THE Education Revamp Committee is reviewing and deliberating on nine areas of the education system. Dialogue sessions are taking place across the country. The public should put forth their views, suggestions and comments.
I had written on the nine areas. It is advantageous and good to do a summary so that my proposals are rendered in an organised and integrated manner. I hope others will write in. We ought to play our part in improving the education system.
TEACHERS: The practice where full-time teachers need to do part-time administrative work, and appointed administrators (principals and senior assistants) have to be part-time teachers, is the root cause of teachers' complaints of being overburdened with paper work. Why not allow schools to be administered by full-time administrators who were teachers before? This way, they will relieve teachers of their non-teaching duties. Let teachers teach. ("Have full-time administrators" -- NST, April 24).
SCHOOL HEADS: Headmasters can do much to transform or deform schools. We can select school heads based on their qualifications, traits and characteristics, experience and dedication. We can execute a stringent and meticulous selection process for teachers to be promoted as school heads. Pick only the best. ("Pick the best as school heads" -- NST, May 4).
SCHOOL QUALITY: Quality should not be stereotyped and standardised. Above and beyond the basic curricular and co-curricular achievements and the upholding of discipline, quality schools must show that they have character. They are different and unique.
In other words, quality schools should have their own ethos, characteristics and unique areas of distinction. In assessing quality schools, these qualities should be given due consideration. Quality should be liberated. ("The mark of a 'quality' school" -- NST, May 11).
CURRICULUM AND ASSESSMENT: Do away with Arts and Science classes streaming.
All students in Form Four should go into a general stream where the science syllabus is broader than the Science subject in the Arts stream. At the same time, the general stream Science syllabus will be spared the preparatory materials for higher learning found in the present Pure Science syllabus. This way, everybody gets to learn enough Science and there is sufficient teaching-learning time left for other subjects. "Everybody can do Science" should be our signature sound bite. ("A general stream is better" -- NST, May 24).
MULTI-LINGUAL PROFICIENCY: For all Malaysians, a competent command, understanding and usage of Bahasa Malaysia (BM) is important to foster national unity.
At the same time, mastery of English helps us to think globally and sets us on a level-playing field with the rest of the world. Knowledge of our mother tongue preserves our ethnicity and culture, besides complementing our linguistic prowess. If our vision is to see future generations of Malaysians being proficient in BM, confident in English and who also know their mother tongue, then our education system must provide, train and equip them accordingly. Let all Malaysians be multilingual. ("Go for 3 languages to equip students for goals ahead" -- NST, Feb 22).
POST-SCHOOL OPPORTUNITIES: Post-schoolers are our nation's assets. All avenues must be explored to help them make that all-important decision after school.
The Education Ministry may consider preparing a directory or handbook on recognised post-Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) study courses for those who intend to continue their studies immediately. It should also prepare a handbook on endorsed voluntary ventures or openings for post-schoolers who opt to take a break from their studies after SPM.
In addition, for post-schoolers to gain experiences and greater insight into their future study or career options, make available to them educational tours to public and private enterprises that are engaged in economic activities. Students should also be exposed to innovative approaches where necessary to help post-schoolers. Let's us help them to optimise their time and energy. ("Choices for school leavers" -- NST, June 19).
ROLE OF PARENTS AND COMMUNITY: The mindset of parents and the community must change so that they are aligned with the new thinking and approaches initiated by the ministry. If our thoughts are not in congruence with our acts, we will labour in vain. When parents and the community move in one accord with the ministry, our schools can deliver the promises of the transformation programmes. "Transforming the minds, enabling changes" is the way to go. ("Parents must change mindset"-- NST, June 6).
EFFECTIVENESS OF RESOURCE USAGE: Every school has its own resource centre. To improve the effectiveness of school resource centres (SRC), a question to ask is: in designing the curriculum, has SRC been factored in as a tool to extract and cultivate the potential of students? A good SRC is well-equipped, has hardware and software, and is frequented by students and teachers all-year round. ("The role of resource centres in schools" -- NST, May 18).
DELIVERY AND ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM: The ministry's noble goals and purposes are, at times, not delivered at the school level because of overzealous officials and administrators who may implement the ministry's policies according to their interpretation or at their own whims and fancies.
Granted that schools need leeway to run in accordance with local specifics and peculiarities, better checks and balances should be put in place to boost the ministry's delivery system. ("Delivery system can be better" -- NST, July 6).