GOOD SYSTEM: Survey also indicates that parents prefer their children to be civil servants, engineers, teachers or doctors
IF Malaysian parents had a say in their children's choice of career, their sons and daughters would either be civil servants, engineers, teachers or doctors.
These fields, according to a recent survey on "Malaysian Attitudes Towards Education", is where many parents prefer their children to work in.
The survey also revealed that a majority of Malaysian adults agreed that the current education system in the country was "comparable, better or much better" than those of developed countries.
They also agreed that children found it easier to learn Mathematics and Science in Bahasa Malaysia, and that English was the preferred choice for a second language.
Some 1,800 respondents (60.7 per cent Malays, 22.9 per cent Chinese, 7 per cent Indians and 9.3 per cent other Bumiputera) from across the nation were interviewed during the survey, conducted by market research agency Introspek Asia, between Dec 12, last year and Jan 15 this year.
It revealed that Malay parents preferred their sons and daughters to be employed as civil servants while Chinese parents preferred their children to be either accountants or involved in the financial sector, although many also wanted their sons to be engineers and their daughters to work as healthcare professionals.
Indian parents, meanwhile, preferred their sons to be either lawyers or engineers while their daughters should preferably be lawyers or healthcare professionals.
However, out of the 1,206 parents (67 per cent of the respondents) who were interviewed, only 30 per cent said they would likely influence their children's career choice, although the figure was much higher for Indian parents at 52 per cent.
The more educated ones in the higher income group were also more likely to influence their children's future career.
Asked for their opinion on the country's education system, 55 per cent said it was comparable to other countries while 35 per cent said it was "better than that of developed countries".
Ninety-two per cent of the parents interviewed also agreed that it was important for their children to be proficient in more than one language while 78 per cent said English would be their first choice of a second language.
They also believed that their children's proficiency in the English language largely depended on teachers.
The survey also revealed that less than 18 per cent of Malay parents spoke English with their children compared with 38 per cent of Chinese parents and 55 per cent of Indian parents.
More than 90 per cent of the respondents also felt that there was a need to improve our method of teaching and learning English with more training for teachers to enhance their command of the language.
They also felt there was a need to increase the hours for teaching and learning English while 54 per cent said that expert English teachers from abroad should be hired to teach the subject.
Sixty-four per cent of the respondents also felt that their children found it easier to learn Mathematics and Science in Bahasa Malaysia while 27 per cent said their children found it easier in English. Less than 10 per cent found it easier in Chinese or Tamil.
On suggestions to improve the education system, the majority agreed that adding "life-skills subjects" and having more vocational schools would help.
They also felt that modifying the education system to make it more competitive with more foreign languages being taught, including English, would also help improve the system.
Conducting more tuition classes in schools, increasing the number of teachers, and establishing a monitoring system to monitor the performance of teachers and schools were just as important.