The time has come for Malaysians to take stock of the situation and turn it around for the sake of the younger generation, says Ranjit Singh Thind.
As a Malaysian parent very much concerned with the state of education in this country in general and the education of my son in particular, I find the apathy displayed by the Malaysian authorities towards our education system revolting. At the same time, I am not bewildered or shocked by their actions. It is expected.
When Malaysia introduced the teaching of Maths and Science in English under the stewardship of our former prime minister in 2003, I was not ecstatic. My wife was but not I! Deep down, I knew somehow that this policy would not go far in its implementation. The reasons are obvious for even an imbecile to see.
First and foremost, there are three worlds colliding in Malaysia. These three worlds have been perpetuated to exist side by side by the political class for their own benefit and relevance. These three worlds are the Malay schools (national and religious), Chinese schools and Tamil schools. Each type of school has an agenda of its own with its vehement supporters (and detractors). Throw in the private and international schools, you have an explosive situation ready to burst. As much as we try to delude ourselves into the false belief that these various schools (with their own agendas) complement one another and do not compete with one another, the fact remains that Malaysians are further divided and torn apart through the education system.
The second obvious reason is the curriculum which is outdated. It is not challenging and does not stimulate thinking on the part of the students. Quite harsh words but isn’t it the brutal truth. Parents spend hundreds of ringgit for each child every month to attend tuition classes. Why is there a need for them to do so? Does it make sense? If a country has a good education system backed by good teaching staff in schools, colleges and universities, the education system in Malaysia will not be in the doldrums today.
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The third reason is the teaching staff in our schools, colleges and universities. Realistically, only a minority group of our teaching faculty in these institutions are truly teaching.
The time has come for Malaysians to take stock of the situation and turn it around for the sake of the younger generation. To do that, Malaysians need to be bold and take the bull by the horns. Stop begging and start demanding from the authorities! It is an unalienable right for every citizen of any democratic country to demand an education system that brings out the best in his/her child.
Society cannot reward mediocrity for long. It goes against the grain of industry and the law of nature. A society that exists on this line will eventually collapse prompting a ‘restructuring of society’ based on right principles.
A state that thwarts and stifles its citizens in this manner will produce submissiveness and rebelliousness in its citizenry. Each member of the state has to recognise which group each belongs to eventually.
Ranjit Singh Thind is a freelance trainer who conducts English language training for working adults.