Education Has Been Our Bone Of Contention For Ages

As expected, a recent survey clearly shows that the people simply don't trust the government when it comes to education because the government has made a mockery out of it for the past few decades. We had a good system where our Higher School Certificate (HSC), the Malaysian Certification of Education (MCE) and the Lower School Certificate (LCE) were held in high esteem by universities and technical colleges from around the world. But sad to say, after so many experiments, we simply have created a generation of young people who are neither here nor there when it comes to self-esteem and confidence. It all stems to the qualifications that they have at the end of the day
Yes, it is agreed that we have a system that channels all the three major races in the country into three different school systems which keep us apart for the rest of our lives. We only come together to show the world our superficial unity. Even if we are genuine, our politics and politicians would simply not allow us to be a united force, living closely with each other, being comfortable in each other's differences and faiths and supporting one another. Because if that can be achieved they, the politicians, would be out of their jobs! Education has been our bone of contention for ages; we simply don't trust the government and the politicians in charge. Can we be blamed for that? The trust deficit is because we have been simply experimented with for decades and our youth have been used as guinea pigs for generations
All we need to do is to go back to our archives to see how we did it before and why we have allowed the rot to set in so deep today that there is simply no trust anymore. One race and religion dominates, that is a fact no matter what you do to hide it. It has come to a point that we all know that it is simply a useless effort to struggle hard to prove one's self as there will always be another arrangement made beforehand to fill in a vacant position of power to bring about change with someone from their own race or religion. This is with regard to positions of school headpersons, what more can one envisage with teachers on the ground
 went to a national school and thereafter to a missionary school and I am proud of the fact that I am a product of a missionary school which is now known as sekolah mubaligh as though it is some school for the "untouchables". Such a situation is very sad indeed. We have to note that it is the future of the younger generation which we are talking about; if we don't make good decisions and make sure that they are implemented and produce the results that we want them to, the weight of a very frustrated younger generation which can't find work and become a burden to society will fall on our shoulders. It will not be a situation which we will be able to handle well as it involves the lives of our younger generation.The Chinese have proven that their education system is the best alternative after Islamic religiosity crept into all major missionary schools in the country. At the same time, Tamil education has improved by leaps and bounds and there seems to be a fervent drive by Tamil community to do even better by encouraging the community to make Tamil schools their topmost choice when they enrol their young to start formal schooling. Both the Chinese and Tamil schools have proven themselves in the public exams as well and the success continues. As all this develops, where are the national schools? Since the turn of the century, the national schools have slowly become little madrasa of sorts, we only seem to see a large number of Malay teachers as opposed to a good and fair mix
Therefore until all these changes and the supremacist policy is abolished, the non- Malays will never trust the policies of the government when it comes to education. There is simply too much religiosity and very little practicality in our national education policy. Meritocracy was practised to some extent before the supremacist wave came in the '90s and swept away whatever little of the policy we had left. Now we only have a policy where one race reigns supreme and all the facets of school life seem to only portray that. We recently had a former national hockey player reminisce the past where he played in a national team that was really filled with a multiracial squad of great and talented players. He asked what happened to all the non-Malay students when it came to sports at the school level? The answer is simple - it all has to do with the supremacist policies which were religiously adhered to in the last two decades. It has resulted in a generation of youngsters from only one race who seem to be the new faces of our local sports. We don't seem to be seeing the Soh Chin Aun-Mokhtar Dahari- Santokh Singh and R Arumugam combination anymore in our local sports scene although we seem to reminisce the glorious past very often
A single stream education system will only be a success if we have meritocracy, equality and fairness in all aspects of education. Be it the appointment of the best and able teachers to the task irrespective of their race and religion or in the policies of formulating what ought to be the best public examination system. We need to simply look back at how we did it from the 1950s-1980s. We were producing good teachers and students then. Our public examination system was held in high esteem overseas then. Our students spoke in all the common main languages with confidence. Sports and study were well-balanced and most of all, teaching and it policies were left to the teachers. Politicians were kept at bay. The rot began to set in when teachers lost control and politicians and their supporters took over. Teachers then became their followers
I have sent my son to my former alma mater because of what I saw in the national school that I had left more than 31 years ago. So we will continue to educate our young in a three-channel silo system that we currently have as long as we don't look inwards and change. We were on the right track before and there is no reason why we can't go back to our glorious days of the past. So don't blame the Chinese or the Indians if they insist that they want their children to attend vernacular schools because it all boils down to trust and confidence in the policy-makers and the politicians who are calling the shots at the end of the day. So be it the blue government, red government or the green government, nothing will change as long as we still have doubts over each other and there remains a large and deep trust deficit. - Mkini

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