Thursday, May 05, 2005


Education in Malaysia is an on-going effort towards further developing the potential of individuals in a holistic and integrated manner, to produce individuals who are intellectually, spiritually, emotionally, and physically balanced and harmonious, based on a firm belief in and devotion to God. Such an effort is designed to produce Malaysian citizens who are knowledgeable and competent, who possess high moral standards, and who are responsible and capable of achieving high levels of personal well-being as well as being able to contribute to the harmony and betterment of the family, the society and the nation at large. - Education in Malaysia

Unfortunately, we no longer produce these students. Our focus now is entirely different; we want to mass produce straight A's scoring students instead of creating a balanced individual. We all now, compete to be the best, to outperform our peers. We want rewards, or more accurately, we want to be rewarded. Our favourite chant in recent times must definitely be, I don't give a shit. We have become selfish, nothing's more important to us than us, and our personal achievements. And we are not creative anymore, we are rather narrow-minded though we may appear to be more liberal in our thinking. Most importantly, we failed to look at the bigger picture. Consequently, societies crumble. And families become disintegrated.

A competitive attitude will almost certainly create an analytical student, no doubt, but are they what we are looking for here? Do we want an analytical or a creative person? Do we want a critic or a problem solver? In my humble opinion, I feel a balanced mind is needed to be creative, to be able to judge and launch an efficient society.

Academic freedom allows our mental faculties to grow. Bureaucracy, grading system, grades - should never be allowed to hamper our thought process. Through education an educator seeks to transfer his/her knowledge to a student. A true educator doesn't advocate on grades. Yes, you may ask: without exams, how can a student be evaluated? My point is, we have become so obsessed with the whole exam system and format, we often forget what education is all about: regardless of primary, secondary or tertiary education. Learning is a life-long continous process. It doesn't end after we graduate or obtain our PhD.

Our industries are not helping either. They only want top-scorers, failing to look at other qualities of a graduate student. Very superficial thinking I must say! And this forces the students to question the education system,: has it failed to mould me to suit the industry? Why then did I waste a good 15 years to study, to gain this so called knowledge? Why was he chosen not me? What prompted the employer to select him? Simple, he has 17A's and I have none.

Adapting to a situation, giving and contributing to the society, solving problems, innovating, creating; not critizing the system/institution, not being self-centred, not being non-ethical - that's education. Not grades.


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