Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Just Before Another National Education Blueprint

Another new education blueprint. The last one was the PIPP, I think. Now it's time for another one. The UN's education Index ranks Malaysia at 98 out of almost 200 countries. Take a look at the list and it's obvious that whatever that we've been told about how successful our education is, we're in the lower 50% of the list.

These days education is about the the A(s), though I feel we're trading a lot for that. For those who can cope, they'll continue to cope. But for those who struggle with the academics, it's trickier. With so much emphasis on academic achievements, co-curricular activities have been put on the back burner. Sports are no longer avenues for those who are athletically inclined cos most schools can't wait to get their sports over and done with. Games run on a token basis. But everything looks good on paper.

Kids either perform academically to get noticed or none at all. Athletes are no longer looked upon as in the old days. One can't strut around because he is superior on the field. Those statistics don't count. It's the ones scored in exams that do.

Learning these days is mainly learning how to answer to score. We don't really bother whether students actually learn something. It's the statistics that we're chasing. Other Half went to see our gal's Headmaster recently regarding the one angle open ended essay. He was told that no doubt her essay was 'right' but within the UPSR mark scheme, it is wrong cos there can be only one perspective. And they want to make sure the kids all answer according to that prescribed perspective. Sad, cos our young minds are being regimented in a very dumb way. In Science, they are super particular about the terms used too, the way a question is answered....

Chasing for the material - the A(s) don't come free though. Boys suffer the most I feel. Sitting in the class listening to teachers ramble on and on, and as soon as they're done with the topic, dish out questions after questions as a drilling exercise. We cram in as much exercise as we can, hoping that the rote learning will help them retain facts. The thing is, we forgot that not all kids can be pushed that way. So, we get lots of misbehaviour. It's not uncommon to see kids shouting on top of their voices as they walk the school corridor these days. Rules be damned. It's as though they have to let it out, show to everyone that there is this something in them which they need to show to everyone else. Culture has been sacrificed.

So Sept 11 is supposed to the day when another national blueprint is announced. Response from some groups that I've joined in conversation seems to indicate that the government hasn't been paying much attention to their suggestions even though there are active groups campaigning for issues like preschool education, English medium schools, PPSMI, etc, etc.

Whatever it is, I hope the new National Education Blueprint offers some hope. We desperately need that. Our education system has gone into the doldrums.... and increasingly there many who seek alternative education. Alternative seems to be an in thing these days.... but then again, perhaps we should embrace it. The tested has not been able to lift us higher. Perhaps the alternative would....

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