I REFER to the letter "Bring focus of schools back to students" by Concerned of Putrajaya (New Sunday Times, Sept 2).
I am afraid I can't agree with the proposition. Nothing in reality suggests that we should pay more attention to the students. On the contrary, all the facts clearly indicate that the centre of attention in the education system must be the teacher and not the student.
The market clearly indicates that student-centred education has caused a major upheaval in the education system by increasing choices at the expense of cost and quality. This is not a profitable state of affair, financially or educationally.
For one, schools are initiated by teachers. Without teachers, there would be no schools. If a school is a place to learn, then learning can also take place anywhere, for example, at home, in the library, at the workplace and even during holidays.
And the person imparting the teaching can be anyone, be they the parents, relatives, friends, colleagues or employers. However, none of these people are teachers who are qualified to teach in a school.
A teacher is a person who has studied in a school, has passed the necessary tests to confirm his or her knowledge and has received valid qualifications in the form of a certificate, diploma or a degree. Furthermore, a teacher has some years of teaching experience and references to prove it.
On top of that, a teacher's standing as a professional is recognised by the government. Thus, it makes sense that the education system should revolve around the teachers as they are the most important component in the system.
While teachers have a clear function to perform in the general scheme of things, it is much more difficult to prove the role and function of the parent-teacher associations.
I think PTAs are more of a curse than a benefit. Indeed, PTAs are responsible for most of the problems in schools.
PTAs are made up of parents and teachers who feel elevated by the role they have in their monthly meetings but are generally incapable of doing much good for the school or students.
Back to our teachers. The fact is, holding a PhD in economics, medical science or philosophy does not make one a teacher, but the interest in teaching does.
Teaching and teachers are not the same. Everyone can teach but not everyone can be a teacher.
The fascination with the teaching profession is probably because few people are as loved by their charges as teachers are. After all, being loved is the ultimate goal of every human being.
The writer said he was sending his daughter to an international school, which was "vastly different" from a national school.
Being "vastly different" from a national school does not mean "better than" a national school, does it?
Marisa Demori, Kuala Lumpur | firstname.lastname@example.org Source: New Straits Times Online Letters to the Editors 23 September 2012