Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Effing Headline of The Day: Proposal to make Malay language medium of instruction


My almost choked on my Munchy oatmeal biscuit when I read this on FMT this morning.

A couple of months ago, I saw my lecturer posted this question on her wall for all her student teachers to give their personal answer - "How to improve our education system".  Or something like that. 

Of course, a lot of young, disgruntled teachers (English, especially) were on a frenzy answering this hot topic.  The thread was endless.  And it was everything that all of us agree with - less exam oriented system, less dumb paper work, etcetera. 

I guess she was gearing for some education dialogue she mentioned about and encouraged us, highly opinionated teachers to take part in it so that our education system wet dream will someday come true.

I really thought it was great that we have a platform to voice out our opinion.

HOWEVER.  

Refer to the above title.

"The National Education Dialogue has proposed that Malay language be made the medium of instruction at all levels of education from primary to institutions of higher learning."

THIS WAS THE BEST IDEA THEY CAN COME UP WITH.  

Like, WTF?  Who were those people in the dialogue?  Was it the same dialogue my lecturer was talking about?

Director-general of Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) Awang Sariyan (photo) said the proposal was made because national education emphasised the use of Malay language for unity.


BUT WHAT ABOUT LEARNING AND COMPETING WITH THE GLOBAL MARKET?

The dialogue attended by some 100 participants from 30 language-based NGOs also discussed the draft memorandum on the future direction of national education.

Again, WHO THE FUCK ARE THESE PEOPLE? There are a million issues and flaws in our education system and oh my god, this was their main concern?  I don't brain!

The dialogue also felt that the National Education Philosophy 1987 should be reaffirmed to produce better students in terms of knowledge, morals and language.

Well no shit Sherlock!

Then I stumbled upon another dumbass statement made by a most wise education officer:

"Higher Education deputy director-general Ir Dr Hamisah Tapsir in Kota Kinabalu last week in which she advised students to refrain from being “influenced by what is happening within the country and abroad as it would only create confusion.”
"In the same breath she also urged the students to be “ready in accepting changes to be able to face the challenges.”

The writer of the article above shares the same what-the-fucknuts thought as I do, so you can just read his article if you want a piece of my mind.

After reading these two articles, I feel like I should just resign and work at a bank.   Everything that we were taught, and I mean everything is not applicable in this system when we have creatures like the above running it.  Student autonomy, self-centred learning, critical thinking, bringing current issues to class - GONE.  

So say you are one of those dicks who go, "Why do you like to criticise our most loving and generous government and its system? Do you have a better idea?

Oh yes I do.  And I bet thousands of teachers (if not English teachers) have better ideas.

Okay, under the Evidence Act curiously, hurriedly passed, I'm probably screwed for writing this 'coz I'm a government servant and that's how things roll in very democratic Malaysia, so in case my ass gets fried someday,  I hope you whoever wishes to persecute me,  please consider that I am just an ordinary rakyat, an educator, who wants the best for our future generation.  I admit I have a potty mouth, but I am currently trying to break that habit.  Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, if this post somehow appeared when you Googled your name just for fun one day, here are some ideas on how to improve our education system, Your Lordship.

1. Make English as medium of instruction.

You know how important English language is, so I'm not going to go into that.  It's like telling people that vegetables are good for you.

My parents didn't go to university.  Yet they speak good English.  In fact they were forced to because English was the medium of instruction.  Some say it is not doable especially for students in rural areas.  But hey, my parents didn't come from the city either.  So if our parents could do it once upon a time, why can't kids now don't?

We can speak our own language at home.  But when we're in school with other different races, we can speak English to each other, because Ah Chong and Muthu's Bahasa Melayu is so atrocious, Ali would still be figuring out what his two best friends were trying to tell him, a week ago.

If kids were taught to speak English since the moment they stepped into Year 1, we English teachers wouldn't be doing translation exercises for them today.

For me, that is THE ONLY KEY to improve our generation's English Language proficiency.  Because not all students are highly motivated to learn.

2. Bring back the system where when a student fails his final year exam, he isn't allowed to go to the next form.

Also, a system used during my parents time.  Some kids stayed in the same form from puberty till they have a full grown beard, just because they couldn't pass their exam.  Students will be highly motivated to study and pass their exam just so they won't be left behind. 

It is not about embarrassing them, to make their friends go 'HAHA, you're still in Form 1, when we're all in Form 5 now.  You're stupid!". No.  It's about them taking responsibility for their action, something that kids today don't do, or don't give a fuck.  They take things and life for granted.  In their mind, "It's okay if I can't eve write my own name.  I'm still going to move forward."  

Also, it is for their own good - being in a class where it suits their level of learning/proficiency.  How does a kid who doesn't know the meaning of the word 'ambition' be in a class where his classmates are learning bigger words like 'ambidextrous'? How does a kid who can't even multiply take an test on algebra?  It is not fair for them at all.  Some kids are really slow learners, and they need more time.  So isn't it fair that they should just stay in the form that suits them till they are able to master everything that is required for them to move up?

3.  Not all kids are meant to be doctors.  There should be more schools for academically challenged students.

Like I have mentioned above, some kids are really slow learners.  Some brains are wired for rocket science, but some brains are not.  But why do we keep forcing them to go to school to learn stuff they don't get?  I sometimes pity my kids in class.  They know that they are not learning anything in school, yet there they are, wasting their years when they could've done something better to help their family.   Yes, there are vocational schools.  But why am I still dealing with these kids?  If the requirements to enter vocational schools is a bit 'too' high, then there should be more training centres for kids who didn't make it. 

 We depend so much on foreign labour.  And we also blame them for whatever monstrosity that happens in our country.  So why don't we train academically challenged students to be skilled workers, so that we don't have to hire foreigners any more?  Isn't it nice for once to have construction workers, waiters and maids with local, familiar faces?  Come on, HAS NOBODY thought of this before?

There are so many other things that can be done to improve our education system, but these are the things that I think should be given consideration the most.

I really, really don't want to end up working in a bank.




P/s:  Teachers and non-teachers,  how would YOU improve our education system for your kids?


5 comments:

Asrih Arif said...

I guess the best person to ask when it comes to educations are teachers because that's basically their field.

I totally agree that english should be the medium of instructions because we speak malay everyday and there's no way you can forget that language.

Here in Ireland I speak english every freking day but still my english is far from perfect. Just imagine those students who dont speak english at all and even speak malay in their english class... disaster? but then again, I always wonder if our current teachers are well equipped for this change to happen...

English in particular is something that even urang kampung can master. My parents don't speak english at all, we live in kampung, but all my 5 brothers can at least write good in english. I never doubt urang kampung's potential. We rock

I can't agree more on Ur last point of wanting more schools for academically challenged students.

What we want now is not a drastic change but a progression towards a better education system. We'll keep on fighting for it and I still believe someday we'll achieve it especially in rural areas (sorry a bit emotional when it comes to education in rural areas sbb very personal to me)...

Amanda Christine Wong said...

@Asrih:

Know what, asrih, you were in my mind when I writing my first point! I was like, this guy comes from a tiny kampung,but he's know an effing doctor in effing Ireland. If all kids are like you, maybe we don't even need to change our medium of instruction. But unfortunately, you are the one in a million. Yes, and I will continue to be vocal till I get heard, even if that means I'll end up in jail. Okay, maybe not to that extreme, but you get my point. hehe.

Lady Lithium said...

I strongly agree the second opinion/statement that you mentioned. That is how our system works when I was studying during secondary school. Except that this system applies to every form level, no exception. Just think of being hold back for a year really freak us out!

Basically I agree with everything you said!

English should be the medium of instructions since it is the most important and most common language that is widely use around the world.It's an international language that you have to know how to speak, read and write.

I'm sorry I could not give any better ideas to improve our education as you have mentioned the most crucial things that should be change and apply into our education system.

If Malay language become the medium of everything... I can imagine how hard it would be for those students that has opportunity to study to overseas to overcome the language barrier as well as try to catch up the lectures in English.

Armstrong said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Armstrong said...

Wow the comments here. Awesome.

Of course, I also agree that we should have less examination system, and concentrate on how to boost creativity... or in a way, thinking skills... especially when facing problems and such.

And English is kind of personal to me. Not to say I'm good or anything but I think I okay enough as an average English speaker. I say personal because people have been asking me to translate words, sentences, paragraphs and even a whole essay for them. And I do it because I sincerely want to help them. But when people keep asking me stuff like I'm a moving dictionary, it gets annoying on a certain level. And the funny thing is, my vocabulary isn't very good... neither is my grammar. LOL.

I'm now working in a Japanese steel processing company. And if THEY had implemented this idea a long time ago, I would have a difficult time conversing with my superiors. So, it's actually very important.

Luckily, I studied English at home. Mostly from games I play ;) Serious!

Okay, agak-agak la kepanjangan comment kan. Happy weekend, Amanda!