IT IS unfortunate that there are quarters who place importance in the number of As scored in a major examination. Who are they?
The Education Ministry does keep a record of exam scores and so do parents for various reasons, but I can’t say the same for the majority of our youth.
Have we actually taken the time to consider their views and what they actually want?
While obtaining As is important, scoring high grades should not be over-emphasised.
There are other factors that are equally necessary to groom our children to be successful.
They include soft skills, high morals and social values that are crucial for a youth’s well being. The authorities and parents must not only stress on the number of As that a student MUST score, but focus on their overall character and development.
Students with fewer As may be demoralised and their results may affect their self-esteem and confidence.
Often, we come across high achieving students who when confronted with a situation or problem, are unable to effectively handle the matter. While they may have the relevant academic knowledge, they are completely lost otherwise as they are not street-smart and lack the relevant soft skills.
A single exam and the number of As scored cannot determine the success of our youth, many of whom will become the pillars and future leaders of our nation.
Are the As alone an accurate measure of one’s knowledge and understanding of a subject, bearing in mind the limited questions set, and the chances of guessing the correct answers in objective questions?
We understand that while this is good just as the recent introduction of practical assessments, the question is if there are any plans and provisions in the education system to bring about greater improvements for our students and youth of the future?
Are we lagging behind in comparison to the young people of other nations?
Many youth are not interested in scoring As. All they want is the required knowledge and skills needed to pursue their passion or find a “decent” job.
There are also many among the youth of today, who prefer practical training to learning and all things academic.
Is our Government providing sufficient avenues to this category of youth for them to achieve their dreams and ambitions?
This group forms the bulk of our youth today, and their contribution towards our economy cannot be ignored.
There are young people who have dropped out of our current education system to search for alternative avenues, but a high percentage of them have ended up on the streets or engaged in undesirable activities.
They could have been saved if they had the basic skills in a trade or other vocations, as they could have then taken up the thousands of jobs that are in the hands of foreign workers.
The situation as it is now, hasn’t improved. A few may be the likes of Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg, but does our government provide the avenue for them to develop their potential?
Instead of comparing the number of As, we should gauge how fast we progress to become a developed nation compared to other nations, with similar resources.
The Dutch, for instance, expose their children to different environments at an early age so as to find out their real interests, inclination and orientation. These attributes are then nurtured and developed as they enter their teens and adulthood.
In the case of the Germans, they usually encourage their children to find jobs in the areas that they may be interested in. In many instances their prospective employers will help out by providing the relevant training and skills required for the job.
Doing so, prevents the youngsters from focusing on unrelated subjects and studies that are irrelevant to their jobs. Unfortunately, we have thousands of graduates each year who are either jobless or have taken up positions which have no relevance to what they have studied.
Why? It is simply because they have wasted their effort and money pursuing the wrong courses. Do we need to study Science to stay ahead of others? Can we not make Science more interesting for students to gain knowledge, skills and even to be creative?
I think more vocational schools should be set up so that our youth can pick a trade or skill that is relevant for the needs and jobs of tomorrow.
Can they follow their passion instead of being forced into a pre-determined course of study? Can lessons be more interesting for them?
Can they be happier learning and upon acquiring sufficient knowledge, move towards pursuing jobs they desire?
Many countries including neighbouring nations provide scholarships to attract the best brains in our country. However, our education system is not focused enough to tap the different talents and skills of our youth.
Is there not a gender shift in the academic results achieved by our students in recent years and those seeking to further their studies?
There are many more issues with regard to our education system that need to be looked into, and the authorities should resolve them as soon as possible.
JOE TAI Kuala Lumpur The Star Online Education Sunday 24 Mar 2013