Monday, May 11, 2009

reflections while at the ministry of education

These reflections may mean nothing to a lot of people, especially the younger generation.But I am going to write it any way for HUZAIFAH my grandson now three and a half years old. Time is the essence. I hope he will learn something as he grows up to be a man inheriting something 'valuable from me'. I was in the ministry from 1975 -1986 and from 1993 - 2003.

If there is one thing lacking that I can name in the ministry of education which I spent 20 years out of my 30 odd years in the civil service is SINCERITY in the hearts and mind of people that matters. This is my perception and judgement alone and I could be wrong. This is my sincere observation but of course it can be challenged.

I said this because I often made a request that a research study must be done on why in spite of the many straight 'A' students graduating secondary schools, we are not able to reason why aren't we not able to state (every now and then) the number of students that graduate with first class honours at the University level.Where have all the great brains gone. As I always tasked my daughter who had eight straight 'A' at form 5 but only manage second class lower honours at the degree level, what went wrong. I expected at least an upper class honours. In my own case, I never saw an 'A' in my examanation results, never, but also graduate with a second class lower honours. She did law and I did economics. The question is are now over-rating our students? I think this is a fair question to be answered by the power that be.

In another observation I often wonder why are always loosing sight of the' big picture' in solving the problems of the day. By this I mean that we are often over concerned with the quality of examanation results but little concern with results of non tangible subjects, like morality and civic mindedness which in the final analysis we would like to see Malaysian citizens to be academically smart but also moral and civil. Are we not concern with the issue of morality in nation building? Or is this not the responsibility of the ministry of education?

I will now put the other reflections in point form to shorten my writing.
  • During those years , believing in God is not included as an item of morality in the subject of moral education.
  • "Latih Tubi" for students taking Final Exams is I think making students in the end to be less creative and very narrow minded on a lot of things when they go into the world of work.
  • The ministry tried to please political factions all the time that in the end some 'Educational values and priority" takes second place.
  • The ministry often trusted the results of International Studies to be Gospel truth and that there is a lack of caution in making conclusions for Malaysia.
  • The policy of promoting the Arabic language was never very clear and the teaching of the Arabic alphabet was also back and forth. It was once taught under Bahasa Malaysia and some years later its taught under Islamic Religious language. We choose to call ourselves an Islamic country. Therefore anything related to it must be consistantly considered.
  • There were some views, though not strongly advocated, that the Malays should also be given the opportunity to learn Mandrin. I think its ashamed that Malays in Malaysia whose population is almost half Chinese, do not know Mandrin.
  • This list would be expanded at a later date, insyaAllah.

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