Are Our Education Policies Ineffective In Coping With Discipline In Schools
The recent outcry of deteriorating disciplinary problems among students in Sri Gading secondary school in Rawang, is a tip of the iceberg. Disciplinary problems have grown into a serious menace to the future of this country because of the indifferent and don’t care attitude of education ministry officials and police department. They are embroiled into a culture of reporting only pleasant news and pleasing their bosses. Many schools are withholding or sweeping indiscipline problems under the carpet hoping it won’t grow into public outcry. The heads, teachers and police all know what’s happening but they give excuses for the problem like nobody reported, small problem, action being taken etc. The decline of education quality in our schools started long time ago due to various reasons outlined below.
- Sri Gading secondary school has about 3500 students. This figure is too large to instill good values and discipline. To manage such a huge co-educational school there must be high powered and strong minded headmaster with good track record and not a mediocre headmistress who dare not report bad news to education Ministry. Our schools are managed by mediocre caliber headmistresses with no track record.
- Many teachers today are not the dedicated and professional teachers of yesteryears. The ministry of education has gradually replaced dedicated teachers with teachers who will blindly follow instructions and be indifferent to discipline problems. Malaysians parents have given up on our educators and have turned to tuition teachers to educate their children. This is a failure of our education policies. Teachers don’t have the ability on their own and the support from ministry to handle problems. Everything needs approval from ministry.
- Education has been politicized by every subsequent education ministers since 1971. With the introduction of New Economic policy, education in Malaysia has lost critical thinking skills, independent and courageous debates and expressions and core competitive abilities. Today schools churn out compliant students to join the work force, if not drop out students. Local universities students find difficulties in getting jobs because they are unemployable.
- Schools and its administration are not able to cope with large classes of students of mixed abilities. Education system does not cater for students who need more guidance from teachers.
- The social economic backgrounds of students are far different compared to 20 years ago. Rapid urbanization without the parallel development in playing fields for sports and games, cramped low cost housing, mass illegal workers competing for living space and jobs have taken the toll on poorer Malaysians who find it difficult to provide for the family. Everything is politicized into race and religion by the government of the day.
- Malaysian police are oblivion of the crimes going on around them. Somebody must report to them and only then they will take action. But when complain is launched they will give all kinds of reasons and excuses why the vandalism and gangsters are thriving in Malaysia. They don’t have the political will and wish to keep criminals out of the streets. Corruption among police force is well known and tops the list.
Malaysians need a political system that is accountable and in touch with ground reality. A system that is representative of all stakeholders be it minority or majority. We need to do away with parochialism and bigotry. When will the people truly stand up for such a political system?
Senator Dr. S. Ramakrishnan