Those in power fail to see the importance of English as a global language and if anything, our academic standards have dropped drastically.
Teachers and parents have long complained that many students who have certificates to validate their excellence or A’s in certain subjects especially in English Language, are later found to possess only about average or little competence in that subject.
Have we not heard of students who have never achieved a score of more than 20% in any of their school-based examinations, but who miraculously make the grade when major public examination results are announced?
It is not that no one knows about the flaws in the system, but officials in the relevant education departments at district and state level and others in more senior positions at the ministry, do not want to incur the wrath of those above them, including our political leaders.
We are indeed a mediocre lot. We seem to think that if we have some knowledge of a subject or speak a smattering of English, we are already speaking the language well.
Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said in his recently launched book A doctor in the House that “half an education is no education at all”.
He adds that there must still be English as it is the language that will give the people of this country the education they seek.
Dr Mahathir adds that English can be a point of understanding and goodwill between the races in Malaysia, giving them opportunities to make the best use of their brains.
My point in raising the issue is that many of us are quite content with the standard of English and pat ourselves for a job well done!
It is when we get out of the country and join professionals in other fields from other nations, that we realise our English language setbacks.
We are merely heroes in our own backyard or what we refer to as jaguh kampung .
The powers-that-be are inconsistent about their policies and seem bent on doing things their way without any regard for the views of the majority.
They dislike those who question their authority and their handling of important issues like the teaching of Mathematics and Science in English (better known by its Malay acronym PPSMI), to its recent decision in making History a “must pass” subject in the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examination from 2013.
With regards to the PPSMI, would the reversal of the policy make us more patriotic?
As for the Ministry’s recent decision on making History a must-pass subject, would it mean that those who fail the subject be regarded any less Malaysian and unpatriotic?
The changes and inconsistencies in our education system is not paving the way for us to move forward. In fact, we are already stagnating and it won’t be long before we fall behind.
Those in power should take immediate measures to put our education system back on track.
NOT SO PROUD MALAYSIAN
The STAR Home > Education Sunday March 20, 2011