MUCH has been said about our system producing rote learners and sadly, this is quite true. Students simply carry knowledge. If I could substitute it with an analogy, they are simply lorries laden with goods.
They do not apply the knowledge they have in their lives.
As a Form Five student, I read with great interest about the plans of the Education Ministry to gather feedback to improve our education system. I have seen the improvements that the ministry has embarked on, especially with the use of information and communications and technology.
A total revamp is too idealistic because in the end, education simply boils down to the teacher-student relationship.
But surely there are things we can do to improve it:
TEACHERS should be given more time to teach, perhaps by pushing the year-end examinations further to the last week of school. Sometimes, teachers struggle to cover the syllabus. This might affect the quality of teaching;
REVISE the schedule. There are subjects which do not really require long hours. For example, language subjects do not really need many classes;
ACTIVITY-ORIENTED learning for language subjects. I don't think we want that many grammar experts, but we want people who are fluent in the language. Such activities are more relevant than just classes. Perhaps schools should be made to organise language weeks which have such activities;
MAKE the best use of the Sivik dan Kewarganegaraan subject. I think this subject should be made broader and it does not need textbooks or else the teaching would become too rigid. Maybe it should take on a mentor-mentee approach. Teachers should just be given guidelines. For example, the teacher could touch on current issues, give advice to students, give motivational talks or give the students newspapers. We would also be spared the talk of introducing a new subject to students whenever an issue crops up, such as sexuality education; and,
GIVE more vigour to co-curricular activities. Students should be engaged in the setting up of clubs instead of being stuck with the ones set up by their school and ministry. Give them clubs they can enjoy and make them enthusiastic about them. Encourage them to plan activities of their own and give points for this. This would allow more student participation instead of just depending on competitions held at inter-school level.
I. Amir, Kajang, Selangor
Source: New Straits Times Letters to the Editors Tuesday, April 03, 2012