Saturday, November 5, 2011

PPSMI and the Malaysian education malaise

One of the part that worries me about the PPSMI saga is the claim by the Minister of Education that the matter of reversing the PPSMI policy has been given deep thought by all and sundry in the Cabinet.

What worries me is that the Malaysian education system is too fragmented to the point that it now mirrors Astro programming.

And, what do I mean by that?

It is disturbing to see that Malaysian children are being shafted into different directions in the name of seeking quality education, culture and/or just plain, affordability.

Parents who perceive that the quality of education in national schools (sekolah kebangsaan) have deteriorated precipitously have been sending their children to national-type Chinese schools or international schools.

Other parents who doubt the quality of national schools have been sending their children to private schools using the national syllabus.

Parents who believe that their children need to maintain their perceived "cultural identity" have been sending their children to Mandarin-medium or Tamil-medium schools. Let's not forget that there was also a time when Malay parents would send their children to Malay-medium schools with the same intent.

Parents who believe that their children should be at the apex of society with a fighting chance of being entrenched as the elite of Malaysian society and/or be competitive at a global level, have been sending their children to international schools based in Malaysia!!!!

That's what I mean by the Astro-programming parallel.

And, I believe this to be the major issue.

This is the pink elephant in the room that the Minister of Education and the Cabinet has chosen to ignore.

Granted that this issue is a delicate and complex one, someone still has to address the issue.

Or, maybe this is the precise point.

It is NOT a political issue because no one, on either side of the Parliamentary divide, be they Barisan Nasional or Pakatan Rakyat, have bothered to deal with the matter.

Yet, everyone who has school-going children and anyone who has undergone any of the education routes I have outlined above should know or recall, the educational anomaly that exists in Malaysia.

Who amongst the political leaders of contemporary Malaysia has the courage to raise this issue? Who dares to bell this cat?

No one.

All we have are parochial and chauvinistic gallery-pandering politicians and educationists who champion their own little causes.

Will no one stand for the Malaysian nation?

Yes. Lest we forget, we are a nation. We live under the same sky. We drink the same water. We eat almost similar food. And, our urinary and fecal matter have been flowing into the same streams and rivers for over a century. 

And, here we are.

Why do many of us argue in favour of preserving PPSMI?

Well, it isn't because we believe that our national school's quality has improved. It hasn't. And, yes, the quality of education needs serious improvement.

But, we don't believe that having Maths and Science being taught in Bahasa Malaysia will improve the quality of education.

We don't believe it simply because language is NOT the issue in the matter of quality of education.

We merely believe that having our children being taught the technical subjects of Maths and Science in the English language will make it easier for our children to tap into the great reservoir of knowledge that currently exists in the known Universe which is very, very substantially written in the English language.

Our children, who have been taught since 2003 under the PPSMI are articulate and conversant in BOTH Bahasa Malaysia and English. Their teachers can vouch for this.

And, no, Mr Education Minister, we parents are NOT satisfied that our current school-going children will remain with PPSMI until the end of their school life.

We want PPSMI to be maintained for the future cohorts of students.

And, we want you, your Cabinet colleagues and the entire Ministry of Education to focus on improving the quality of teachers. 

Stop tampering with language and syllabus.

Just focus on improving the quality of education.

Is this clear enough? (Sorry, just quoting Mr Essau, my Form One teacher who carried a big rotan in his day).


walla said...

ppsmi parent said...

I agree with you very much.

But see also what our so called alternative leaders have to say.

As much as I am against Muhyddin's and Bn's handling of this issue, PR esp PKE and PAS is not any better.

flyer168 said...


"Education is not the filling of a vessel, but the kindling of a flame." – Socrates

Education makes people easy to lead but "difficult to drive", easy to govern but "impossible to enslave"

Ketuanan UMNOputras only know how to "Enslave the Bumiputras" through the use of Bahasa Malaysia...

“Bonsification” of the Ketuanan “Brains”

But only manage to "slow down" the non-Bumis towards "Excellence & Advancements."

Just to share this...

China Pushes English Language - ABC News -

Guess who will be the “Losers”?

You be the judge.


Unknown said...

Educational matters should be left to the educationalist and not politicians. Politicians are world's greatest liars. They are biased and not concerned about the future generations. For heaven sake, they have been experimenting on the system for over 50 years and yet experimenting. Nuts!!!

Starmandala said...

At this juncture, after 41 years of Umno-style Malay chauvinism as an entrenched government policy in all aspects of Malaysian life, addressing the subject of education with any degree of candor will only trigger more venomous spittle from ultra-rightwing jingoists, frightened of their own misshapened shadows. Beyond merely upgrading the quality of teachers, we certainly must question the parochial, top-down, Victorian-era approach to education still adhered to in national-type schools. Those who can afford sending their kids to pricey international schools at least know they're getting value for their money in terms of the more progressive approach these schools favor. No doubt, there are many who feel threatened by the imminent loss of traditional notions of hierarchy and status; these are the ones who present a major stumbling block to the radical changes changing times demand. In any case, what you say is undoubtedly sensible. Cheers!

P.S. When I changed template on my blog I had to reconstruct my blogroll manually - yours was among those I forgot to reinstate. Now rectified! :-)

de minimis said...

Bro Antares

I'm always happy when you drop a comment. And, I'm glad to have been reinstated in your blog roll. :)