kheru2006 (kheru2006) wrote,

It's about building balanced students

I refer to your report “Revamped school curricula next year” (NST, June 14). This is indeed a great move to take education to the next level.

In the report, Education director-general Tan Sri Dr Khair Mohamad Yusof said this step was in line with the Malaysia Education Blueprint (2013-2025), which aims to review the education system to produce holistic students.

There is ample writing related to holistic education. What distinguishes holistic education from the normal education system are the attention to experiential learning and the focus on human values.

India is perceived as having an exam-oriented education system in Asia.

We want to produce not only intellectuals, but also those with integrity, ethics and concern for others. Pix by Mohd Asri Saifuddin Mamat

An exam-oriented system means only education grades are considered in the evaluation of students’ performance.

Teaching and learning involve a lot of memorisation rather than thinking.

A Mumbai Express newspaper report, “Exam-oriented learning hurts students’ abilities”, a study about the education system in India reported in 2014, said: “An overwhelming 92 per cent of the teachers in Maharashtra feel that the education system is too focused on exam results and less on skills development.

“In terms of benchmarks of learner success, the majority of the teachers, or 94 per cent surveyed in the state, perceive that overall skill and personality development are most critical, which is followed by 91 per cent who believe that preparedness for higher education and job is crucial.

Only 54 per cent think test or exam results is the benchmark of a learner’s success.

“The study also demonstrates that across the country, 94 per cent of the teachers consider skills or personality development as the most critical benchmark of learner success, which is significantly more than exam results (57 per cent).”

Besides India, China is also among the Asian countries categorised as such. However, improvements have been made since 1985 when the state Education Commission held a conference discussing views about education in the country.

Despite various views about what made a quality education, conference delegates agreed that the aim of education was not for students to pass the National Entrance Exam, a compulsory examination all students must take and pass to enter universities at undergraduate level, but to develop their potential.

I believe the establishment of Xiamen University Malaysia, which enrolled its first batch of students last February, is an example of the aim to widen the perspectives of understanding education and what education can do to human beings at the international level.

In the context of Malaysia, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia chairman Professor Tan Sri Dzulkifli Abdul Razak wrote his book, Memupuk Insan Seimbang: Cabaran Kepemimpinan, in 2014 about the attempt to create a balanced society through education.

He highlighted the importance of including religion in education.

I believe the revamp we are talking about now is about producing balanced students. We want to produce not only intellectuals, but also those with integrity, ethics and concern for others.

Thus, through education, we hope to see more people who care about others, and more people who think about humanity and, of course, less violence and more love.
Dr Suriati Othman Visiting Scholar , Xiamen University Malaysia, and senior lecturer, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia
Tags: education, holistic
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