Monday, December 8, 2008

Streamlined Education System

Update 1 (18/12): Chinese whiz kid mastered English

I'm trying to rationalize why there isn't much support for Dato' Mukhriz' proposal to streamline our fragmented educations system. The obvious answer one might put forward is the coming UMNO election. One may rationalize that the others won't follow suit in fear of Mukhriz scoring more points in his bid for the highest helm in UMNO Youth. The other plausible reason is that the Malays are not supportive of the notion. If the former is the reason, then shame on you UMNO leaders for not defending your brethren.

If the reason is the latter, why does it hurt to have a unified education system? Every other developed nation has a unified education system. Is it damaging to have all kids of different races and background receive a uniformed curriculum? Doesn't it enhance integration, racial toleration and in line with the opposition's mantra of 'Malaysia for Malaysians'? Why is it opposed from all quarters and labeled as seditious just talking about it?

Instead of firing verbal projectiles at Mukhriz, I'm interested to hear substantial arguments from Lim Kit Siang, Lim Guan Eng, Samy Vellu and others as to why it is damaging to have this proposal in place? Let's have an educated forum to discuss the pros and cons. I'm sure they'll throw a curve ball and have the New Economic Policy and Malay Special Rights as excuses to have vernacular schools. If we are going to slowly diminish the NEP as the Malays become more competitive, surely we have to slowly integrate all these systems into one. The Sekolah Wawasan concept might do the trick as an introductory or transitional phase to full integration. Or is the funds really the hurdle to integrate the schools?

If we observe multinationals and companies with majority chinese population, the language of choice at work seems to be Mandarin than the national language or English. The multiplier effect comes into play is when job vacancies are advertised with preference of Mandarin language ability.

The Chinese and Indians who are exposed to sekolah kebangsaan system are usually of different cut of cloth. Because of their extended interaction with other races, they tend to communicate more in the national language or English. The ones who are less exposed to other races normally have poor command of the national language or English, only profound in their own mother tongue. Let's not even talk about writing skills. In addition, those who go to sekolah kebangsaan system are looked down by their peers who went to vernacular schools, giving the ones from vernacular system a false position that they are 'more chinese' or 'more indian'. Isn't the goal to be more Malaysian? Does it mean the Chinese and Indians from Sekolah Kebangsaan do not have a strong command in Mandarin or Tamil?

This is not to target just the Chinese and Indians. It also applies to the Malays who are not exposed to interaction with other races. It becomes apparent especially when they are overseas when they cling on to each other, have poor communication skills especially with foreigners and come home with the same language skill level.

The fragmented education system have forced parents with the monetary means to choose private schools for their children. The medium of language is English and the kids are taught extra curriculum involving the arts and science. Because of the better salary that teachers are being offered in the private system, the schools will attract the best teachers naturally. What of the parents with little means to choose private schools?

If we integrate the system, I believe resources can be allocated and shared more efficiently. The additional funds saved from integration could be channeled to training up our teachers and increasing their pay. The command of our NATIONAL LANGUAGE and English as the second language of choice will soar to greater heights (nothing wrong with being fluent in the mother tongue also). Above all, the school will continue to foster unity and tolerance so that in 20 years, they won't be shouting at Parliament at one another for being racist.


bats said...

"Above all, the school will continue to foster unity and tolerance so that in 20 years, they won't be shouting at Parliament at one another for being racist."

that's gold.

opposition should take heed and realize that the foundation of the nation is education. those in power on the other hand must be committed to the cause and not use education to score brownie points.

can't keep changing policies whenever a new minister comes in. die la like that.

if funding is the problem.. then we gotta wake up. school is school la. don't confuse funding of schools with funding of other things. this applies to all races. if people want equality, they gotta pull their fingers out and stop whipping out the race card when it's convenient.

we don't need 15 ministries and departments to screw around with education. treat all kids the same, from SRK to Uni and people will come. no need for political rhetoric, inflammatory statements, you know... the usual crap the pollies dish out. be sincere. don't mess around with the education of our children.

opcharlie said...

thanks bro, but there's a structural error in that sentence (which suggests that the school will be shouting at each other at Parliament not the students).

anyway, agree with your opinion on education policy. I believe same feedback has been given to DSHH. I'm sure he has his own political constraints but hopefully he will nail this down before he moves on to a bigger agenda/portfolio.