LETTERS: There are many successful models of education being developed by other countries.
Japan has its own success stories. So does Singapore, New Zealand, Australia and the Nordic countries.
But that does not mean that for Malaysia to reinvent the wheel on education, it has to adopt one of those models.
This is the right time to formulate a new recipe at a time when our education system is in a limbo.
So much damage has been inflicted and it is time to overhaul the system.
Our education system has to be completely different from all those foreign models, simply because the “ingredients” we have are different in nature.
The first and foremost essential ingredient is our political system.
Regardless of which party governs the nation, it is still composite in nature.
It’s unique and yet it is regarded as the sole determinant in shaping the future of our education.
Political institutions abuse the national unity agenda in search of popularity.
Assuming that politicians are willing to compromise for the sake of our future generations, the educational system has a tall order to fulfil, and that is to include subjects or courses on nation-building into the packed educational curriculum.
That is not the end of the problem. Students enrolling into the various types of schooling systems are diverse.
Parents expect schools to shape and discipline their children.
This is another burden for the schooling system. This is in complete contrast to the parenting culture of those in developed nations. In their case, the children go to school with a mindset and character fully nurtured by their parents.
Only when this is resolved can we expect the teachers to have the time and energy to teach, guide, groom and impart knowledge to the students.
At the higher level of education, especially at the tertiary and post-education stages, education and training are not just a process of completing the learning curve.
The most vital is talent-building. Here’s the challenge for those who run technical and vocational centres as well as the other tertiary and post-educational institutions. They are to create, develop and groom talents. In the survival of the fittest in the future, only those equipped with language skills and can acquire and manage the technology will thrive.
The real and practical challenge in formulating our educational recipe is to blend four main ingredients, namely nation-building, character, knowledge and talent.
The rest of the issues — such as Bahasa Malaysia versus English, introduction of second languages and Jawi writing — are the spices that will make the recipe tastier.
DATUK DR HASAN MAD
Secretary-General, Majlis Perundingan Melayu