NATIONAL Union of the Teaching Profession president Hashim Adnan has admitted that with the introduction of the new school-based assessment (PBS) system, children are learning less.
We are not ready for the Pentaksiran Berasaskan Sekolah (PBS) system. Our education system is lagging behind. This has been proven in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) scores. Students, teachers, parents and the nation are suffering. We need to wake up and face reality.
TIMSS scores reflect the standard for Maths and Science. If we have scores for other subjects in schools, where would we stand?
We need to look at where we have gone wrong in our syllabus. In the PBS syllabus, there are 10 topics that a teacher is required to cover for the year but only five topics are picked for assessments.
If I am a teacher teaching PBS, I will teach only five topics. Why? The paperwork involved in the current system is a nightmare for the teacher. Like every other system introduced, the children become the scapegoats and suffer.
Students are bored, especially when they have to do the same paper over and over until the whole class gets it right.
While a lot has been said about rote learning, I feel it has its plus points. It teaches a student to be disciplined and organised in his work. It also helps teachers and parents help their children in areas where they are weak.
We have to teach our children to fish and not fish for them
When our country has achieved a level of competence in the education field, then only should we introduce this system.
The Education Blueprint was launched to revamp the system. However, the real area we need to revamp is teaching methods.
The syllabus for the teacher training college must be revamped before any introduction of a new system is launched for the children.
Teachers must go back to what they are supposed to do -- teach. If they spend most of their time doing paperwork for administrative purposes, then will they have the time to prepare what to teach the children?
We should do away with multiple choice questions, specially for language papers. This will allow the children to express themselves better and pave the way to encourage children to read.
We have to teach our children to fish and not fish for them. If the education system is constantly lowered to cater to the weak, then the nation will go nowhere.
If the government can recognise Chinese and Tamil as a language used for the mode of education, then, English should be given the same treatment.
There is nothing in the Constitution or the Education Act that says we cannot have English schools.
All we parents are asking is for the choice. The reality in today's world is English is the language of global communication.
Sarala Poobalan, Kuala Lumpur | firstname.lastname@example.org New Straits Times - Letters to the Editor 03 December 2013