July 22, 2016
COMMENT: Mr. Ng, you are being very generous in praising Rural Development Minister Ismail Sabri for making a self serving remark on the quality of our graduates.
My friends and I have been discussing this matter over many years. What makes him special to deserve your praise? He just stated the obvious and what is worse he is part and parcel of the very corrupt UMNO system that sought to produce Malay graduates who are mediocre and weak so they can be cadres to serve and perpetuate the UMNO patronage system.
There is no political will to deal with this serious national crisis. Employing foreign consultants to produce glossy reports with buzz words and worn out cliches will not help us. Ask former Minister of Education and sacked Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin what he did with the Educational Blueprint he commissioned when he was in power.
Let us not waste taxpayers money when there is no will to fix the system which has failed to produce employable graduates. So stop heaping praise on this minister who is part of this malaise. You are only compromising your integrity.–Din Merican
Fix The Education System and Stop Talking Politics
by Scott Ng
There must be the political will to recognise the failures of the system and to address them.
It’s been a long time since a cabinet minister issued a statement that no reasonable person can find fault with. And of all people, it was Rural and Regional Development Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob who surprised us this week when he said something worthy of applause.
Ismail did right in ticking off university graduates for expecting the government to hire them. As it is, we already have a bloated civil service, and continuing to spoonfeed so many school leavers and university graduates is just not a viable option.
But then again, it is because our education system spoon-feeds our children that they cannot stand on their own when they go out into the working world. Ismail was probably being too idealistic when he said that “the government provides people with an education so that they can become those who provide others with jobs.”
Our education system doesn’t place enough emphasis on leadership, let alone creative and critical thinking and soft skills like public speaking and other forms of communication. As many graduates have found, the working world is quick to disabuse them of the notion that their grades mean anything more than ink scrawls on paper.
Employers look for more than just a 4.0 GPA. They want people who are problem solvers, who are capable of leading when necessary and who can communicate effectively.
The argument around education gets very politicised on the issue of employability, especially when it comes to English proficiency, but it cannot be argued that we severely lag behind in recognising the importance of soft skills in the professional world.
There is, indeed, a lack of urgency in addressing the problems in our education system.We certainly cannot continue to spoon-feed our students. They must be taught to fish, not just to eat. Not only must the education system teach them employable skills; it must also instill in them the belief that education must continue throughout one’s lifetime. Our education system must in fact teach them how to keep on educating themselves once they leave their institutions of learning.
If the government truly wants our graduates to begin fending for themselves and to be competitive, then it must recognise that the modern world demands more than just good grades. The government must have the political will to recognise the failures of our education system and to address them.