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English Proficiency II. Forum. Theme: Education.

Education is the most powerful tool one can use to change the world-Nelson Mandela. It is without a doubt that intelligence and wits is vital for the growth of our nation on every aspect. In the growing world, new ideas and innovations are the diamonds that can lead us to become a developed countries and shine across the world. The question now is, is Malaysias education good enough to provide the best education? Is our education system working well and match the world standard? To discuss these questions, today, I have invited some of the best in education. First, on my right is Y.B. Datuk Basil Fidelis, current

Lets begin with what education should be.

Speaker 1. Good morning and thank you for inviting me today. According to our National Philosophy of Education, education is to develop every aspect of individuals in a harmonious and balanced manner so as to preserve their wellbeing. Knowledge and education should path the way to goods ethics and moral values as responsible and learned members of the community and nation. A core concept of the NPE is the value and role of knowledge in the development of individuals and their role in the community. More importantly, the value of knowledge lies in the truth of the matter which serves not only to inform but also to transform and shape individuals to serve the community. This power of knowledge that is able to transform individuals and their networks makes it a very valuable commodity. Education is a lifelong process and man is constantly in need to expand, explore and verify existing knowledge. Experience does not only enrich and strengthen knowledge but also re-examine and increase the capacity of existing knowledge possessed by individuals. Personally, education should be about providing the basics of knowledge and expanding ones potential fully so as to lead to a positive development for the society no matter how small or big ones role in society is. Chairperson. I agree. Education is a necessity of humans. Our deputy prime minister/minister of education announced that the World Economic Forums (WEF) Global Competitive Index (GCI) report 2011-2012 for Malaysia ranks the quality of our education system at No. 14 out of 142 countries. Malaysia should be proud of this accomplishment which is above many developed countries including the United Kingdom, the US and Germany.

We really should give ourselves a pat on the back for being ranked at par with these First World nations. But instead, many have voiced their concern over the misrepresentation or misinterpretation of the data by the minister. Many are not amused but aghast. What are your views on this?

Speaker 2 The WEF CGI report has, for three decades, been perceived as the worlds most respected assessment of national competitiveness, by leading business executives around the world. The control sample is based on the opinion of 87 senior-level management in the business community in Malaysia. It is a snapshot of what they believe is true and they believe that Malaysia has one of the best education systems in the world. To put the WEF opinion poll into better perspective, the respondents would have belonged to the top echelons of the business community. It can be safe to assume that they are among the elite high income, highly educated and living in the urban areas, specifically Kuala Lumpur, with their children in private and international schools and a plan for overseas tertiary education thereafter. Therefore, to be ranked 14th would have highly likely been based on the quality of private and international education, and not the overall level of the Malaysian education system as a whole. Therefore, I dont believe we are no 14th in the world and we still have a lot to improve in our education system.

Chairperson Interesting view and enlightment by Prof. Speaking of world standards, what are your views on the issue of what language should we use as a medium in schools? Is it English or our national language. In 2002, the government announced that from 2003 onwards, the teaching of Science and Mathematics would be done in English, to ensure that Malaysia would not be left behind in a world that was rapidly becoming globalised. This paved the way for the establishment of mixed-medium education. However, the policy was heavily criticized by Malay linguists and activists, fearing that the policy might erode the usage of Malay language in science and mathematics, which led to a massive rally in Kuala Lumpur on 7 March 2009.[24] Chinese education groups were opposed to the policy as well, fearing that it might erode the usage of Chinese as the medium of instruction in Chinese schools. The government

announced in 2009 that this policy will be reversed in 2012: the teaching of both subjects would revert to Malay.

Speaker 3. Certainly, English is an international language, but it is not the most used language in the world. It is a language of the elites but Mandarin language much more used in the world. Therefore if the aim is to produce world class citizens, English might not just be the best thing. The assumption that as along as everything is taught in English it would make us great, advanced,is incorrect. If it is true, they need to convince me why is Japan, China, Korea, French and Germans are so advanced without using English as medium of instruction of their schools. Convince me on this first. I dont believe language is a major factor in producing good education. Good education is about expanding the potentials that our youth already have and putting it to good use. Formal education provides the basic for our kids but in the end, schools rarely provide what they are interested in. The social assumption that paygrade and stereotypical good job of doctors, teachers and engineers is causing lots of talented bright young Malaysian to give up what they actually love and are talented to do for the country and even the world. What Im trying to say is that we can use any language we want, as long as the actual content of the education is good. Because, there are higher and more universal language as a form of expression of ideas such as art and sports. Malaysia is known for badminton, squash, diving, gamelan, unique culture, and multiracial society which are all beyond words. This is true to the saying that action speaks louder than words.

Chairperson. That was a very eye-opening insight. Malaysia is certainly a beautiful country known for its multiracial society. Another issue in education is the quality of teachers that are said to be low. Teachers are essentially the core of education, without teachers, there is no proper education. We all have that one of more teachers that we will always remember that made a big difference in our lives. Therefore, what are your thoughts on this issue?

Speaker 4. The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires. ~William Arthur Ward~ Inspiring teachers is not very easy to find, mostly because it is not something you can train someone to do easily. Teaching is a gift and very few have it. However, it is

possible to train a good teacher. Malaysias teacher training is divided into secondary and primary school teachers. Secondary school teachers are trained in universities while primary school teachers are trained in a more centralized system which is IPGM. Primary school teachers are trained like elites in a separate institutes specialised for teacher training and selection is strict with requirements of at least 6As in SPM and interview including personality test. Then, they are trained rigorously for 5 years, graduating with a degree in education. Therefore, we can safely assume they are good as they are very well selected and trained well. Billions of ringgit are spent on making sure teachers are well-equiped. The government made sure that teachers are trained well because they realize even though good teacher are costly, bad teachers will cost us more. The real question here is what does society think of when it comes to high quality teachers? Parents nowadays are very protective of their children, even a simple punishment for the student is court case. How are teachers suppose to educate when the parents are supporting the bad behaviour of their children. Parents should work together and trust teachers to educate their children because it is their job. Educating children is not the a job specifically for teachers, everyone must work together. Dont blame teachers, work with teachers. Instead of blaming each other, we should work together.

Chairperson. Thank you for the wonderful insight. Such inspiring and eye-opening discussion. Unfortunately, time is not on our side. Therefore, I would like to know what each of you would like to change in our current education system if you are given the chance? Tiap speaker, lu fikir lah sendiri. JUMPA MALAM AHAD.