Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Malaysia's Education System Creates Robots

I had a discussion with with Edmund and Simon yesterday in regards with the current education system in Malaysia. The idea was sprung up from a description of his friend Elvin, who does not know how to write a single, simple e-mail even though he is quite good in academics including writing thesis, reports and etc.. Elvin scored A in a the English 1119 subject but yet could not construct an e-mail simply baffles me.

The Malaysia's STPM is simply not accepted by foreign universities because its standard is not as equivalent to the international A-level. That means that all your efforts you put in the less-than-two years studies for your Form six will be put to a waste.

My dad is an opponent of sending children like ourselves to Chinese schools. He had a logical reasoning: the Chinese schools, although it produces more intellectuals than national-level schools has methodologies that resulted in children taking too much stress than the actual levels a normal child can take. As a result, putting a child into non-national schools will kill a child mentally. A child must be balanced in having proper intellectual intelligence and emotional intelligence. The problem right now is that there is an imbalance where intellectual intention outweighs the emotional thought that a person should have.

The Malaysian education system is a direct inheritance of the British system. The problem is that the Englishmen are arrogant and proud to say that their system is the best. However, the unwillingness of teaching the different kind and the incompatibility of the system makes it a failure in Malaysia. Even a Standard 1 or 2 student has to take tuition classes just to get high scores in their exams.

In my 12 years in school, I have came to realize that students are merely taught to spot the question and answer them. It's like pattern recognition. All these exam-oriented things you learn are no longer applied in the working world. As the result, people are behaving like robots instead of humans. What good is exams for now? Just to get high marks and recognition? That's the only thing right now.

The examinations are just right and wrong answers. You are made to read by the book, they expect you to read the text book to spot what are the potential questions they might ask you. But in America, they don't do that. They would ask open-ended questions that would make you think. For that situation, there is no right and wrong. But it makes things difficult for the examiners because each answer is unique and requires thinking. But then, that's how Americans and Jews could do well in every field because of the way of education.

R2-D2 and C-3P0 are classic examples of emphasizing the important balance of emotional and intellectual intelligence. Even though they are robots, we should learn by the way both of them communicating. It has been more than 75 years since they started to meet each other and despite some hiccups, they remained good buddies for life, as they witnessed passing down of ownership from the older generation to the newer generation. And what about stormtroopers? They are just taught to behave like machines, gears of the Galactic Empire, stripped of their emotions and conscience. That is the living proof of the British-inherited Malaysian education system!

The education system here is unrealistic despite having the blueprint. Currently, there are still many school dropouts and people are having frustration to study at foreign universities despite doing well in STPM examinations. So who's to blame? Only one party: the Education ministry. The current curriculum needs to be revamped from start to finish, not to modify parts and parts. Should we say that it's Kerisman's fault for this whole problem here?

He's just isn't doing much to get young Malaysians to prepare for the working world. Even sports athletes had to sit out just to study hard for their SPM / STPM exams. Give me a break! All the time, he just waved the Malay dagger in the assembly but not helping others. Hey..we picked you, we expect you to make people well educated in all aspects as the Education Minister..and now nothing? Do you expect everyone to move at graceful precision like one step up...stop at point A, turn 90 degrees..etc?

1 comment:

  1. Interestingly, you included the picture in your blog featuring a Stormtrooper. After you left yesterday, Simon and I discussed how the values instilled in us by society and schools really do turn so many people into Stormtroopers (who continue to work hard to turn their own kids into Stormtroopers as well).

    Believe me, it's not Kerisman's fault! If anything, it's really our OWN fault. Our values are too utilitarian and hence our education system is built on this type of value. Exams are important because the results will affect your chances to get into University, get a job, etc.

    The belief that education = good career = money is immoral. It demeans education and categorizes learning into what will or will not contribute towards a successful career. More often than not, it is the "useless" (no direct money-making potential) learning that is most precious. Poetry, for example. Music. History. Philosophy. Theology. Social studies. Alternative history and mythology. Think about it and you'll see that these are the things that no parent/teacher will encourage us to pursue. Any wonder why MPH constantly invite "visiting authors" to promote their books in the stores and when you actually go, the authors are all marketing gurus, success motivators and feng-shui charlatans?


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