PEOPLE seem eager over the education review blueprint which is due to be made public on Tuesday. Some even have prematurely hailed it as the best thing since sliced bread, and this is before they even know its content.
Let us hold the applause until after we read the document and see where it is taking us. The proof of the pudding is in the eating.
Will this "mother-of-all-solutions" blueprint stand up to scrutiny? Is it going to be a solid, excellent-for-education master plan or will it be a glitzy, complex and tricky-to-implement blueprint?
A plan is only as good as its implementation, and judging by the Education Ministry's track record, execution has never been its strong point.
This effort at revamping the education system, which is long overdue, has to be commended though. Nevertheless, I am not holding my breath.
Decades of failed endeavours by the ministry tend to make people cynical, and I am wary of those who throw out feel-good statements to pacify a sceptical public.
Clearly, there is an inability to look at education holistically and plan accordingly.
Recall the time the ministry tried to design a curriculum aimed at producing creative and critical thinking (CCT) learners. Unfortunately, the majority of teachers had no idea what CCT entailed. So, that became a failed venture.
The Teaching of Maths and Science in English Policy (PPSMI) is another issue that causes cynicism. From its inception about 10 years ago until today, it has been fraught with difficulty and mired in controversy.
Another point was the proposal that English Literature be incorporated into the curriculum. This was heralded as the panacea for all our English language woes. But literature has been in the curriculum for a decade or so already.
English woes aside, we need to also ensure that our children receive proper instruction in Bahasa Malaysia. The haphazard way in which BM is being taught in schools does not augur well for the present and coming generations.
When English was the medium of instruction, it created many proficient and competent users of the language which cut across all ethnic groups. The same cannot be said about BM. How many are really competent in the language?
This problem has been neglected for too long. Let's see what the new education blueprint has in store for us. The implementation of the blueprint will stretch over 13 years. Is the ministry committed to carry the momentum over this long period?
I hope any critique given by the public is looked upon as feedback to how things can be improved.
Ultimately, it is not the blueprint per se that can save our education system, it is whether officials and educators can save it through a good understanding of their roles and commitment.
We want to reach a stage in our education where we can say with pride that our children are bright and capable because of the education system, not despite it.
Sandra Rajoo, Ipoh, Perak New Straits Times Letters to the Editors 07 September 2012