I recently transferred my children from a private school to a government school.
My husband decided that it would be better for us to save the money for their tertiary education, after reading of many high achievers losing out on tertiary education because their parents couldn’t afford to send them and because of the quota system.
Moreover, since both of us were products of government schools and turned out fine, we felt that no matter which school a child was in, what mattered was their individual attitude towards studying.
However, in the last three months since their transfer to a Government school, my children have often complained that they do not have teachers for some of the lessons.
In fact, my younger son in primary school has yet to see his science teacher.
What’s even more horrifying is that no replacement teachers are sent to these classes and students are left to their own devices.
When a teacher doesn’t show up in class for a lesson, that’s considered one day of learning wasted.
Sometimes, there are over-enthusiastic teachers who try to make up for lost time by giving each student with many pages of workbook assignments.
Then, there are other teachers who use workbooks as a “tool” to keep the class quiet and “ground” them.
They do not teach, nor do they offer any input or explanation on the topic of the day, but insist that the students complete the assigned work from the workbook.
When my children were in the private school, all books that were on the booklist were used in class.
Parents also knew if their children needed to complete their outstanding work or if they had behavioural problems through homework diaries.
We also didn’t need to send them for tuition like we do now.
What I am trying to stress is that learning can only happen when teaching is consistent.
Similarly, how can we be sure that the teaching of Maths and Science in Bahasa Malaysia would be better if the teaching in itself is not consistent?
Teachers should come to class for every lesson to teach and explain if students do not understand.
Replacement teachers should be sent to class if the actual teacher is sick, away attending a course, or on leave.
A case in point is the Indian Education system, where Hindi is a compulsory subject in many states.
Every student must know how to speak, read and write Hindi, but other subjects are taught in English.
The world’s best doctors, engineers, IT professionals come from India.
It is a nation of different cultures, languages, religions and with an economy that’s now booming.
A child’s mind continuously develops and this is the best time to mould them.
Idle minds become destructive minds. If we want an innovative and productive generation, then educators and implementors of the education system should look into improving the quality of education instead of focusing on language alone.
This is the only way forward for Malaysia to remain relevant and competent.
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The Star Online: 10 Ogos 2008