It shouldn’t be changed just like that — Lim Mun Fah
JUNE 6 — There is nothing that’s perfect in the world. There is nothing that’s the best, but only the most suitable and the most feasible.
However, education officials might not share the same perspective. In their cognition, we must accept everything considered the best and it does not matter whether they are suitable or feasible.
Therefore, when the Europe and the US implemented the reading, writing and arithmetic (3Rs) system, we followed suit; when Singapore introduced the Gifted Education Programme, we introduced the Level One Evaluation to allow excellently scored students to skip Standard Four, regardless of whether our conditions were suitable, whether our teachers could handle it and whether our children could keep up the pace.
When it comes to education reform, the Education Ministry has always been too “efficient” for the people to react. They always implement policies, including far-reaching education acts, without understanding parents’ views, consulting experts, holding discussions or going abroad to research and study. They just implement it, as long as they gain majority votes in Parliament regardless of the opposition from the Chinese community and education organisations.
As a result, the 3Rs system was abandoned, so were the abacus math and Standard Four skipping policy. The assessment system has been repeatedly changed, causing suffering to children while tiring teachers. However, our education standard has not moved forward because of the Education Ministry’s courage to “reform”.
The Education Ministry has never learned its lesson and just keeps repeating the same mistake.
The latest reform would be the plan to change the admission age to the first year of primary education from seven to five, starting from 2015, and making education compulsory from six years to nine years.
Also, the Civic Education and Kajian Tempatan subjects for Standard Four, Five and Six would be replaced by History beginning 2014. At the same time, the time duration for the Bahasa Malaysia and English language lessons would be increased, while Music lessons would be reduced to one period. The Pendidikan Jasmani lesson would also be increased to two periods to achieve the goal of 1 Murid 1 Sukan programme.
It is again a major reform this time, particularly changing the school admission age from seven years old to five years old. It would bring far-reaching effects that must not be overlooked.
And here come the old problems: Is the Education Ministry again having the final say for such a huge reform? Have parents been granted the right to express their views? Did the ministry consult experts and scholars?
It is not new to have History lessons in primary education. When I was studying in primary school in the 1960s, I started to learn national history in Standard Four and history of the four ancient civilisations in Standard Five and Six. What would be included in the syllabus of the History lessons to be restored two years later? Would it be true history or the so-called history meant to instil patriotic consciousness and gratitude?
No one would oppose to the intention of strengthening Bahasa Malaysia and English. However, does the crux of the problem lie in lacking learning periods, or the syllabus and teaching method?
Could hasty changes really help in solving the problems? Would our future leaders become another badge of white mouse for the education reform? I am at a loss, and I am worried. — MySinchew.com
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.