Change in education will come, but wait

February 15, 2019

Change in education will come, but wait


At a recent forum attended by the education minister, I had a unique chance to observe the citizenry in action with regards to the issue of education.

I suppose 30 years of pent-up anger about the issue was suddenly unleashed after May 9 and, with the openness of the new minister, an opportunity was raised to vent out these frustrations.

Everyone has ideas on revamping the education system. I, too, in many ways, have written or voiced out those exact comments in other forums and talks.

But what seems to be missing is patience and appreciation on the part of the citizenry of what has already been done: the planning and complexity of manoeuvring things in order to effect change in education.

The ministry has addressed many housekeeping issues on the provision of basic infrastructure like abandoned projects, broken furniture, inadequate book stocks, teachers’ workloads, and trying to change attitudes towards education management.

But the middle-class elites seem unimpressed with these efforts. They want to see change now.

Image result for malaysian education blueprint 2018

What are we waiting– for the Sun to rise in The West?

We can only expect to see change if we start to think in the right direction. In the case of religious education, it will be a miracle if we see change in the next 30 years.

On the issue of English, on the other hand, I can see change in five years’ time.

Why can’t change occur now? I think the reasons are pretty obvious.

Changing 450,000 teachers is a doable, but Herculean task. Changing the mindset of the academia will not be easy after 30 years of complacency due to the Universities and University Colleges Act.

Changing the curriculum of professional education will be near-impossible if the ministry has no control over the professional bodies who ride roughshod over universities’ professional programmes. But it can still be done.

Fighting off extremist Malay and Islamic groups is like walking on water. We need a miracle! But miracles, too, can be engineered and managed, and change will come eventually.

For me, hearing about “values-driven education” and “humanising education” is already the signal for change.

The ministry has proposed a drastic change from the factory production-oriented school leavers and university graduates to a more tolerant citizenry on differences of faiths and culture. All teachers and academics should answer this call immediately and with utmost urgency.

What we can do now, we should do. What we can plan to change a little later, we put plans in place. The onus is on us not to wait for another education blueprint.

The call for change has already been sounded. The strategies for change have already been placed. The long-term issues of education are already being planned and are undergoing minute scrutiny before implementation.

What is required of the citizenry is their own efforts to understand the vision and change according to their own capacities and abilities.

What is needed are new ideas and suggestions to strengthen the framework that is already in existence. What is desired most of the citizenry is an open mind to the various sensitivities and time bombs of socio-political constructs surrounding the issue of education.

At the end of the day, we must understand that the minister concerned has no magic wand to conjure miracles.

As long as the objectives of change are clear and some small change has occurred, we should accept patience as an investment in life.

The battle to put in place the right people and perspective of change has already been won. The question for the citizenry now is: can we accept what has come and endure with patience for what is promised?

Can we look at change as a continuing process and not as a singular momentous event?

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.


7 thoughts on “Change in education will come, but wait

  1. if you ever speck to new graduates in English, chances are they don’t understand a word you say unless they are from English specking family. Their knowledge level even from the elite U is limited. you cannot blame the pro bodies for shunning them. in others field they flooded the profession with limited knowledge graduates!

  2. The standard of English must be raised ASAP. Poor English language skills means that many Malay students will not be able to get higher paying jobs (and higher level jobs) in the formal sector of the (private sector) economy where transnational corporations are found.

    • Public sector e.g. govt jobs
      Private sector :
      Formal economy (foreign-owned) – usually best-paying (managerial ranks) or better-paying (lower level personnel)
      Formal economy (Malaysian-owned) – usually lower-paying than the above
      Informal sector of the economy — legal, but low productivity and low economic returns
      Criminal or illegal activities sector e.g. illegal gambling, prositutions, illicit drugs etc.

  3. Supposedly one million PAS members erroneously think Nik Abduh lied for the party and morally wrong to excuse his lying for the party is OK.

    If its true, then our education challenge is far deeper and complex.

    I had a great education but am realistic about what education can really do. Its not magic and we believe it is, sure fire going to fail

  4. //”values-driven education” is already a change.
    I could not comprehend my SRJK Kuen Cheng primary school song because we inherited it from our big sister secondary school built in 1908. I am glad I couldn’t comprehend it then. I cried today when learning that the first phrase is “riding broken bikes, wearing clothes with holes, we till the Southern land” and the last phrase being “self reliant” as we build a new future that we can be proud of. The phrase 不息自强came from 商dynasty’s周易. Of the four values ingrained in my primary school is 礼,義,廉,恥, i.e. sopan santun, xxx, kemurahan, kesopanan/kemaluan. xxx could not be translated to Malay. As a bangsa Malaysia, we have hardly begun scratching the surface of learning each other’s value. I am definitely up from learning the Malay culture. But, Melayu.. wake up and stand up for your culture. Don’t be afraid in understand others also. Cherish the thought that perhaps there is a reason why major cultures in the world has such deep roots on your shore. For me 義 comes with a respect for sacrifice of killing oneself for truth. Without going to foreign import like Jesus, 关公, a General from the three kingdom period illustrate that spirit. We have not even begin in our understanding of value driven heritage, except the pragmatic learning of kiasuism or kiasiism from our figure heads. Welayu.. welayu. Malu.. malu.. we don’t know even where to begin. I shouldn’t have been allowed to graduate from my primary school. I cried learning the true meaning of my primary school song. We have been complacent.

    • For those who don’t know Kuen Cheng. It is the closest school to Istana Negara. None of our Agong has even thought if it is ok to come up with a word for one of the four most basic values taught for over a century. Just crossed the road, any of our Agong will find Kuen Cheng. It is not a school of Kejenisan, but a school of Kebangsaan also.

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