Bring back the multi racial national schools of the yester years.

Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin unveiled the country’s new education blueprint aimed at revamping the education system into one that is supposed to produce global players. While the attempt to revamp is a welcomed one but the movers who are supposed to shift the current system and implement the new dynamic education system seem to be the same people whose actions and inactions deteriorated the current system. Will the hardliners both at the political and bureaucracy level allow the smooth liberalization and transformation of the new system? Will Perkasa and the like allow the decentralization of school authorities, depolarization in schools and liberalization in religious education in the current system?

All the previous attempts like the implementation of smart schools and the teaching of maths and science in English have been waste of billions of ringgit. Malaysia never lacked good laws, policies and plans but the implementation is where the flip flop, changing of goal post and the half hearted execution leading to the current quagmire in the education system.     

In 2006, a national education blueprint 2006-2010 was released by the then prime minister Tun Abdullah Badawi to bring about revolution in education.  The Blueprint goals was to establishing a National Pre-School Curriculum, setting up 100 new classes for students with special needs, increasing the percentage of single-session schools to 90% for primary schools and 70% for secondary schools, and decreasing class sizes in primary schools and in secondary schools by the year 2010. Are they achieved? Did the 2006 blueprint address the problem of racial polarization in schools as envisaged? Taking into consideration the religious fervor in the education system, can the system be ever reformed by the same staff who allowed the religiosity to take root?         

Now the 2012 national education blueprint was released by Datuk Najib Tun Razak to make 11 strategic and operational shifts to transform the country’s education system. Will it face the same predicament as the earlier ones? Unless the ministry of education makes a structural overhaul, recruiting multi racial talents with wide experience from different backgrounds, transformation may not be possible.  

One generation of good and effective headmasters were replaced with mediocre performers. The same mediocre headmasters and ministry officials are given the responsibility to bring about transformation in schools. The comments from teachers indicate that they don’t have confidence in their heads to give fair assessment. For transformation to take place all selection and decision making bodies in education ministry  be made multi racial and multi lingual in view of the fact that we have Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese, Tamil and agama schools. The imbibing of critical thinking and analytical discourse must start from teachers themselves.

Minister of education should set up a team to study the underlying reason as to why the non Malay students shun national schools and prefer vernacular schools?  Despite the highest spending on education, Malaysia doesn’t have much to show in terms of achievements and results.  Achievers must be rewarded and recruited into civil service regardless of race and religion to bring about genuine transformation

Explore posts in the same categories: From the desk of Senator S Ramakrishnan

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