Sunday, January 15, 2006

Mother Tongue in National Schools?

In an April announcement which I had supported wholeheartedly by the Ministry of Education (MoE) last year, Mandarin and Tamil were to be taught in national schools commencing the current academic year. It is everyone's believe that if implemented successfully, it may arrest the steep decline in enrolment from non-Malays to the national schools. It is a well-known statistic that 90% of non-Malays are enrolled in vernacular schools today, which leaves national schools comprising of 4% of non-Malay population.

However, much like the many well-intended policies of the Malaysian government, the delivery system of our national policies leaves much to be asked for. Despite having at least eight months after the announcement, and possible more prior to that, MoE has failed to deliver. As reported in the New Straits Times (NST):
Parents who may have wanted their children to benefit from the move will have to wait until 2008, when the Education Ministry will be better prepared for the move. This will entail, among others, more teachers, a proper syllabus and a viable implementation strategy... The ministry plans to introduce the actual subjects after the manpower, syllabus and textbooks are in order.
Eight months is a long time to get prepared for the new subjects in schools. The implementation of teaching the subjects, Mathematics and Science in English for our primary and secondary schools concurrently, which will clearly be infinitely more complicated, was done within a shorter period of time.

One can only hazard to guess at the level of incompetence of the civil servants at the Ministry of Education, probably compounded by a lethargic attitude, where "everything can be done tomorrow". I'm not surprised then, that the majority of the public translates the above inactions, rightly or wrongly, into a belief that the government is not sincere in its objectives to make national schools the preferred choice of schooling system for all Malaysians regardless of race or religion.

Compound the above with the slow but sure metamorphosis of our national schools into proto-religious schools as blogged here and here, it appears unfortunately that both the religious and vernacular educationist will have their way in dividing the Malaysian education system at the expense of national unity.


Collin Michael Nunis said...

They will never change. The habit of instilling false hope in the minds of Malaysians will continue among Government circles. Its up to us to conscientise them more and more, till Malaysian society gets the clearer and bigger picture.

Well, only time will tell.

ps: Can you do a write-up on double major s and why private UCs have to get permission from the Ministry of Higher Education to conduct double major programs?

Anonymous said...

why 2008?
is it because election, so BN can claim the credit?

Anonymous said...

This is happening as the politicians like to exploit the education issues in their hidden agenda. Still remember the by- election in kelantan not so long ago? The government promised a new public university setup in kelantan if they win. I wonder how do they muster all the resources and human capital to nurture our young minds to become professionals and future leaders. And what is the credibility and credential of the lecturers the new university is going to hire...

Anonymous said...

The minister always create the hoo-hah and then....that's it.... no more news ???!!!

Still remember we want to create "Junior College" to replace form six during the era of Datuk Dr Sulaiman (the education minister at that time), so what happen now ??

So as double major ???

What are the issue of implementing double major??

Australian unis have done successfully many years ago...

Why is it so hard to implement a new system ? Have a system, and let's those wants to do double major sign up...

Dato'Dr Shafie Salleh, please materialize what you have initiated....

If you are too busy to keep track
your ongoing project, get your personal aide to do...

I just read the personal laptop plan for every undergraduate...It's not feasible...just scrap it!!

Everybody can have fancy ideas, but whether they are workable, and eventually benefit our students lie in your planning and implementation!

Anonymous said...

I used to play a game called "World Game" before...

Basically different countries have to trade or exchage goods to fulfil each other needs...

But the end of game, although the world total resources are enough, we never achieve our goals at country level because of self-interest (embedded at country-level)

Just as the issue here in teaching mother tongue in national schools..

The keyword is resource allocation !

The irony is while we want teachers to teach "mandarin" in national schools, but we dont even recognise those who graduated from Taiwanese university to teach..

That's why, we have shortage!

Aren't they are better equiped to teach since they come back from chinese-speaking universities..

Still remember the news of a Chiba-trained Malaysian medical graduate whom can't have his medical degree recognised by MMC...

Come on... what's Malaysian health standard compared to Japanese one....

Since when we decide not to recognise medical degree from advanced countries...

What are their levels ??

They have superb health insurance system covering every citizen;

One out of five citizen is 65 years and above (life expectancy);

The medical treatment using stem cells technolgy is already here (now there is even better technology than by-pass the clogged arteries);

Where are we ??
Still, our MMC is arguing whether to recognise their degree !

My message is.... we must think a
bigger picture... and streamline our system...for betterment of our society!

That's your job, all the ketua pengarah and the bureaucrats!!

People's interest must come first!


Anonymous said...

It is not whether the national schools teach mandarin and tamil or not, that matters to non-malay parents sending their children to vernacular schools as a preference. It is the standards that actually matters. I think still 90% will think teaching mandarin and tamil in national schools will not improve its standard as a whole. This is as good as doing nothing. If the government thinks we are stupid, then they are worst than stupid. If the government thinks doing this can win votes, then they are damned wrong! More votes have already lost in the hearts of many Malaysians, at least for me and my family.

Anonymous said...

regarding the taiwanese university graduates, there are conflicts between the chinese characters used here in M'sian schools and the taiwanese system. The simplified version is adopted here in tandem with the China policy of using the simplified chinese since LONG TIME ago + diplomatic relations with China.
Nevertheless, the traditional(original) chinese characters are used widely in hong kong, macau, and taiwan. Similarly, most of our chinese dailies here are still applying the traditional methods of chinese characters. And here lies the gist of the conflicts. The government will certainly not hire the taiwanese graduates to teach in our schools in whatever streams. And thus, Beijing University graduates are preferred! :)

Anonymous said...

As far as simplied characters and traditional ways of writings, they are mere writings.

Anyone who has learned the traditional way of writing will know the simplified methods.

If I were not mistaken, our national type primary schools started to teach simplified
writings from 1982.

So you see, we are well versed in two versions...since we started our primary school prior to 1982.

Well...knowing both versions have the merits... not just because of Taiwan or Bejing..

But because....Koreans and Japanese too use Kanji...mostly the tradtional ones..

Even we cant read japanese word, we can grasp the meaning of the news headlines..

Remember the ASEAN + 3...

All the three members of East Asia
use Kanji...

Anonymous said...

Mandarin is not the mother tongue of the Chinese in Malaysia. Jus

Do the Indians in Malaysia promote the use of Hindi among Indians?