Hamzah Osman describes some of the problems that can be found in our schools.
The ills of the nation are planted in the schools. This country can never transform. Why do I say so?
I am an Indian Muslim. I am in a better position to know because I went through the school system. You did as well – but perhaps not as an Indian Muslim.
School starts with the usual assembly. After the singing of the national anthem, state anthem or school song, here comes the head. He greets the students like this: “Assalamualaikam dan selamat sejahtera.”
What exactly does that mean? He or she is telling the students they are Muslims or non-Muslims. What great indoctrination in nation-building. The first breach of the code of ethics of the teaching profession: “No student shall be discriminated due to race, colour, creed or religion.”
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Secondly, we have a substandard selection of teachers. Selection is based on quotas and government policy. To fill up the big quota, any Tom, Dick and Harry gets in. People with better qualifications will not get in because of the quota system. And we say education is the pillar for the future of our country.
Here’s the shocker! The teaching profession becomes a ‘dumping ground’ for graduates some of whom are unable to make the grade in their fields of study including those with degrees in engineering, law, and science. All they have to do is maybe take a one-year postgraduate education course (Kursus Perguruan Lepasan Ijazah or KPLI). But they didn’t want to be teachers in the first place.
Moving on to the environment in schools… the selection of school heads or principals is sometimes a mockery. They include political appointments and racially obsessed teachers. Some of them behave more like ulama and religious bigots and turn a national school into a religious institution. What nation-building? They are not interested in nation-building. For them, it is all about race. To let them indoctrinate our children… God help us!
My personal experience: after my MCE (Form Five) in 1974 with a first grade, I was not offered Form Six. Apparently, I was not Malay enough. The New Economic Policy had been launched four years earlier, in 1970.
Today, they are talking about Islam and championing Muslims. No! It is not about Islam. It is all about race.
Bring them on for a debate. I’ll put them in their place.
Hamzah Osman, a regular reader of aliran.com, taught in a secondary school for 17 years before resigning from the teaching profession in 1997. He then worked in an English daily, where he became foreign news editor, and later joined another English daily before retiring.