The glorious and triumphant return of now-19 year old Blogger, the revival of a once-grand and dare I say influential webspace that produced daily content, and the crippling anxiety of a young woman who no longer has any time or motivation to write, and feels like any ability she had acquired in the past through repetition and sheer will alone is now slowly slipping out of her grasp. Brief history of the Blog and Blogger can be found here.

Here be personal journal entries, observations, slices of life, questions and conclusions, as well as exploration of social and political topics seen through the lens of a Malaysian Muslim, feminist, lesbian, Marxist, and horse enthusiast.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Stranding

I'm not good with thinking and writing at the same time unless it's on this here page, with the handy dandy orange Publish Post button and the calming blue Save Now button so killing two birds with one stone, I'm going to try to answer Michelle's interview question things as logically and with as much sense as possible. Wish me luck.

What do you think about the Malaysian education system? Is it good/bad?
As a developing nation, I can say with confidence that the government has done the best that they can in regards to the education system. As a student, of course, I find flaws in the littlest things because it takes a lot of willpower to wake up at the crack of dawn and actually be expected to enjoy six and a half hours of education; however, from an entirely third-party point of view, I find that the Malaysian education system is sufficient. Lately, more and more windows of opportunities have been opened for students of all ages and races, and the quality of those opportunities, not to mention the equality those opportunities are based upon, is what makes me say that as of right now, Malaysia has a more than adequate education system.

Pros/cons of the local education system?
Personally, I don't really enjoy the Malaysian education system, and I use the term 'enjoy' here because it's not meant for people to like. The law on education has been enforced in such a way to ensure that everyone gets equally educated and fair's fair that way. However, as I've learned from first hand experience, it's not really for the best. My school faces issues with kids from the lower classes getting treated unfairly because they're not generally deemed "smart enough" and therein lies the problem. In other countries' education systems, or even in the different methods of teaching and studying applied in private or international schools here in Malaysia, students have more of a grasp on what they are capable of and what they aren't. The public education systems serves well and proper as a public education system, and as such, systematically ensures equality. But there are students who can't catch up, be it from the fact that they are lazy or maybe the fault lies squarely on the shoulders of the teachers, feel ostracized, intellectually, from those who are excelling. 

Then there is a bigger problem. Speaking as a humble fifteen year old, knowledge to me is something sacred. It's something that everyone should have a thirst for and should gladly accept, wherever the source. It's not just the fact that it seems as if students are being handed information and expected to process it on their own, it's also the fact that everything seems to orbit around exams. Exams and tests, major or minor, is the only goal they're working towards. While getting an A might not be the worst thing to focus on, the fact that it's the only thing they are supposed to focus on worries me. They take whatever information they have learned at school and that's their quota of knowledge for the day. The UPSR/PMR/SPM curriculum is their quota of knowledge for those eleven years of public high school. It seems as if they don't want to take the initiative to want to learn more, to broaden their horizons and it's sad because there's a world of knowledge out there outside of their textbooks. It's kind of restricting, to their intellect and to their identity, to make them focus purely on straight A's. Those are the bad aspects of it. 

The good is already stated. It's fair. Of course being a developing country, when Malaysia first started developing its very own education system, they chose to focus on fairness. We're a multiracial country. We can't expect everyone to learn Mandarin or Tamil. Whatever the outcome, I still think it's great that they're placing emphasis on Bahasa Malaysia because it is, after all, our national language. I also think they've made a great effort to ensure everyone is comfortable with the English language. Language can be a bit of a testy subject, because on the one hand, Bahasa Malaysia is something so uniquely ours, that it would be the biggest waste to throw it away, but on the other, English is global, a language generally understood in every country. The fact that Malaysia's been struggling with the issue of language in regards to education is a good thing, actually, in my opinion. We're growing and developing as a country and it's good that these things are being taken into consideration. 

How can it be improved?
Besides the emphasis on extra curricular activities, I'd suggest that students be allowed to expand their intellectual horizons in class itself. Using the general public education system, they're not really exposed to what type of things they are going to be learning for chosen careers until the last two forms of their secondary school life and so before that, their knowledge scope is entirely restricted to the PMR format. Of course teachers sometimes veer off course and teach something that's not on the curriculum but other than that, there are only a handful of students who actively seek out knowledge.

I can't say specifically what will improve the current education system but I do know that I want students to be taught, from the youngest age possible, to enjoy learning and to love knowledge because education doesn't stop after SPM, or after university. It's an ongoing thing; the world is evolving and changing daily and there's new things to learn everyday and to be intelligent is more than earning good grades.

Overall opinion on the subject.
See first question?

This was better than last night's and I fixed some minor errors. Good luck and all of that, Michelle! 

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