Monday, October 31, 2011

Our Children's Education, At Its Best ?

Pilot project for vocational training

SINGAPORE: A total of 50 schools have been selected to carry out a pilot project offering a subject on basic vocational training for students entering secondary school, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said.
Muhyiddin, who is also Education Minister, also said the subject would be offered to students in Form One to Form Three beginning next year and would be on a voluntary basis.
“We will issue them with certificates and if they want to continue after that, they can pursue vocational training until diploma level,” he said, adding that the subject would be taught during school hours.
He said the ministry had adequate manpower to teach the subject.
Quizzed: Muhyiddin (middle) asking hospitality student Michelle Yap (left) during his visit to the Institute of Technical Education.
Muhyiddin reiterated that this project was in line with plans to carry out a transformation of the existing vocational training model being used in the country.
He added that the ministry was keen to learn from Singapore’s model as, presently, 20% of those entering the republic’s schooling system opted for vocational training.
“At the moment, 70% of their vocational courses are based on practical applications while 30% involves theory.
“Although the Singaporean model is different, we are interested to learn from them as they started early,” he said during a press conference after his two-day official visit to the island nation recently.
While in Singapore, he visited the Institute of Technical Education College West to find out more about its vocational training.
During his trip, Muhyiddin had inspected the Tuas South Incineration Plant.
He said Malaysia would have to follow Singapore’s steps to build such incinerators as part of its long-term measures to manage solid waste in the country.
“Back home we have a lot of challenges, especially managing people’s concerns whenever we decide to build such a plant.
“But whatever system we use, it will be the best as in Singapore. They not only dispose of their waste this way, but also generate electricity with it,” he added.
On other matters discussed during the visit, Muhyiddin said all issues agreed by both countries, especially with regards to the handing over of KTMB land in Tanjung Pagar, the handing over of the Singapore water treatment plant to Johor and the development of property projects, were proceeding as planned.
“One issue that both parties have agreed to take to a mediator is the development charges imposed on certain pieces of land in Singapore,” he said.
Earlier, at dinner with about 250 Malaysians living in Singapore, Muhyiddin called for citizens to return home and contribute their skills to the country’s development.
He said the country was in need to professionals and those with these skills should think about returning to Malaysia.
“It is good that you have served the Singaporean community. Now it is time to think about Malaysia.
“There are many avenues for you, especially through Talent Corp,” he said in his speech during the dinner.
Muhyiddin added that talent is needed to fill at least three million jobs that will be created through the various economic and transformation models being carried out by the government.

Source: The Star - Saturday, October 29, 2011


Where we have gone wrong in education

DEPUTY Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has indicated a desire to learn from Singapore’s vocational and technical education.
May I point out that success in any field at higher levels does not happen in isolation?
A lot of work has to be done at the foundation so as to pave the way for such achievements to occur.
Trying to emulate whatever is happening at the top level without first scrutinising and doing the same at the foundation is bound to lead to failure.
As far as the Singapore model is concerned, it does not take much to see what they have been doing at the foundation.
At a very simplistic level and one that is obvious to all but those who refuse to see:
> HAVE only one national education system that caters to all;
> MEDIUM of instruction – English; and
> PAY the teachers well to attract the best to enter the profession.
Do we not realise that what Malaysia has done and is doing is directly the opposite to the above?
This is our situation:
> OUR education system is split: There exists national schools which are primarily Malay medium, national-type Chinese and Tamil schools, and private ones which cater to parents who want their children to have the advantage of learning in English.
> MULTIPLE mediums of instruction in school which multiply the difficulties for our children when they enter institutions of higher learning because of the lack of fluency in English, which is the medium used in most universities abroad.
And now with the imminent reversal of PPSMI, the problem of poor fluency in English in subjects for which a command of the language is of utmost importance in order to ensure progress will resurface.
> LOW and unattractive salary scale for the teaching profession.
The notion of trying to overcome problems by tackling the issue(s) at the wrong level is evident in the way the Government is trying to instill racial integration through programmes like National Service.
Does it make sense to tell the youth at age 17 or 18 to learn to live together with other races in harmony when they’ve lived out their entire formative years in racial isolation in schools which have segregated a majority of them by race?
Save the money currently being poured into National Service and use it to reboot the failing school system.
Put our children together in schools where, from a young age, they can interact with all races and a natural outcome of this will be racial integration.
Listen to the voices of Malaysians united across the racial divide, encompassing all ages, over the request to continue PPSMI for the benefit of our future generations.
Then maybe young Malaysians in future will instead have the upper hand and be able to teach the Singaporeans a thing or two about education instead of being condemned to lag behind them forever.
As a matter of interest, can the public be informed as to which schools the children/grandchildren of the politicians, who are against the PPSMI, are in?
If the PPSMI is not retained, can it be made mandatory for them to be enrolled in the national school so as to be able to get the “best” education possible for them?             
Kuala Lumpur.

Source: The Star - Sunday, October 30,2011

Don’t tinker with PPSMI

I REFER to the letter “Where we have gone wrong in education” (Sunday Star, Oct 30). I cannot agree with her more.
The Education Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, on an official visit to Singapore, sang praises about the vocational and technical education system in Singapore.
Did he fail to realise that as a whole, parents in Malaysia are envious of the good education system in Singapore?
It is not only vocational education alone that is worth emulating. The schools in Singapore are well funded, teachers are motivated, the standard of teaching is high.
But more importantly, they teach in English, the language of science, commerce, and diplomacy of the 21st century.
The National University of Singapore (NUS) ranks consistently as one of the top 30 universities in the world.
Universiti Malaya, the precursor institution of NUS before the two universities split in the 1960’s, struggles to stay within the top 200, despite numerous attempts by many vice-chancellors to improve its ranking.
This is an example of how our education system has deteriorated. It is all because of meddling by our politicians since the early 1960s.
Now we know why there are bus loads of school children crossing the check point in Johor Baru at 4am every morning.
Not something that you would want for your children if you do not believe that studying in English gives them an edge in the job market.
I cannot understand the statement made by Muhyiddin yesterday, that it would be ‘kucar kacir’ (chaotic) if parents are given the choice to choose the medium of instruction for Science and Maths.
This situation arose only because of the Education Ministry’s weak position on Teaching of Science and Maths in English.
I could sense that the level of English among our teenagers was improving because of this policy.
Malay, Chinese and Indian kids no longer give you a blank look when you speak to them in English.
The children themselves agree that their English is improving. So what if we do not have enough competent English teachers for now?
The teachers’ English proficiency will definitely improve over time.
Do not underestimate our children’s ability to cope on their own, with the help of the Internet, tons of study materials are available in English compared to Bahasa, and also the fervour of the parents helping their children with school work. We need at least 20 years to see results.
An entire generation of school children will benefit if this policy is carried through with strong will.
Unfortunately, our Cabinet, together with the ministry, saw it fit to again tinker with something that works, pandering to grouses of a few short-sighted Malay and Chinese educationists and numerous obscure pressure groups who may not even have school-going children!
I also find it extremely hypocritical that our ministers and senior politicians have no shame when they mention that their children are studying in international schools instead of national schools.
Why the need to study in international schools? Is it not because they can learn in English?
Why is the future of our children less important than theirs?
I urge the Deputy Prime Minister and his colleagues in the Cabinet to think again for the future of other people’s children, and do not back track on this policy of teaching of Science and Maths in English.
It is the only semblance of a good education the average child can hope for in this country.
Kuala Lumpur.

Source: The Star - Monday, October 31, 2011


Wan Sharif said...

Mmmmm.. Nice one.. Maybe kita tunggu Pokcik Al Manar kata apa..

Uncle Lee said...

Hi Ummie, lots of Malaysians migrate here to Canada, and initially we here really shocked at their very poor spoken English.
But within a year, they caught up and today many have exceeded expectations.

One Malaysian girl here was awarded the Queen Elizabeth award for outstanding achievements at her final year high school. She scored 99.9 in all subjects.
Today studying medicine.

And China today imports lots of Canadian teachers to teach English in their schools and universities....
I was surprised to chat with a few newly arrived Chinese students, and they spoke perfect English....
with a slight Canadian accent too.
Have a nice day...I enjoyed this posting.

Ummie said...

Educating children is about empowering them knowledge with good values.
If our aim has its initial value fail miserably,
even after producing cream de la cream children,
they are bound to lead lives
'how they want it to be',
'how it is supposed to be'.