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Revamp the education system

26 Feb 2020 / 19:00 H.

PUTTING away my homework for money management, the thought occurred to me about all the things I learnt in school which is far from useful to me now as an adult.

I know, school is meant to prepare you for your future profession or vocation, but there is a slew of things that I feel should be either optional or totally done away with. I mean, how much do we learn in school which is of practical use to us now?

I know that I laughed to myself when a few years after I left school, they got rid of “Siviks” or “Tatarakyat” and included “Moral” in national school syllabus. Three and a half decades later, I don’t really see a better, more moral and upright Malaysian society. If anything, cynical me would say that we have regressed in this regard.

I mean, morals are something parents are supposed to be teaching their children. What’s the point of learning in textbook how not to litter when one’s parents are throwing rubbish out their car and apartment windows?

If one were to introduce morals as a subject, I feel it has to be a practical subject. Every year, get the young children to do something good. Help out in a chosen community project, something like that.

Siviks was a far better subject. Not only did it teach civic-mindedness (morals in the context of being a citizen), it helped us understand that we are a nation, no matter what our ethnic background may be. And it also teaches about the institutions that are the foundation of our nation, such as Parliament, the courts etc.

Let’s start with the first point: I saw a post recently on Facebook stating that it was so sad that a certain ethnicity in Malaysia are the only people who cannot speak their mother tongue. My response was that it is even sadder that there are many Malaysians who cannot speak their national language. Wherever I go, even if their forefathers are migrants, the generation that is living can speak their own national language.

For example, I have many friends who find it weird to see black people speaking German fluently. Well, that’s because they are German! Likewise, when I went into a Chinese grocery store, a pretty Chinese girl behind the counter spoke to me in fluent French. When I looked like I didn’t understand, she didn’t switch to any other language, including any Chinese dialect. This is very unlike my experience here in Malaysia.

On the second point: If we learnt at a young age about the foundations of our nation, we perhaps wouldn’t have politicians making statements that some of us know are unconstitutional and cannot be right. And if we knew that, we wouldn’t get all emotional and forward conspiracy theories through WhatsApp.

So, I do feel Siviks was aiming to help us understand that we are a nation, we are a people, and we should be united as such. The more we start creating little divisions, the harder it is for us to get along. And that would be one of the impediments to our development. Yes, we as citizens can hinder our growth.

Education is such a tricky portfolio to handle. It also includes higher education, which is another ball game altogether. And parents are constantly up in arms about how much work their children have to do, and yet still pressure their children to do well.

Added to this, I personally feel two-thirds of what is learnt in school is never really used in adulthood. And finally, even what is learnt is not really applied well in working life because if it were otherwise, we would have happy employers.

I’m not too sure what can be done, but bickering about education among factions isn’t really going to be the solution. The only thing that would make a viable future is to totally revamp the education system, something which should have been done at least around the year 2000.

Daniel is passionate about fitness, yoga and writing. Comments: letters@thesundaily.com

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