Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A thought before slumber

Being a product of a Sekolah Kebangsaan, the presence of other types of schooling systems has never registered in my head.

The choice was to either go to a Chinese school or a Kebangsaan school. Although I do regret a little, the lack of the grasp of my mother tongue and language; growing up in a national school environment has enriched my life in ways impossible to imagine.

I am who I am, from the environment I grew up in, from the 'Tiang' game to 'Buaya' to 'Getah' and other one word creations to humor our young selves.

Now, being 24 and knowing personally, products of private or international institutions as well as people who send their children to those schools; I can see for myself first hand, the benefits of the alternate education system, the IP (international/private) schooling system.

Children from IP schools seem to be more opinionated and most importantly, have an opinion on things and this important trait can never be more underestimated. To teach children to think for themselves, to me is one gift that lasts a lifetime. We don't want a submissive society do we?

Of course not. Die lah if we have tyrants in the government. *ahem.

What about the quality of teachers?
Do IPs really have better teachers? I don't know about that and
I haven't been to school since 2005 but from the things we read and hear of with regards to national schools, it makes me nervous.
Rape cases in classrooms, children playing truant. I do know that times are a-changing and the children aren't what they were before.
It makes me want to pray that we would at least have enough good teachers to make positive imprints in children all over.

And oh, the YoYo-ness of the Malaysian education system? From English to Malay to English to Malay to English..haiyoh. Make up your mind please. And now, talk of abolishing UPSR and PMR. What next?

My plea to you is that even if you do make a decision, please stick to it long enough to really see the effects before starting on another round-about journey.

I'd like to make a poll and find out how many politicians, whose actions directly influences the lives of thousands of children actually send their children to national schools. Just to satisfy my curiosity.

Btw, IMHO, UPSR should stay but PMR may go. You do need some methods to measure students and UPSR allows us to gauge the levels of the children at the end of the Primary education, in order for us to better prepare them and find out the work cut out for us to guide them through the next phase of school.

And the best way to measure that is to have a STANDARD method of measurement. Logical right? But of course, it's different when you get to the pre-uni stage, that's why we have multiple methods to enter University.

Because grow up already mar-no need standardization all one..what for?

PMR? To me, it's not that important actually. Results should not be the only determinant on whether one goes on to do Science or Arts.

But then, the problem to me is not that we have too many examinations. The problem is we focus too much on excellence and strive solely towards that goal. With that, comes pressure-from parents, from school, from within children themselves. Because they know that excellence gets rewarded and failure equates punishment.

Maybe it's time to really focus our energy and spotlight on something else.
Like guiding children who need an extra hand and an understanding presence in this journey of school. We need to let our children in on a little secret, that it is okay to not do well in exams, so long as you did your best because the world is your oyster.
Like exploring the talents of our children and encouraging them, even if that means a string of alphabets in the report card instead of just A's.
Like celebrating children who overcame adversity to achieve what other people might perceive as 'mediocrity' but in actual fact, greatness of the spirit.

Why not we highlight children who embraces and epitomizes strong values? Like love, friendship, generosity, togetherness?
Why not we let such heroes remind ourselves and the children that what's important is just being true to yourself?

But I digress.

At this juncture, I really dread to think that one day, I would have to make that choice for my children, and I really want to do right by them. To give them the opportunities to fluorish.
But of course, if I have the money to spare that is, because IP don't come cheap you know.

Which is sad isn't it? When it is so difficult to make that decision. One that could make all the difference in the world.


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