By TRECIA TAN SHU HUI
Bachelor of Mass Communication
PEOPLE are always complaining about how the education system is a failure and it needs to be reformed. There is no doubt that it has its flaws, like everything else that exists in this world, but is it really just the fault of the Ministry of Education?
No matter how many changes the government makes, there is no system that can please every single person in this nation. Someone is bound to complain about something. That is the way how things work around here, and in the rest of the world, too. Hence, there is always an opposition party in most nations, trying to voice out against the status quo.
I am not saying that there is no need for change, because I humbly believe that the education system in Malaysia does need to be revised. But for once, could everyone just stop putting the blame on others? It is time for self-reflection and to look at this matter from a different perspective.
Those who are not satisfied with the system would complain, “Our children are not learning anything! All they are doing is chewing the school syllabus and regurgitating them during examinations. They would forget about everything they have learned immediately after there is no longer a use for the knowledge.”
It is true. I would know that, because I am Exhibit A. I have been out of high school for not even two years, and I cannot even remember a single physics formula or balance a simple chemistry equation. It doesn’t matter if I got an A for both subjects in the Sijil Pelajaran Menengah (SPM) examinations.
Before you start to point fingers at the flawed education system again, think about this: If the system is so flawed, why would most parents out there still support it? Ironically, most of the people who are complaining about the system are the concerned parents, and yet, they still wish that their children would score straight As and be at the top of the class.
The parents are the ones sending their children to tuition classes to help them strive in their academics. There is a reason why the tuition industry has been booming over the years. At one point, I could not even step out of my school without being bombarded with flyers and pamphlets of tuition centres, and some were not even located around the area!
Some would say that they are forced to support the system which they do not believe in for the sake of a better future. You know what I think? Those are only lies that they tell just so they can take comfort in their own hypocrisy.
Parents can tell their children, “Kids, as long as you have done your best, we would still be proud of you.” Instead, they hire private tutors or send the children off to more tuition classes so they would be better prepared to tackle exam questions for the purpose of scoring higher marks. The children, too, foolishly go along with it.
Another mindset which most parents and the general society have is the prejudice against Arts stream students. I believe, some public schools in Malaysia categorise the students based on their Penilaian Menengah Rendah (PMR) examination results and make sure that only those who have good results are qualified to get into Science stream because only they are “smart” enough to cope with the syllabus.
This, I think, has caused an unbalanced and unhealthy study environment as the Arts stream students are look down upon because they are assumed to be “dumb” or else they would have been studying in the Science stream instead.
The unfair judgement does not stop there. Even at tertiary education level, mass communication students are generally regarded to be less intellectual compared to students from School of Medicine or Business.
Some would again like to pin it on the flawed education system which has resulted to the growth of this prejudice, but in reality, it is their own fault, because nothing and no one should be able to influence the way one thinks if he or she deeply believes in something.
All this has led back to the same issue again: Reformation of the education system.
How could you urge for the reformation of the system, if you yourself are still supporting it? The same concept which applies to reading habits and the practice of an eco-friendly lifestyle do apply in this situation, too. If you are seeking for change, start from within. Change your mindset!
It does not work if your voice says one thing, but your action shows otherwise. As long as parents and students are still stuck in that narrow mindset, there is no way that we can ever beat the system.