Yoursay: Curriculum reform not enough for schools ‘to be great again’


20 Mar 2019, 12:00 am

Updated a year ago


YOURSAY | Great ‘again’ - meaning pre-1975 when our exams and universities were highly ranked globally.

PM wants to make national schools great again

Newday: Civics and religion - is that all there is to fixing our education system? How about the practice of rote learning? Change that first.

Teach children how to form opinions based on the available evidence, rather than shoving memorising down their throat. Get them to think for themselves.

All developed nations follow this which enables a child to be prepared for one’s future life in the workforce or undertaking business ventures.

What do we in Malaysia train now? Future workforce that can only work via prescription. Life and work are in many ways without prescription. It is a folly to think that we can be a competitive country if we stick with such education.

The big risk for some in power here is that if we develop children to think and form opinions that the power base of those in charge will be eroded, especially those in charge of religion. Therein lies the problem.

Jit: Good move. But is it possible as little Napoleons wouldn’t allow "others" to be principal or headmaster because they are not "orang kita"?

Can the curriculum and some practises in school not be purely religious and race-based? Can History be taught as it should be? Can the promotions be based on actual work done and not based on quota?

There are many things to be looked into. Basically, education should not be politicised.

Ah Boy: It's not only the curriculum, it's also the quality of teachers dispensing the curriculum.

What is the use of having a world-class curriculum if the teachers are on maternity leave every year, teachers who do better teaching tuition outside than at school, teachers involved in multi-level marketing businesses?

Change the curriculum and change the teachers’ training curriculum as well. Set the bar higher to become teachers, not just hire in order to fill the quota.

Blogsmith: Yes, a lot will depend on proper teacher selection. In the past, I think there was a lowering of standards to fulfil some agenda and the quality of the current batch of teachers is suspect.

Unless that is changed, the chances of uplifting the national schools will not be easy.

Good Governance: The first step towards reforming our education system is to replace the education minister. Ten months down the road and the only changes I see is shoe colour.

I want to give him more time but unfortunately, he is a real disappointment. He (or anyone taking up leadership role) should have a plan laid out even before taking the role, not start thinking only after taking up the role. That's no leadership.

Appum: What Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad just announced, shouldn't it come from Education Minister Maszlee Malik? Is Maszlee just a seat-warmer?

Wira: Tun, you are the CEO and chairperson of the board. You don't need to be a manager to make things happen.

Lay out your policy and vision statement. Appoint a capable education minister to carry out your vision and policy for you. If he deviates or is inadequate, replace him with another regardless of skin colour.

Ppp: If possible, make Mahathir our education minister. If Pakatan Harapan can break other promises in the manifesto, why not this one too?

Otherwise, after two years, when PKR president Anwar Ibrahim becomes PM - make Mahathir the education minister.

Idiocracy: What did Mahathir do to the education system when he became the education minister in 1974?

He started the quota system. He ignored the arts and culture side which is equally important today. Because of this, Malaysians have no identity, they are confused with themselves and they are a fragmented society.

Concepts were poorly translated into Malay and students were made to memorise without understanding these concepts. He ignored vernacular language which had better and more established linguistics in explaining mathematical and scientific concepts.

It’s not that Chinese in Chinese schools are smarter, it is their centuries-old method of explaining concepts that are clearer. That's why when Chinese school students join the national secondary schools or when they go to university, their maths and scientific knowledge are superior, generally.

It was poor planning and poor translation that took our Maths and Science backwards until today - evident in our Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) ranking.

Of course, we still have brilliant students from national schools who can excel in these subjects regardless of language but these are exceptional students.

Back in the 70s and 80s, there wasn't any Internet and books were expensive. In the 90s, you can get more information. Today you can learn anything from the Internet and most of them are free and in English. So it’s fair play for everyone.

How is our national language going to cope with millions of content pages being churned out every day from the likes of Science Hub, Research Gate,, OECD, etc?

Technology pops up every day from East and West and they are all in English, Chinese and Japanese (I don't mention Hindi because India is very advanced in English usage).

Those who are proficient in English will have a competitive advantage, render those who don't, would need protection and special treatment again. It’s a vicious loop that was caused by Mahathir.

Hence the message should say "make national school great" not make "make national school great again" unless Mahathir is referring to pre-1975 before he was made education minister.

That was when MCE and HSE exams as well as our universities were recognised in the UK and all Commonwealth countries. Universiti Malaya was top 50 in the world, ahead of National University of Singapore.

Many youths today do not realise who was the one who really messed up our education system because these are never mentioned in your history books.

Anonymous #45522856: Solution - get religion out of national schools and place emphasis on English.

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