The Flaw of Malaysian Education & How Could We Fix It

Neelofa’s sister, Nur Ameera Mohd Noor, recently kicked up a storm on Facebook when a video of her condemning the local education system, entitled “Q&A Education”, went viral with more than 45,000 views.

“Government schools in Malaysia, they only focus on the Malaysian history, the Malaysian culture, and its all about Malaysia. The students don’t get a chance to learn about other countries as well.”

 

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Ameera’s comments received a largely negative response, as furious netizens verbally attacked her in the comments. Some irresponsible commenters even threw in some largely unwarranted sexual remarks.

However, Ameera isn’t entirely wrong.

Stereotypes of government school teachers aside, she did raise some valid points for us to ponder and take into account.

“The teachers there often depend on the grades to measure the intelligence of a student. It’s more like ‘You take the test and I’ll grade you based on how you took the test’ rather than giving more efforts so that students can understand the topic.”

“The current education system is failing and they should not fix it but just replace it with something that actually works for Malaysian students because this can either ruin lives or improve lives.” Ameera ranted.

Whoa, hold your horses there young lady. “Replacing it with something that actually works for Malaysians” isn’t as easy as changing a flat tire. There’s lots of protocol and red tape that one needs to go through in order to replace even a part of the education system, let alone the whole system itself.

Let’s face it, the education system in Malaysia is indeed terrible. Whether you like it or not, statistics showed that we are on the 52nd spot (out of 76 countries) in mathematics and science proficiency, well behind Thailand and Kazakhstan. It’s not just terrible, it’s horrendous to the point that a very worrying percentage of students who complete their studies are somehow still unable to speak proper English. Of course, the English language is not the benchmark of excellence, but isn’t it a vital key to more opportunities, both domestically and internationally?

But of course, plain ranting can not and will not solve anything. That’s why we’ve come up with a few suggestions on what we think, may change the numbers and affect the students in positive and inspiring way.

 

 

Later on, she did mention later that she did not post that video to hurt anyone’s feelings. Sinaran Harian reported she apologized with the statement below (translated from BM):

“I want to apologize to those who was hurt/insulted by the Youtube video that I recently posted. My intention was not to hurt anyone’s feeling. All of my opinions in that video are simply based on my own personal experiences and observation. I was only making a comparison, not as an insult. I just feel that I have the rights to express my opinions and comments, regardless whether anyone agrees with me or not.”

 

 

1. Make Education and the Whole School Experience attractive and appealing

 

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Lewin’s dramatic demonstrations of the laws of physics, which included using a heavy pendulum to prove he can predict its trajectory to within a fraction of a centimeter, were popular in the classroom and online. You can watch his full lecture here: https://youtu.be/4a0FbQdH3dY

 

The schooling experience is mostly boring, dull and for some, excruciating. Yes, the school experience is a learning process, but why can’t it be memorable, enjoyable, and beneficial in more than one aspect?

Making the school experience exciting can make students want to learn, instead of just forcing themselves to go to school every day with a blurry purpose and lack of motivation. You can’t expect someone to truly understand and comprehend something if that particular subject doesn’t interest them.

Yes, they may pass exams, but to what extent will the knowledge be beneficial and practical if they don’t fully understand what they learned? Students are humans too, and humans display a greater degree of understanding and comprehension when they are able to relate or resonate with the subject.

With a more attractive perception of the school, students will willingly work hard for themselves, and not to just simply please their parents or others.

 

2. Make more room for Art and Expression-oriented activities

 

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Students definitely need more room for expression in their lives. Art allows students to express themselves in various channels of their liking, thus creating a new field of communication between the students and the teachers, or even just the students themselves.

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One of the paintings at Sining Saysay project. The project which took more than four years to complete was first envisioned by the UPAA under Atty: Gari M. Tiongo. The concept is for it to become a come-on for students to learn the history of the Philippines in just a couple of minutes through the form of art.

Other than being an opinion-based method, art can also open up a new way of learning things, through an attractive and interactive medium.

Imagine learning Sejarah through art, or literacy through music?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Loosen up on the rules

 

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Some school rules are completely unnecessary, created for the sake of “making students more disciplined”. Restrictions on hair length for boys? Super strict school uniform rules? It’s as if coming to school at 7.30AM, being forced to stand in the middle of the hot sun, and wearing pretty much the same thing as the other 1,000 students in the school are not enough to discipline students.

It’s as if coming to school at 7.30AM, being forced to stand in the middle of the hot sun, and wearing pretty much the same thing as the other 1,000 students in the school are not enough to discipline students.

Why can’t we allow students to express themselves fashion-wise? Is it wrong for students to be a bit more creative, so they can look and feel good when they come to an academically competitive classroom?

Give more freedom to students to express and discover themselves. Confidence goes a long way.

4. More efforts for a harmonious multiracial environment

 

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It’s a bitter truth to swallow that racism is alive, and living well in classrooms. I

n the past year alone, many videos of school students fighting each other involved racial disputes.

What is the education ministry doing to curb this problem? Are there even any effective programs for this kind of problems?

 

The ministry officials needs to sit down and come up with a viable solution to this problem, and maybe start by putting everyone in the Pendidikan Moral class and make it compulsory for all students regardless of their race.

Memorizing all of the 36 moral definitions and getting an A in SPM do not make the student uphold the dignity of treating others as they would like to be treated.  motion that everyone, regardless of their race, religion, or background, should not be segregated based on their beliefs. No, we shouldn’t abolish religion-related subjects, but instead, make it optional for the students.

It has to be put as a motion that everyone, regardless of their race, religion, or background, should not be segregated based on their beliefs. And no, we shouldn’t abolish religion-related subjects, but instead, make it optional for the students.

 

5. More bully and psychological awareness programs

 

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No one is doing much to help control, or even acknowledge bully cases unless, you know, someone tragically dies in a dorm or a horrific video of a kid who gets violently beaten up by his peers goes viral. And more often than not, bully victims are taught to “toughen up” against the bullies, instead of educating students to stop bullying others.

Bully and psychological awareness programs are needed to counter this problem, as well as educate students on the existence of disorders and how bullying can affect people. These programs will have a long-lasting effect on a lot of students and teach others not to bully, no matter what their reasons are.

 

6. Relevant Syllabus

 

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This is by far the most important problem. The most popular myth regarding our education system is true: the Malaysian education syllabus is irrelevant. Its contents are outdated, the methods of teaching are neither from the 21st century nor adjusted for educating the young minds of the 21st century.

Fun fact: Pluto is still taught as a planet in Malaysia, despite no longer being classified by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) as a planet since 2006. That’s a whopping 10 years.

The formula is simple: A relevant syllabus will produce relevant students, and relevant students can solve relevant problems, achieve relevant goals, earn relevant paychecks, and live relevant lives.

The ministry needs to keep up with the times and open up to new approaches, a syllabus that will make students love what they’re learning, and in the end, produce high-quality students who are happy, and capable of serving the country.

On top of that, teachers who are teaching subjects in English should be fluent in both spoken and written English first before they get their job as teachers. It is very sad to say that more than half of the lecturers in our local universities are still teaching subjects that are tested in English using Bahasa Melayu rather than English itself because many of them still speak broken English.

The people and the ministry need to be more open to criticism, whether it comes from an adult, an association, or even the students themselves. Criticism gives insight on what is lacking, and in this case, that the entire education system needs a lot of improvement.

We can’t keep blaming students for failing or cheating on exams if the education system has failed to educate them. Something needs to be done, and it needs to be done now so that the future generations can be nurtured and flourish, and in turn lead Malaysia into a glorious and successful future.

Below is a video on the alarming question we should pay attention to: “Is the Education System Stifling Freedom of Speech?

 

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The original version article is originally published at The Level.

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