EDUCATION deputy director-general Dr Mohamed Abu Bakar was born and bred in Rengam, a small town in the district of Kluang, Johor.
For him, Rengam holds many fond memories of his growing up years.
On Oct 11, Mohamed balik kampung to visit his alma mater SMK Dato’ Hj Hassan Yunos, where his journey to be an educator began.
This secondary school piqued his interest in the world of education and moulded him to become one of the top officers in the Education Ministry.
In the 1960s, during his primary and secondary school years in Rengam, books were his only source of knowledge apart from the teachers who taught him in school.
He grew up without a TV and telephone at home while electricity was scarce. So books became his best companion.
Mohamed honed his language skills through his love for reading, and he devoured all genres.
Books broadened his mind and opened his world beyond the borders of Rengam.
After completing Form Five, at age 19 he enrolled in Maktab Perguruan Sultan Idris in Tanjung Malim, Perak, to become a teacher.
Upon graduation, he taught English for about a decade in both primary and secondary schools.
He earned a Bachelor’s Degree with honours from University Putra Malaysia in 1988 before pursuing a Master’s Degree at the University of Houston, US, in 1994.
He obtained his PhD in English Studies from University Putra Malaysia in 2002.
Mohamed has contributed to and served in the Education Ministry in various capacities, notably as deputy director then director of the ministry’s English Language Teaching Centre (ELTC) from 2010 to 2017.
He was steadily promoted and became the director of the Curriculum Development Division for about two years.
In 2020, Mohamed was appointed the deputy director-general of the Education Ministry.
For his commitment and contributions in the realm of education, Mohamed was awarded the Pingat Kesatria Mangku Negara (KMN) by the Yang Di- Pertuan Agong in 2016.
Passion and focus are the guiding principles in Mohamed’s life.
He believes that a teacher’s journey must be driven by passion and excitement. A teacher must seek to support, inspire and motivate students to reach their utmost potential.
Looking ahead, Mohamed envisions a digital world – a fast-changing technological landscape where artificial intelligence, autonomous robots and digital learning will be the order of the day.
He emphasises that we must position and poise ourselves to embrace and keep abreast with the technological advancements to remain relevant.
Creative and innovative skills coupled with good ethics are added value in this era of globalisation, he says.
Mohamed’s service in the Education Ministry spans over 30 years.
His heart for education is clearly seen in his decades of devoted service to the nation.
From a humble beginning in the small town of Rengam rose a man with a true heart for education.
Dr Mohamed Abu Bakar will retire from public service in November. He has two children – daughter Dr Nur Filzah Mohamed is a medical doctor at Seremban hospital, and son Muhammad Farhan Mohamed is a fourth-year medical student at University of Cyberjaya.