Posted tagged ‘education policy’


January 13, 2012

The decision to teach mathematics and science in Bahasa Malaysia (MBMMBI) continues to haunt parents and the government despite assurances by the minister of education that all parties were consulted before the decision was made. Those who supported the teaching of mathematics and science in English (PPSMI) are still not convinced that the ministry carried out a fair survey to find students and parents’ preferences of the language. There is a general feeling among parents that the ministry carried out a sort of guided survey to achieve a certain results.

The ministry of education has carried out a random survey for those enrolled in form one this year on the usage of medium of instruction for mathematics and science. The Students supporting MBMMBI is 34%, supporting PPSMI is 11% and support for both languages is 55%. With this result the ministry feels that the decision to switch to MBMMBI is the wish of the majority. Therefore the others just follow and stop questioning the majority. But the rambling and discontent continues since the majority 66% did not support MBMMBI exclusively. Today the majority of elite and middle class families are Malays whose discontent, the government will find difficult to brush aside. So, what is the way forward?

Education ministers are potential and future prime ministers. The ministry is highly politicized with hardliners and extremist dictating the term and conditions of education policies. This has lead to flip flopping on its policies for the past 30 years with no proper system in sight. Many educated and professional parents migrate to other countries because of low quality of our education system. Demand for Private schools is increasing. Thousands of students cross over to Singapore every day for schooling purpose. Tuition centres are mushrooming all over town and big business. Ministry education gets the highest budget allocation of RM29.3 billion in 2011 and RM32.6 billion in 2012. After all this expenditure, any hope?

Why are the policy makers very against the existence of English medium schools? Why not let the parents make the choice? If they can allow Chinese schools and Tamils schools to exist, why not allow English schools to co-exist with Malay schools too? Malaysia had one of the best English education systems in Asia. Frequent changes for race and religious purpose have brought irreparable damage to the education system.

Yesterday I read in the newspaper that one principal in Malacca ordered the school Buddhist society to dissolve all because it is Buddhist. Such is the level of intolerance and narrowness of our educators. Majority of our teachers cannot teach in English. You can imagine the calibre of teachers they must have recruited to teach and mould the young and tender minds. Do we have any hope? If we don’t change we are doomed.

Senator S. Ramakrishnan


Are Our Education Policies Ineffective In Coping With Discipline In Schools

May 31, 2010


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.

  1. 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. 
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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