, Adi said several important components must be integrated.
“First, we must fully understand the students, the co-curriculum must be tailored to their needs. It must be student-centered.
“Next, is to carry out a programme that is effective, and get the community to be involved to provide quality education for the children.”
Besides that, he said the education system must provide the younger generation with the relevant skills so that they could be part of the economic generating workforce and they must be skilful too.
“In addition, it must provide the opportunities to develop responsible members of the society.”
Meanwhile, in his message to all teachers, he advised them to never stop being creative and equip themselves with knowledge, especially in the digital era, as well as continue to be the best for their students.