Sunday, October 30, 2011

What Went Wrong...?

It's heating up, folks.. , the PPSMI (Teaching and Learning Science and Maths in English), the Education System, the self-centered politicians, politics in education.... Waah... boiling point now !!
1.  Malaysia once had the best education system the rest of the world envied. But that was, I say WAS, years ago... Other countries emulate the Malaysian Education system, especially the third world countries. Thailand followed our system.
2.  When the 4th Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, stepped down - everything turned upside down.. What was supposed to be carried on, in education especially, was stopped abruptly. It looked like what Tun Dr. Mahathir did was WRONG !! The fact was, it was Tun Dr. Mahathir's ideas, in education especially, that the rest of the world look upon... Everybody else says YES, and some stupid Malaysians say NO !! Can you see the hidden agenda behind it?
3.  While the majority of the Malaysian citizens support the PPSMI, the Education Minister don't.... Why? Politics? Or, is it because of his background - not being a science/maths graduate? Just give it a thought - sometimes, it makes sense....
4.  The person in power of the education portfolio in the government, usually have the final say on what policy the government decides. True, unless the Prime Minister, overrules it... But, then again, he must think twice, to be BOLD enough, before he decides to. This type of Prime Minister MUST have VISION and must have the GUTS to do so. To date, I only see Tun Dr. Mahathir with such quality..
5.  Malaysia is going backwards these days... The present Prime Minister MUST have the guts to make VISIONARY decisions. Set aside those "slow minded" ministers. They aren't doing any good to the people of Malaysia, anyway... In fact, they are merely showing their stupidity to the world.... You don't go to Singapore (all in the English medium, and practice the PPSMI) to "follow" their education system, and yet abolish the PPSMI here in Malaysia. It doesn't make sense..

Let's see what others say TODAY:

Where we have gone wrong in education

DEPUTY Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has indicated a desire to learn from Singapore’s vocational and technical education.
May I point out that success in any field at higher levels does not happen in isolation?
A lot of work has to be done at the foundation so as to pave the way for such achievements to occur.
Trying to emulate whatever is happening at the top level without first scrutinising and doing the same at the foundation is bound to lead to failure.
As far as the Singapore model is concerned, it does not take much to see what they have been doing at the foundation.
At a very simplistic level and one that is obvious to all but those who refuse to see:
> HAVE only one national education system that caters to all;
> MEDIUM of instruction – English; and
> PAY the teachers well to attract the best to enter the profession.
Do we not realise that what Malaysia has done and is doing is directly the opposite to the above?
This is our situation:
> OUR education system is split: There exists national schools which are primarily Malay medium, national-type Chinese and Tamil schools, and private ones which cater to parents who want their children to have the advantage of learning in English.
> MULTIPLE mediums of instruction in school which multiply the difficulties for our children when they enter institutions of higher learning because of the lack of fluency in English, which is the medium used in most universities abroad.
And now with the imminent reversal of PPSMI, the problem of poor fluency in English in subjects for which a command of the language is of utmost importance in order to ensure progress will resurface.
> LOW and unattractive salary scale for the teaching profession.
The notion of trying to overcome problems by tackling the issue(s) at the wrong level is evident in the way the Government is trying to instill racial integration through programmes like National Service.
Does it make sense to tell the youth at age 17 or 18 to learn to live together with other races in harmony when they’ve lived out their entire formative years in racial isolation in schools which have segregated a majority of them by race?
Save the money currently being poured into National Service and use it to reboot the failing school system.
Put our children together in schools where, from a young age, they can interact with all races and a natural outcome of this will be racial integration.
Listen to the voices of Malaysians united across the racial divide, encompassing all ages, over the request to continue PPSMI for the benefit of our future generations.
Then maybe young Malaysians in future will instead have the upper hand and be able to teach the Singaporeans a thing or two about education instead of being condemned to lag behind them forever.
As a matter of interest, can the public be informed as to which schools the children/grandchildren of the politicians, who are against the PPSMI, are in?
If the PPSMI is not retained, can it be made mandatory for them to be enrolled in the national school so as to be able to get the “best” education possible for them?                     
Kuala Lumpur.

English language policy still salvageable

THE Parent Action Group for Education Malaysia (PAGE) is on its last leg in appealing for the visionary policy of the Teaching and Learning of Science and Mathematics in English (PPSMI) to be given as an option in national primary and secondary schools where parents wish it.
The Education Act 1996 stipulates that “pupils are to be educated according to the wishes of their parents”, not teachers, not principals, not PTAs and, most definitely, not politicians or deluded national language linguists.
Prior to the Sarawak polls, the Prime Minister said: “Let us consider the option” and this was immediately backed by the Deputy Prime Minister/Education Minister, although rather awkwardly for the Government, it was not echoed by the Deputy Education Minister II.
However, six months have passed and the Education Ministry continues to drag its feet, knowing full well that time is running out for us, parents, taxpayers, voters, we who pay their salaries.
When PPSMI was conceived in 2002, its objective was to address the poor employability of graduates, in particular the Malays.
It was vital for young Malaysians to acquire scientific knowledge, and be renowned in the field, before we could even envision Bahasa Malaysia as an international language, let alone a language of scientific knowledge.
Fortunately, the language of knowledge is English, which we have been exposed to for half a century, unlike many other countries that continue to struggle.
The then Cabinet endorsed the decision for students to be taught these two constantly evolving subjects in its lingua franca. Many of the same Cabinet ministers who agreed with PPSMI then continue to sit on the same Cabinet that abolished it.
The Academy of Sciences Malaysia was sought by the Government for their professional advice. While sourcing for scientific material in Indonesia, the largest Malay-speaking country in the world, the scientists there suggested that we should just stick to the English references, as they did not have any to show themselves.
The academy still stands by its opinion that PPSMI should continue. The president, in a column in May, wrote: “Much of the scientific references are in English. A recent announcement to review the policy is welcome.”
The then Education Minister, the only technocrat ever to lead the Education Ministry and who holds seven honorary doctorates in science to date, was adamant that the policy would succeed.
He set in place an implementation committee, which he headed as chairman, encapsulating a strict regime of controls and intervention programmes, which, if conformed to, could have made a tremendous success of the policy. The PPSMI unit in the ministry was the place to be and the envy of many.
Knowing full well the challenges, such as teacher competency and proficiency, coupled with poor computer literacy, ICT was introduced on a large scale and relied upon to bridge the shortfall between resources available and needed.
The latest in hardware and carefully designed software which were pedagogically correct were acquired, and numerous short courses in English were embarked upon.
On top of that, a cash allowance was offered to the science and mathematics teachers to use the money to further improve their English proficiency.
Sadly, in 2004, the technocrat minister completed his term, and PPSMI was abandoned without the leadership it so badly needed.
Come late 2007, rumblings were heard. These were not from the rural folk but from self-acclaimed clerics, linguists and politicians.
In 2008, the not-so-new Education Minister sought views from stakeholders on the policy. In 2009, the policy was abolished by the Deputy Prime Minister/Education Minister, three months into his portfolio and well before a government and an education blueprint was put in place.
Now the Government is talking of an education transformation. The transformation was already taking place before their very eyes, initiated by the Government itself, before it was prematurely decapitated – a case of self-infliction.
Yet the students continue to perform in Science, Mathematics and English without relegating Bahasa Malaysia. The rural students even outperform their urban friends in science, as has been pointed out by the director-general.
As we understand it, a government policy is to be carried out by the minister and his/her respective ministry.
As far as the Education Ministry is concerned, the teachers should have been prepared and required to ensure the policy succeeds, as is stated in their code of ethics.
Instead, the ministry faulted its teachers for being incompetent when the ministry itself had failed to ensure the controls which were already in place were strictly adhered to.
Naturally, by the time studies were conducted to review the success of the policy, it had reached a stage of declination.
PAGE believes PPSMI is still salvageable. And we are not alone. Jaringan Melayu Malaysia (JMM), which represents rural parents, also feels the same. JMM has an incredible online Malay base that is not to be underestimated.
The Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS), Malaysia’s second leading think tank, has fallen in line too with its founder president, giving the much needed royal endorsement.
Together, we believe that the option must be given to parents to represent their children, and no one else.
Parents in Penang and Malacca are very restless. Parents in Selangor are gathering themselves together again. So are those in Kuala Lumpur. Do not underestimate the parents in Perak and Johor either.
We urge all education stakeholders to e-mail us your support as we want to collaborate with groups of influence to show to the Government that we are not all urban and neither are we isolated.
Let us put the past behind us and begin afresh. Let us instead start small, with the schools that parents want PPSMI to be retained, but allow the option to other schools to be able to do the same in the future.
Double the cash allowance for the Science and Mathematics teachers who enjoy and want to continue teaching these subjects in English.
Visit www.pagemalaysia.org to vote for the “Yes to PPSMI Option” and send the link to everyone you know, students included. Also look out for the Facebook poll “1M Malaysians Say Yes to PPSMI as an Option”, add your friends to the group, and get your friends to do the same. Make it viral.
Let us turn this into a success story for our children, for Malaysia and for many under-developed and developing countries to emulate.
> PAGE is a national education watchdog. Kudos to our past Education Ministers for enlightening us on the benefits of a good education which we have enjoyed and now want for our children.
....The Star, 30 Oct 2011

Have a nice day....

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