TAN Sri Murad Mohamed Noor, one of Malaysia's eminent educationists, died on Jan 22. He was 78.
He died at the Intan Gleneagles Medical Centre in Ampang, Kuala Lumpur, two weeks after being admitted for a lung infection.The passing of the former director-general of education is described as a great loss to education and the country by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Education Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein."Murad was always willing to give advice and ideas on issues related to education as he wanted the national education system to develop and improve further," says Hishammuddin. Murad was known to liken the changing of the education system to the changing of one's attire, rather than the patching up of the same one.
He had spearheaded a nationwide sociological research on the problems of school dropouts, and highlighted ways to address the problem in the Murad Report in 1973.The first of its kind in Southeast Asia, at the time, the document not only dealt with the reasons why more than 30 per cent of students did not make it to Form One but also tackled topics such as community differences in patterns of attendance, the allocation of education resources and compensatory education.Born on April 10, 1930, in Penang, Murad was the eldest of seven children.He attended Sekolah Ibrahim, in Sungai Petani, Kedah, and Kolej Sultan Abdul Hamid, in Alor Star, before getting his Diploma in Education and Bachelor of Arts (honours) degree from the University of Malaya.Murad was also responsible for bringing about the New Primary School Curriculum (or its Malay acronym KBSR) in 1983, which emphasised the three Rs -- reading, writing and arithmetic.He retired from public service in 1985 but was still active in the field of education in other ways.He joined Taylor's College (now Taylor's University College) as its chairman in 1985, a nod to his many years in the field of education where he was teacher, headmaster, and held several posts in the Ministry of Education.In 1992, he was conferred an honorary doctorate in education by Universiti Sains Malaysia.In 2002, he headed a special committee on Islamic education, where he was instrumental in turning the country's religious schools into national schools.Murad was given a Special Award for Education Leadership in conjunction with the 2004 Teachers' Day celebrations.He leaves behind his wife Puan Sri Azizah Aiyub Ghazali and four children.