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An education wish list

By Dr S. Mathana Amaris Fiona - May 20, 2018 @ 8:56am MOST READ


RECOMMENDED TODAY
WHEN Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was prime minister the first time, he introduced
Kurikulum Bersepadu Sekolah Rendah and Kurikulum Bersepadu Sekolah Menengah, I donut believe
and relentlessly emphasised Mathematics, Science and English. We also take note of it! KFC
the Technical and Vocational Education and Training and information and unveils fried
communications technology (ICT) subjects introduced by the previous government. chicken and
glazed donut
The education system has undergone rapid changes and we are moving towards the
sandwich
Fourth Industrial Revolution, emphasising digital classroom, Internet of Things,
Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and Science, Technology,
1
Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) education. Perhaps it would be beneficial FT Mufti:
to research the education models that were successful in other countries and whether Show proof
those models fit in our cultural landscape. Malaysia's
banknotes
As the country is going through institutional reforms, the education system is one area contain pig
that needs a complete overhaul. What Malaysians would like to see is that continuous tallow
efforts are taken to reinvigorate the system and make way for progressive education to 2
take place in all levels, both macro and micro systems, from early childhood education
A crackdown
right up to tertiary level. This is in the spirit of the National Philosophy of Education,
on Islam is
which is “towards developing the potentials of individuals in a holistic and integrated
spreading
manner, producing individuals who are intellectually, spiritually, emotionally and
across China
physically balanced and harmonious”. 3
Here is a wish list to revamp the education system: North Korean
MOST Malaysians are not ready for a single-stream school system, but the first step who fled
can be taken to pave the way for a better school system in years or decades to come. famine dies in
Right now, we have a multiple-stream school system, which includes national schools, Seoul... of
starvation
vernacular schools, religious schools, vocational schools, international schools and
private/independent learning centres. There should be a standardised way of
4
managing multiple-stream schools so that students are not discriminated for Watch: US
graduating from different schooling backgrounds. In addition, language subjects like man drowns
Mandarin, Tamil and Arabic should be introduced in national schools, allowing students while
from any ethnicity to learn these languages. This will not only foster unity, but also proposing to
enrich the learning environment of national schools, which are populated by students girlfriend
of a single ethnic group; underwater

REWRITE the History textbooks. Bring back the History lessons of the 1960s, which
5
covered world history and civilisation. The history of a country should not be distorted Price offered is
and must be presented as how it happened, including true accounts of the Malay too low, say
Archipelago and Asian civilisations. History redefines itself, so the achievements and Kampung
Baru residents
national agendas need to be incorporated in history textbooks to recognise the
sacrifices of people from all ethnicities;
6
2 Malaysians
AS the nation is gearing towards STEM education, let us be reminded of Mahatma
detained for
Gandhi’s words: “Science without humanity is a sin”. Focusing on mechanistic
allegedly
solutions without reflecting on the human element, ethics and integrity would not bode
smuggling
well for the country’s progress. We do not want scientists to work in aloofness, but to
1,266kg of
be communicators of science and enhancers of “public understanding of science”. That
ephedrine into
is why, in some countries, STEAM is emphasised, that is incorporating arts in STEM.
Australia
Our national agenda looks at increasing the enrolment of Pure Science students by 60
per cent. But, in our enthusiasm to produce 60 per cent of science graduates, we must
7
not compromise on the entry requirements and passing grades of students in Science Body of naked
and Mathematics subjects; man found in
Port Dickson
TO ensure a fun learning environment, we must ensure that science laboratories in 8
national schools are functional. Most schools do not have sufficient lab resources,
American
chemicals and apparatus for students to carry out practical lessons and to comprehend
tourist dies
science concepts through inquiry learning. This is an area that needs immediate
after car
attention;
ploughs into
RELOOK teachers’ workload. Every national school teacher would testify that his or him in
her teaching hours are compromised by increasing administrative duties, meetings and Kuching
hours spent keying in data in the Education Ministry’s websites. Perhaps, the 9
government can designate new positions to assist teachers in administration. Dr Thomas Cook
Mahathir said the government would consider using new technologies and teaching collapses;
software to assist teachers. While that is a welcome move, we need to be mindful that hundreds of
attempts to introduce 1BestariNet and Frog VLE were futile. The reasons for the failure thousands
need to be taken into account when introducing technology-based learning. Inputs stranded
need to be gathered from teachers and school heads at the grassroots level and not 10
just officers from education departments;

OUR prime minister has always been vocal in emphasising the importance of English.
We have gone through a decade of flip-flop policies, including the Teaching and
Learning of Science and Mathematics in English (PPSMI), Upholding Bahasa Malaysia
and Strengthening English (MBMMBI), Dual Language Programme and the Highly
Immersive Programme. It is time leaders did not bow to political pressure, but did what
was right to bring back the glory days when we conversed in English without
undermining the national language;

THEintroduction of ICT and robotics in schools, with organisations coming forward to


engage schools, is laudable. But, the question remains whether all schools are getting
the same attention and benefits;

THE infrastructure of rural schools in the Peninsular, Sabah and Sarawak is a grave
concern. Not to forget the teachers and students in remote areas who risk their lives to
reach school every day;

RESEARCH in Science and Humanities will not take place if there isn’t enough
research funding. In the last few years, public universities saw a drastic cut in the
allocation of budget, which resulted in the termination of professors and freezing of
recruitment. There needs to be a governing body to look into the allocation of budget to
public and private universities for academics to pursue research in Science and
Humanities subjects, and to collaborate with national think tanks; and,

IT is undeniable that disparity and inequality exist in education. The students in


national schools do not get the exposure and learning facilities as the students in
international schools. Similarly, we see students in private universities engaging in
roundtable discussions, equipped with laptops, flipped learning and live streaming
recordings, as compared with public university students, who sit in lecture halls and
take down notes. Then, there is the issue of students with merit who are not given a
place in local universities. The disparity and inequality in education need to be
addressed for the nation to move forward.

This list is not exhaustive, and I am sure the teaching fraternity and academics would
be able to come up with more robust recommendations.

DR S. MATHANA AMARIS FIONA


Former teacher and research fellow at a private university
151 reads

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