Malaysian students unable, unwilling to speak up: Ideas
KUALA LUMPUR: Students across the country are still unable or unwilling to speak at all, let alone in English, according to the Institute For Democracy And Economic Affairs (Ideas).
Its founding president Tunku Zain Al-'Abidin Tuanku Muhriz said based on his observation during speaking engagements at educational institutions including government secondary schools, as well as public and private universities, Malaysian students were still not confident enough to speak up, particularly in English.
(File pix) Institute For Democracy And Economic Affairs (Ideas) founding president Tunku Zain Al-'Abidin Tuanku Muhriz said based on his observation during speaking engagements at educational institutions including government secondary schools, as well as public and private universities, Malaysian students were still not confident enough to speak up, particularly in English. ROHANIS SHUKRI
"In general, when I try to engage them (students) in matters of great importance, for example what it means to have independent check and balance institutions and how these institutions are supposed to work...it's not just the content of their knowledge that is of concern, but also the way they express themselves about these institutions and concepts.
"These are problems that can persist throughout the entire education journey of a young Malaysian citizen. Often identity politics in the form of racial and religious polarisation can make that journey even more fractured and make national cohesion ever more difficult," he said at the annual English Speaking Union of Malaysia (Esu Malaysia) luncheon talk held here, yesterday.
Also present were Esu Malaysia chairman Tunku Dara Tunku Tan Sri Naquiah Tuanku Ja'afar and Esu Malaysia deputy chairman Raja Tan Sri Datuk Seri Arshad Raja Tun Uda.
Tunku Zain Al-'Abidin highlighted that due to the aforementioned situation, "the English language is suffering, both as a result of explicit language policies, as well as indirectly because of the impact of policy decisions in other areas”.
Shamefully in some classrooms in Malaysia today, he said, students made fun of their peers who spoke in English, precisely because they saw it as an attempt to appear superior or elitist.
"In some parts of the country, it will require a new mindset to emerge before English is celebrated as a language to promote human achievement," he said.
He also stressed that as much as speaking English was important for economic and diplomatic reasons, it was more important for Malaysians to speak English as a language of culture "with the same qualities of 'sopan' and 'adat' that early English speaking travellers had first observed of Malay speakers in this region”.
"If that happens, even in these tough geopolitical times, I am confident that the objective would be much more easily achieved," he said. -- BERNAMA
Polytechnic students losing out
I REFER to the issues raised by Concerned Family Member, Klang (“Students at polytechnics mistreated”, The Star, 24 July)
Being a parent myself, I am sad that my child is going through the same situation in one of the polytechnics in Malaysia.
The lecturers are less than considerate and like to throw their weight around, fully aware that these students are beginners who are striving hard to cope with new subjects and a new environment.
Instead of giving them a helping hand, the lecturers treat the students like trash and expect them to answer difficult questions without proper guidance or tips prior to being given the questions. They go to the extent of asking them to stand outside the classroom should they fail to answer the questions.
What century are we living in? These poor children have nowhere to turn to, completely clueless about the lessons being taught.
There is no co-operation among the team members, with one child being made the black sheep to complete the so-called “group work”.
Please treat the children as you would treat your own child. They are there to gain knowledge and compete in this world, too.
I hope the authorities concerned will look into this plight and get some solutions for these poor children. We pay the fees and nothing comes free, but at least I hope the lecturers have the decency to render their services in exchange for the salary they receive at the end of the month!
Another concerned parent Kuala Lumpur The STAR Opinion Letters July 26, 2017