The aim of education is to develop a holistic personality who can contribute to the growth of the nation. FILE PIC

FEELING overwhelmed, a parent came to see me after she had collected her daughter’s Primary School Assessment Report on Friday.

She was so polite and gave me a packet of food. She told me she was over the moon with her daughter’s result as she had obtained an “A” for English.

I taught her when she was in Year Five.

The mother told me her daughter still kept the notes that I had given her for the “penulisan” paper.

Even though I taught her class for a while before leaving to another place to work as a lecturer, I am elated that she had continued working on her English paper till the last day of her exam.

The parent shared her stories on how difficult her life was back then as they were from a low-income group and life was not a bed of roses.

She did not have the chance to further her studies, much like her other siblings in Penang.

She and her husband came to Johor Baru to earn a living.

Her husband works in Singapore. As the currency exchange rate is good, I believe that their lives are much better now.

She wanted her daughter to be a graduate one day.

Well, that is what all parents wish for their children.

With an “A” in English, she hoped her daughter can enrol in a convent school for her secondary education.

I hope that her dream will come true. She hugged me and thanked me for sparking her daughter’s interest in English.

This is my core duty anyway,
to teach and motivate my students.

To the world, I may be just a teacher compared with other high-paying professions, but to my students I am a hero.

What I want to emphasise is the importance of education.

It is a vital tool to succeed in the contemporary world because it can overcome all the challenges in life.

As what Nelson Mandela once said: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

It rings true.

The true worth of education is not measured by the number of As in the examination.

It encompasses character building, general knowledge and thinking skills. Some of the students I have met are only good at scoring high marks, but lack general knowledge.

Some parents jump on the bandwagon, arranging many tuition classes for the children so that they can excel in their examinations, but how many of us emphasise the reading habit?

Do the children read the printed materials?

Recently when I spoke to a friend over a cup of coffee, he told me that he had finished reading all the English literature in the library, such as Sherlock Holmes, Robinson Crusoe, The Last of the Mohicans and Frankenstein.

What impresses me was his eloquence.

His language proficiency was honed by extensive reading. It is a matter of habit actually.

Ultimately, the aim of education is to develop a holistic personality, one who can think critically, communicate effectively and bring positive changes to the nation.

Nurturing intelligence and character, that is true education, said Martin Luther King Jr.

Sumati Muniandy

Johor Baru, Johor

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