Tuesday, February 7, 2012

And We Call It Prihatin

The rights to an education.. everyone should be given his right to an education. Education is supposed to be the the ticket to a better life... I could go on and on about the virtues of education. But these days, I think a big part of our education is a sham. Education is big time business now. Just look at the number of medical schools in Malaysia and you'll see what I mean. For a country of 28 million, we have more than 30 medical schools! Word has it that there will be a surplus of docs in another 2-3 years, one reason why the authorities need to push for the 1Care. The papers in the last few days have highlighted the excess nurses that we seem to be facing. And an article somewhere indicated one of the reasons why there are so many nurses is  training nurses is a lucrative business. Profit margin is very good.  It's still the Ringgit and Sen that dictate. Never mind that we'll get a surplus.... 

It's February now. It's a also a month where we get lots of problem-stragglers back into our classes. They are problem stragglers cos they are usually students who have been expelled due to absenteeism. We call them the Kes Ponteng. And now they are slowly straggling back, because they don't know what to do and the Education Department doesn't know what to else do with them too. The law enshrines their right to an education till the age of 17. So that's what they'll 'get'... stay in school till then and perhaps hope for a miracle in their results. And then perhaps after that miracle, continue their education at the numerous skill centres which will not only give them a place but also an allowance! Such is the generosity of our system now... training lots of 'skilled' (on paper) workers but somehow still not able to tweak them into industry standard. And guess what, when they are rejected because they lack attitude and skills, they turn around and expect that the society picks up their tabs......

In some rare cases, you see great genuine remorse. But most of the time, (even in the few genuine cases) the tasks ahead are simply too much for them to handle and they slide back into their old self after a while. What do you expect of brains which have been laid to rust for a year or more? They aren't going to start being able to comprehend or cope. And I have not even started talking about ability to sit still or just stay awake in class. These kids have great propensity to sleep in class... In fact, they spend a lot of time sleeping. I guess for some, if grades are awarded for sleeping, they'd score A with very little effort. And I was told that where I work ranks somewhere in the middle of the national list of ranking. As much as we make excuses for our universities not making into the world ranking, we rank our schools too. LOL! Am trying imagine the situation in the lower half of the ranking. 

I don't see much good for these kids to remain in school. They will spend the rest of their formative year(s), getting lazier and bolder in antagonizing the school. This is where they learn that being lazy pays, and that the system will pick up the tab, the society owes them a living, etc, etc... Lots of negative behaviour are caught here. They are going to enter the society feeling laziness or the lack if discipline as biasa. There are always second chances... Squander one and the next one will be made available.

This is also the month where we see some students go off... in recent years, less of such students are getting places in technical/vocational schools. Technically there is no vocational schools now as our PM during his tenure as the Education Minister did not see it fit to keep them. So they got converted to technical schools. It used to be 20-30 students will get selected for vocational schools. These days, most can't qualify for technical schools cos their grades are really bad. But I guess one can argue that normal day schools offer one vocational subject now.... Catering, Landscaping, Domestic Wiring and others. But frankly speaking, I would have my doubts about asking these students to cater for a function or do my wiring.

We keep taking the problem students back... We try to be prihatin. But in trying to be kind like this, I think we are doing a great disservice to them too. We imply to them that they need not be accountable. We complain that our social problems among the youths are on the rise. I wonder too whether people really take a good look and ask themselves whether what's being practiced at schools contributes too. The culture of kesian couple with this prihatin thing... if you are smart enough, you'll learn how to manipulate and twist them so that you get what you want. That, I think, for the teenage mind is something which comes very naturally. 

On another note, a student of mine has just gone off to MRSM.... residential schools for Bumiputeras. This student has what many will think as good results; a couple of A(s) and B(s). The thing is I have been teaching him for a month and found him to be wanting. I noticed him because his exercise books annoyed me to no end. I couldn't read a lot of what he was writing. He can't write legibly. He's always one of the students who would end up with 'extra attention'. Apparently, he can't even draw straight lines properly. To me, he seemed to be in a perpetual blur.... and he is deemed MRSM material, supposedly an institution of the higher echelon within our schooling system. Gosh! I didn't know that such is the bench mark of MRSMs. 

Anyway, to be prihatin.. sometimes I wonder whether too much kindness also kills. This coming from a year when the 4 out of the 5 language classes that I am given are classes known to be difficult to handle. It's tiring and is mentally draining. I highlighted that fact in a meeting to discuss class allocation last year and was told that it's because I seem capable of maintaining class discipline. But at that time, in order to appease the situation, an amendment (on paper) was made to make it more manageable. I should have known better. Words from forked tongues are purely for one purpose... lip service. Never mind the blatant abuse of positIon for personal gains that was verbalized. And these are the same mouths who preach a holier than thou attittude very often. 

So, this year, I am stuck with 4 classes stocked with not just incorrigible students pumped to the brim with raging hormones, but also those with learning problems, suspected Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, behavioral problems..... Perhaps I should take a cue from this living example that I have to see everyday, that maybe, just maybe I should also start screaming, yelling like a mad woman... Monkey see, monkey do!  LOL! 


Thomas C B Chua said...

AJ7, my better half used to lament like you until she was sent to SMK keat Hwa and she enjoyed the remaining 15 years of her teaching life. Teachers like you should be given a taste of SMK Asma or schools of the equivalent. More often than not our schools are stuffed with the odds and ends which we can only cook "chai booi." I used to get the Chinese race of your speciments for my height and size to control them. "Control" mind you, not teach !

AJ7 said...

I am more like a kindergarten teacher in one class, and baby sitter in another 3.

Thomas C B Chua said...

AJ7 ...... the choicest crop of students of as particular race in this country has already been harvested to "Sekolah Kawalan" and "Sekolah asrama penuh." What you have are overgrown babies, retards and a small sprinkling of normal ones who somehow were not sieved out.
So, bite the bullet and go on baby sitting and child minding. Feed them with soft food and if you ever have to feed solid food, blend it into puny pieces and add a lot of sugar.

Don't ever try to feed them steak and chops, you have trouble preparing them and if they choke and spit them out, you will be frustrated.

Just equip yourself with more milk, sweet, chocolates, ice cream, soothers, rattlers, and "pampers."

Like that you will survive until .....er... er the pensionable age you have opted for..... 60....???