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Thursday, July 08, 2004


Marina's Discovery

Reading Marina Mahathir's latest musing in the Star entitled :: Value of Open Minds, makes me wonder when it was that she first realised that "our education system is almost completely about getting through exams and little else". It can't be just recently.

Definitely it can't be as recent as when she was invited by a public-listed company to sit on an independent panel to select students who would receive the company’s scholarships. At the selection, the candidates were almost all having only As in their SPM and extremely high CGPA in their STPM or matriculation results. Some had CGPAs of four, the pur-fect score. The selection panelists, apart from academic qualifications, were also looking for candidates with maturity, initiatives, leadership qualities and people who would one day be assets to society. At that selection, the panelists were disappointed with what they were looking for, she said; but at the end of the day, maybe out of a misplaced sense of responsibility, they managed still to choose the 6 candidates out of the disappointing 12. You can read her article in toto later on.

At the end of the day, Marina realised these things about the education that our children are receiving ::
  1. It is completely exam oriented and the children are only taught to regurgitate things 'taught'
  2. There is little self analysis of things 'taught'
  3. There is no thinking outside the box, this is not encouraged; thinking more than what has been 'taught' may be even be dangerous, just in case they think of things which should not be thought of
  4. The students possess little knowledge of the world outside their schools
  5. Original opinions and thoughts are not encouraged.
    These are things many of us know about our education system and that is why, many have subjected their children to extra teaching at home or in tuition classes or for some, overseas, to get liberated and to think outside the box.

    At the end of the day, Marina has hopes that everything else catches up by the time our children leave university. Just pure wishful thinking on her part. The present winds prevailing in the universities are no better than those in our primary and secondary schools. With the AUKU and the Aku Janji nonsense, [see Lim KS Aku Janji, here] there is little hope for the majority of our students to be truly educated and to utilise all their potentials to be society assets. Will the creation of a Higher Education MINIstry be of help, only time will tell but for many it will be too late. For all these defiencies of our education system, we have our various past education ministers, the government (there being only one) and ourselves to blame.



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