for yet another 10 years. This is truly a national agenda as the successful realisation,or otherwise, of Vision 2020, is dependent on the outcome of the 60:40 policy.The conceptualisation of Vision 2020 also propels Information and CommunicationTechnology (ICT) to the forefront, which in turn, serves as catalyst for thetransformation of the Malaysian educational system in 1999 -- the birth of the SmartSchools Initiative. The Smart Schools Initiative is one of the seven flagshipapplications that are part of Malaysia's Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) project.The Government of Malaysia seeks to capitalise on the presence of leading-edgetechnologies and the rapid development of the MSC's infrastructure to jump-startdeployment of enabling technology to schools. Hence, the formation of a group of 90 pilot Smart Schools in 1999 that are expected to serve as the nucleus for the eventualnation-wide deployment or rollout of Smart School teaching concepts and materials,skills, and technologies (Smart School Project Team [SSPT], 1997a). By 2010, theterm ‘Smart’ is expected to be redundant when all schools, be they primary or secondary, would have been transformed to Smart Schools (SSPT, 1997b).
The Malaysian Smart School Conceptual Model
The Ministry of Education started to conceptualise the Malaysian Smart School in1996, under the leadership of the then Director-General of Education, Tan Sri Dato' Dr.Wan Zahid Wan Mohamed. The conceptualised document entitled "The MalaysianSmart School: A Conceptual Blueprint" (SSPT, 1997a) explains that the MalaysianSmart School concept is derived from best practices from around the world, as well asfrom the best home-grown practices of teachers and educators in Malaysia. In essence,the Malaysian Smart School is defined as:
… a learning institution that has been systematically reinvented in terms of teaching-learning practices and school management in order to preparechildren for the Information Age. A Smart School will evolve over time,continuously developing its professional staff, its educational resources, and itsadministrative capabilities. This will allow the school to adapt to changing conditions, while continuing to prepare students for life in the Information Age.To function effectively, the Smart School will require appropriately skilled staff and well-designed supporting processes (ibid., p.10).
One of the reasons for this conceptualisation is to transform the Malaysian educationalsystem so that it is parallel with, and in support of, the nation’s drive to realise Vision2020. The Vision calls for sustained, productivity-driven growth that will beachievable only with a scientifically and technologically literate, critical thinking work force prepared to participate fully in the global economy for the 21
Century.Furthermore, this transformation of educational system is within the aspiration of theMalaysian National Philosophy of Education that aims towards “developing the potential of individuals in a holistic and integrated manner, so as to produceindividuals who are intellectually, spiritually, emotionally and physically balanced andharmonious” (Ministry of Education, 1997, p.2).Such a transformation in the educational system, catalysed by the technology-supported Smart Schools, entails changing school culture and pedagogical practices.The memory-based learning designed for average students is replaced by educationthat “stimulates thinking, creativity, and caring in all students; caters to individual