Education : a fickle policy

C & P a WA from a PSM friend @ 180516

(By Chegu Nithiya)

Happy Teacher’s Day Cikgu

OPEN LETTER TO GOVERNMENT OF THE DAY (PAKATAN HARAPAN)

A week ago, we, Malaysians saw the historical moment of transition of power from Barisan Nasional to Pakatan Harapan. Majority Malaysians are looking for a ‘Change’ and they showed the change in the ballot box. Bravo Malaysians! Today we are celebrating Teacher’s Day Celebration all over Malaysia. The month of May shows the celebration for workers. We had Workers Day, Nurses Day and Teachers Day. I as an educator would like to highlight some issues which the current government needs to analyse and solve it as the Education Reform. The change should not only start from elections but also in education.

Ministers and Education Ministry

Every time when there is a change of Minister, there will be change of policies. These policies are carried out not only as education propaganda but to sustain the minister’s legacy. But we don’t know how the educators are caring out those policies. How much the educators are pressured to carry out those policies. For an instance, the change from KBSR to KSSR, implementation of PAK21, Vle-Frog, PBS and etc. Here and there we hear grumblings from educators. Was all those grumblings were heard by Ministry? Did the Ministry helped the educators regarding their workload?
Each Minister who come, will say ‘Beban guru akan dikurangkan’. The question is when will it ‘dikurangkan’ ? I agree there are some research showing Teachers in Malaysia are only working for 3 and half hours. How about rest of the hours ? Marking, key-in marks, creating exam papers, filings, meetings till late evenings etc. shouldn’t all these taken into account about the workload ?

The main problem in Education Ministry is Top Down instructions and pressures. A policy will be made, and ministry instructs the State Education Department to implement. The State Education Department instructs the District Education Office and District Education Office instruct the schools, especially the teachers to carry out their policies. For all these, a lot of money spends. Courses by courses are given to the teachers. This Top Down instructions is so stressful. Why don’t the new Government have a discussion with teachers and identify their problems. This will make things easier for all, if a policy is to be made. Education Ministry should work Down to Top as the majority working group are the Teachers, and they know better about education. Government of the Day should brainstorm with teachers to get in-depth info about teaching and schools.

We need a Minister who had been in teaching. There is no point appointing someone from different field. Only a Teacher knows the need of the client, which are the students. If this is not happening, then as I said earlier, new minister, new policy will be maintained as Barisan Nasional.

Education and Schools

20 million was used to employ a foreign consultancy firm to architect the national education blue print (Pelan Pembangunan Pendidikan Malaysia 2013 – 2025) during Barisan Nasional regime. Wouldn’t it been better if that money was used for the infrastructure and betterment of schools which are in poor condition ? I wish the current Government; will make a proper budget for the infrastructure of schools which in poor condition and spend wisely.
Education in Malaysia is emphasizing on marks and grades. Although many may say ‘No’ we are not looking at marks but it is a blatant lie. If we are not looking at marks and grades why are we encouraging Sekolah Berprestasi Tinggi, Sekolah Kluster, Sekolah Bai’ah ? Why are we having ‘caste’ in schools if we are not into marks? I guess it’s a good time for the Pakatan Government to abolish all these ‘casteism’ in schools and treat each school and students equally. Grades and Marks is not the weightage for education. Students should be able to apply what they have learned in daily life.

Not only that, schools need to achieve the KPI imposed to them by the Ministry. If they don’t achieve, they will be in hot pot. Teachers will be blamed. The management will be blamed. When are the people up there going to understand education is a process and the results need time? When are we going to make students to study in ease and not in a pressure cooker ?

Teachers and Students

The majority working group in the Education Ministry are the Teachers. Every year on 16 May, we will hear all the sweet words about teachers but how many knows how much they are drained out ? How many knows many teachers are opting out due to the workload ? A teacher is there to teach. But in Malaysia, teachers are being clerks too. They have loads of clerical work to be done. They have to show evidence for their activities. I wonder how many trees were cut down just to make all these evidence by printing on papers. Will Pakatan Government reduce the workload of teachers ?

Are the current government aware about the disable schools for the disable students ? Not many are enrolled in the schools as it is far from their home. There are also parents who sent their children to private school especially for the disables. I remember a parent’s plight to enroll their disable child Annur who was suffering from cerebral palsy. But they couldn’t because the schools can’t facilitate cerebral palsy children. We have no expertise in these area and many disable students can’t be enrolled. Disable schools are not for education, it should be for their therapy too. Don’t neglect these children as they are also our citizen and they need education too in a different way.

Students are burden with exams. I feel pity to see my students as we are just preparing them for a race. How will exams be the measure for their understandings ? Look at Finland; they don’t have exams till 10 years old. But here in Malaysia, we will start with exams from kindergarten. We should stop pressuring students in the form of exams and grading them. Education is a process of understanding and not all students will be able to do it in one go. Give time to the students to explore and understand what they are being taught. Let them talk about what they understood.

In Malaysia, students don’t ask question. It’s a trend where when a teacher ask ‘faham tak?’ they will chorus ‘FAHAM’. Did they really ‘faham’? We are in a system where we are not encourage to ask questions. Not only education, but in politics too. We can’t question the policies. It’s the same in schools. We are training them to just listen so that when they grow up, they won’t question their bosses or the leaders.

We are lacking in identifying the student’s talent. It’s all about books, subjects and grades. There are slow learners who are not keen in studies, but they might be excellent in dramas, dance, and arts or singing. Do we have schools which cater these talented students? Not in the ordinary schools as it is about Bahasa Melayu, Bahasa Inggeris, Maths, Science, Sejarah, Geography and so on. So what happen to these students? They will be side lined in the mainstream education. They will be seen as lazy, stupid, incapable students. But in reality every human has their own capability but we in Malaysia fail to see these talented children.

Let’s look at the classroom. Minimum 35 students will be in a class and this number can increase till 50 students. How a teacher could cater 50 students’ different needs ? Moreover, teachers in Malaysia have no assistance. When are we going to help the teachers and students? Are we doing enough justice to the crammed classroom of students ? If there is an assistance, would it be effective in teaching as 2 teachers could focus smaller group of pupils in a classroom?

After 61 years of independence, we are still stuck with the traditional classroom. If a teacher is teaching about Fishing, and there is a Higher Order Thinking Skill (HOTS) involved, the students who only read about Fishing in the book, can they answer the HOTS question? But does the ministry really care? There is no field work in the education system. We only teach, but where is the hands-on? Teaching about fishing, but the students don’t know how to fish or they have no experience of fishing.

Education as Business

We are no more taking ‘Yuran’ but parents are burdened by the PIBG fees, uniform, books, stationary etc every December as their preparation for school in January. Imagine a B40 parent has to prepare for their 3 kids. It will be their one month salary to prepare for the school. Education ministry should look into these expenditures done by parents to ease their burden. Education is not a business. We are seeing so many tuition centres charging rocket high and making money. The Government should Tax them and fund the tax to the students. Education should be free till tertiary funded by Government.

Private schools are just spring up as mushroom, one day they will be a great challenge to the government to control these schools. They are also making money from education. If the government could provide decent education to all the people of Malaysia, why do we need private schools? Government should control private schools in order to keep education as national agenda.

End Note

I hope the ‘Change’ that the Rakyat hope will be also implemented in Education System. We seriously need to reform education in Malaysia and move forward as an educated nation.

From,

Chegu Nithiya

0166606410

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~ by OPajar on 2018/05/16.

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