Wednesday, July 18, 2012


This is the acronym for Memartabatkan Bahasa Malaysia (or is it back to Melayu again... they keep changing the term) Memartabatkan Bahasa Inggeris. This is supposed to replace PPSMI, teaching of Maths and Science in English. Plus we now have PBS or school based assessment for the Primary and Form One students. Exams are going out of the window. No more PMR in Form 3 soon. The only exam for secondary school will be SPM.

So going by the changes that our education system has been undergoing, and can be seen undergoing, one might be forgiven in thinking that our education system is truly keeping up with the changes in the world. But most will agree that our standards have jatuh a lot. Some even label it chronic although the Minister of Education says otherwise.

We are trying to keep abreast. Facilities have gotten better. When PPSMI was started, billions were spent on curriculum content development and equipment. Free laptops, projectors, rewiring of classrooms, etc, etc. But much of the money spent never saw a day of use. Power regulators sat in classrooms gathering dust and casings for projectors became bird homes. But the underlying reason was PPSMI had no chance basically because many teachers were incompetent in English, due to the dumbing down of English over the years..... in the name of nationalism. Actually whole generations are now cacat in English.

Then PBS AND MBMBI... Glam sounding acronyms. I feel PBS actually is a good move cos it takes the pressure of exams away. Learning can be fun again.... that is if teachers are truly motivated and change with times. But that is so not happening. A relative was just telling me her son's teachers seems to be taking lots of leave. Kids come back and tell their parents all kinds of tales about their teachers, most of them dealing with issues like not teaching, boring, lazy, etc, etc.... I think not all teachers are like that but from the stories that I gather from parents, the latter group seems to be in the minority these days.

And why not... recently, in my school we had to reshuffle the students for English lessons. Students were divided into sets, according to their mastery of English. The thing is I realize that students are sometimes sacrificed due to incompetent management. It just amazes me how quick certain people are at coming up with excuses why these 'sacrifices' are needed. Sacrifices which are required because of their own lack of imagination and perhaps incompetence. I wonder if it's okay for their kids to be in victimised as such. Kids get eaten up by their environments. That's on one end of the spectrum. On the other end, when the same people find that legalities suit them, they play by it, even demand it. I label this hypocrisy or cakap tak serupa bikin. That's why we must play by the rules more than go by consensus, musyawarah, if you want the arabized version. Cos musyawarah becomes a liability when the group is made up of birds of the same feather. Take a hint from the ongoing 'water crisis' in Selangor.

And oh yes... One more thing. If you ever wonder why kids are so lazy to think these days... I think this is why. Rearranging students into different sets mean teachers are privy to each other's work. And guess what? Sometimes you might find students' books not marked. But when they are, their answers are mostly correct. If you bother to check further, you might discover that teachers discuss most of the questions with them. So if I'm a marginal entity, why think when the answers will be given eventually? Everyone wants it easy. And some students tell me their teacher does not require them to do their corrections too.... of course they could be lying to get out of a sticky situation. Go figure out what kinds of values our kids are getting from their role models at school.... Monkey see.... Monkey do. We're getting lots of em....

One more thing. Easy come, easy go. Critical thinking, reading and writing... they are not skills which will just drop onto your lap. They require much hard work. MBMMBI, there're lots of lessons there, not just for the students but for the parents too..

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