MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku


Sunday, October 31, 2010

Is our Education system failing?

Dinesweri Puspanadan, Malaysia Chronicle

When one particular question is raised; ' Is our education system good?', majority of Malaysians, sweeping aside their political preferences and individual principles, echo one mutual answer; NO. Whether we like it or not, we need to accept the fact that our education system has been failing.

Before exploring this issue further, let me remind you that we are not going to discuss the issues of passing examinations with flying colors, enrolling into prestigious Higher Institutes,or graduating as a gold medalist but another dimension of education, real life education.

Recalling one of my buddies' tweet recently; 'No one can dictate to you WHAT to think if you know HOW to think'. Has our education system has been teaching the kids how to think? Food for thought.

Look at the undergraduates. How many of them do you think are vocal and reasonable with their thoughts? Supposedly, undergraduates should set a good example. Contradictorily, their acts are not parallel with their thoughts. Some of their responses to Adam Lambert's concert is a good example. One of the justifications they used to oppose the concert is it could encourage homosexuality. Ironically, this group fights for students' freedom. Don't you think that by putting forward one group's demand, we are actually surpassing another group's rights? Who are we to decide for the others even if they are just the minority? Are not these students 'educated' on making reasonable justifications? Mind you, they are the 'future leaders'.

Our Philosophy of Education emphasizes holistic development particularly intellectual growth in learning. Intellectual people are usually able to discuss any issue despite its sensitivity without offending others. They tend to be less defensive and more diplomatic whenever they present their arguments that they normally back with loads of justification. They are open to criticism and these people also many times present constructive feedback. How many Malaysians do you think fit to this category?

Politicians especially are driven by their own political agenda to the extent where they talk things which make less sense. They shut up the public, they penalize those who speak their mind, and at the end of the day they end up making fools of themselves and the people's laughing stocks. We can only nod our heads at their stupidity. On the other side, we have a bunch of people who are browsing for opportunities to bash their 'enemies'. If someone really cares for the people and the nation, they should offer long term solutions for problems instead of wasting their time slamming others. Where exactly are these people's intellectual growth restrained?

Some Malaysians are either too outspoken or too dumb and fearful to stand up for their rights. Their 'tak apa'attitude surpasses their ability to think and reason which at the end erodes their ability to empathize with others. How many of Malaysians are concerned about what happened to Aminul Rasyid, Teng Beng Hock, Kugan?(the list continues). Many actually take a step back whenever it comes to a fight for justice.

The implementation of the education system fails where many of its products are inert and they are trained to mind their own business. Our people are lacking the sense of ownership. How do you think this could be cultivated if administration work lands on teachers' shoulders plus they have to complete the syllabus before the examination. In some worse cases, some teachers even seem blessed with 'making babies' assignment throughout their service! With these type of conditions, how do you think we could provide space for the kids to explore themselves, build relationships with their friends and learn new things through exploration. Feelings are not taught but shaped through experiences with their buddies during their learning. Does our education system provide the space?

The highest point of a good education should be the ability to see every human being as one regardless of their race, color, and creed. Issues of race and religion are always twisted in our country. When it comes to these issues, one should not question why? But why? Isn't questioning part of learning? Hilariously, many are shut off when it comes to the issue of religion. Why aren't we allowed to question the validity of certain practices in religion? Why should one particular religion appear as superior to another? Is your God different than mine?

Disappointingly, even so called 'educated' people are not prepared for table-talk when it comes to religion. They insult other people's beliefs and make fun of rituals and prayers. How are you sure that your religion is the best and superior to other religions? Did God appear in your dream and present an academic paper to prove it?

We fail to understand that religion is a set of disciplines which guide us throughout our life. Remember that even Holy books are written based on interpretations provided by prophets. Interpretation varies according to people's beliefs, background, and culture and that's the reason why cults are formed. In this context, our education system has failed miserably. It fails to form the structure of critical thinking among the learners. They are surpassed from thinking. Putting it in its naked form, education is politicized. Others decide what we should question and what we should not in the name of religion!

10-year-old kids even talk about skin color, calls his buddies from other races names, makes fun of the rituals of other religions and this kid is a future parent who is going to groom his family. What personality would his child have? Something for us to ponder.

Our education system needs a set of effective implementation. It needs to cross the boundary of scoring As and has to teach our kids about being good human beings and not straight-A students with terrible attitude and who tweet and comment nonsense with shallow and skewed logic.

By the way, Tun Mahathir, are there any handicaps provided to ensure fairness in the growth of the spiritual, intellectual, and attitude?

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