Letter to Editor
PRIME Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s speech on Jan 22 at the Global Intellectual Discourse titled “The Next 100 Years: Vision 2100 for Malaysia” tells that the country’s failure to move forward in many areas, including education, was partly due to the obsession of some quarters in the Education Ministry who failed to acknowledge existing faults.
The prime minister cited Malaysia’s performance in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2022, which saw the nation ranking 51 out of 81 countries, specifically in Science, Mathematics and English.
Malaysia also ranked fourth in the 10-member Asean region, with Malaysia’s scores recording the biggest drop compared with Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam.
What are the factors contributing to the failure – and lethargic state – of our education system?
- Poor policy implementation, lack of accountability and the intrusion of politics into education.
- Recommendations of education-focused stakeholders had been ignored, highlighting the disregard for their input.
- Exam-oriented reading, which has led to a deterioration in the overall reading culture among students.
- Lack of collaborative approach between stakeholders and Education Ministry.
- Education Ministry resisting initiatives that aim to improve English language proficiency.
- Education system currently focuses solely on exam-oriented reading this destroying reading culture.
- Lack of support and interest by the Education Ministry for comprehensive and diverse approach to developing a well-rounded education system that extends beyond the confines of exam-focused content.
- Non-commitment from the Education Ministry to transform from content mastery to learning mastery which will develop critical thinking skills, problem-solving abilities and the capacity to transfer knowledge from one domain to other thus improving critical thinking, confidence and communication skills, particularly in English.
- Implementation deficiencies, and there is a lack of robust, authentic monitoring and evaluation of the system.
- Not committed for transparency and accountability to develop data-driven, evidence-based solutions.
- Avoiding rigorous baselining activities to be conducted to understand every student’s unique needs which will avoid the one-size-fits-all approach.
The above factors of failures are only tips of the iceberg, not exhaustive as there are others issue of “little Napoleons” to be solved by the Education Ministry to move our educational system which was once considered as a beacon light and torch-bearer for Southeast Asian countries.
There is a brain drain in our country where the minds are leaving the country or sending their children to international schools.
Why reinvent the wheel when we can find solution in from our international schools which are doing well?
Why not tweak and tinker with their system by improvising on them to implement it in our school? Yes, the Education Ministry may bring up the issue of lack of resources or other excuses as reasons but we cannot bring our education system to cancerous levels and to the point of no return.
PISA scores and many other indicators are sounding alarm bells that we are going downhill. Will these “red signs” be sufficient enough to rescue our future generations who are going to inherit the fortunes and misfortunes created, which our current generation are blatantly ignorant of due to their pride and ego?
Please, we must save the country educational system before it goes to the dogs. It is now or never to save the nation’s education system from its rot by putting aside the “maruah” of the Education Ministry simply to save Malaysia’s future. – Jan 26, 2024
Seremban, Negri Sembilan
The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.