Our education system a big failure

by Richard Teo

Make no mistake. Contrary to what our DPM said in NST on 10th August, our country’s education is one big flop. Najib would be deluding Malaysians to say that the education system was a big success and attribute this success to his father.

Tun Razak, the father of Najib was the culprit responsible for the current malaise facing the present education system. As the Education Minister, he abolished the English medium of education and introduced the Bahasa Melayu medium. In one stupendous decision his action caused the loss of one generation of English-speaking students.

Prior to the abolishment of the English medium of education we were the envy of many countries in Asia. Foreign tourists who went to the most remotest part of our country were pleasantly surprised that practically everyone they met could converse in the
Queen’s language. That was in the early fifties.

Today, even top government civil servants and the judiciary can hardly string two words of English. Is this how we define success in our education system? If this is Najib’s definition of success then either he is blind to the pathetic state of the education system or he is totally oblivious to what is happening in the country.

On reflection it would be fair to say that the failure of the education system gave a life -line to vernacular schools.

Prior to the change in the medium of education from English to Bahasa Melayu, vernacular schools were closing down for lack of student enrolment. Slowly but surely many of the vernacular schools were decimated.

However to be fair it was not the change in the medium of instruction that caused the popularity of vernacular schools. It was the slow and not subtle degeneration of the National Schools to religious schools that caused the mass exodus of Chinese and
Indians to their respective vernacular schools.

Today, remnants of the failure of our education remains like a sore thumb.Teachers and headmasters of one race dominate every school. Not ordinary teachers but staunch religious teachers who never miss an opportunity to extol the virtues of their religion.
Every morning and every recess, prayers are recited and non-Muslims students are expected to tolerate such feverish display of religiosity.

Today, our education system churns out 80,000 unemployed graduates. All of them bear living testimony of a failed education system. And yet our DPM has the gall to say that our education system is a big success. Wake up Najib. No matter what yardstick you use, the education system is a big failure.

  1. #1 by sybreon on Sunday, 12 August 2007 - 5:05 am

    I do agree that our education system needs a massive overhaul. It needs to be dragged kicking and screaming to meet the needs of the 21st century. Education is a major issue and needs to be tackled correctly. Otherwise, we risk ruining the lives of another generation of Malaysians. However, I also realise that the issue is a massively complex one.

    I wonder if the DAP might set up a small working group/committee to come up with a short list of ideas on how to appropriately overhaul the system. Working with a similar budget level as in the current RM, I’d be interested to see what kind of different changes that DAP might make.

    I also have a few questions about DAP’s vision for education in Malaysia. From the DAP website:

    1) Implementation of a seamless system of education;
    This sounds very grand but what does the DAP actually mean by this? I’m not familiar with the concept of a “seamless” system of education. A Google search doesn’t help much.

    2) Full recognition of the right to mother tongue education.
    What does it mean by “full” recognition? Most importantly, how would the DAP address the segregation presented by our current vernacular education system and promote unity?

    3) Opposition to the 1996 National Education Act.
    I’m not familiar with which bits of the Act are evil (IANAL) but, I would still be interested to know how the DAP would like to amend this act.

  2. #2 by zack on Sunday, 12 August 2007 - 6:01 am

    its a pity that LKS has to insult the good deeds of Tun Razak. Looking at from a norrow perspective and of course the DAP will see that our educational system has failed. However, English is not the only yardstick that our system should be measured with. This shows that LKS is simply looking for faults and to critictise for sake of doing it. After 50 years of independence surely with all the development, I truly believed that the system is god and sound. To have a respected leader to say this is indeed sad. To show it meant with he say then LKS need to show and prove the system weaknesses but not to just say that Malaysian can’t speak Queen’s English well.

  3. #3 by malaysia born on Sunday, 12 August 2007 - 7:47 am

    When i read the statement by our DPM, i didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

    There are many times when i am at the Monorail stations and whenever a foreigner try to ask for directions to somewhere or inquired about the Monorail services, one would either get a dumb look form an equally dumb personnel from the other side of the counter or the inquiry would be met with an answer in Malay! Do they jokers expect these foreign tourists to understand them? Are we expecting ALL foreign tourists to undergo a month intensive course in Bahasa Malaysia before coming over here as tourists?

    Slowly and surely we are losing our competitiveness with our lose of the English language and those idiots in the Government are NOT even aware of at all.

    How are we going to go forward? How are we going to progress? If you people are comfortable in being a backward bunch, please do not stop those of us who are yearning to go forward. If you like to be stupid, go ahead but that does not mean that we want to stupid as you too.

    “Our education system is a success”. He doesn’t even know what is the meaning of success.

  4. #4 by wtf2 on Sunday, 12 August 2007 - 9:07 am

    i do wonder how are the Universities going to be of research class quality when so many Quality students are not admitted due to the NEP.

  5. #5 by rookie on Sunday, 12 August 2007 - 9:25 am

    “wtf2 Says:

    August 12th, 2007 at 09: 07.05
    i do wonder how are the Universities going to be of research class quality when so many Quality students are not admitted due to the NEP.”

    This is not the point. The point is almost all renowned journals (from Finance to Engineering) are written in English. I doubt that the average under-graduate from local universities would comprehend the articles in the journals with ease.

  6. #6 by bystander on Sunday, 12 August 2007 - 10:04 am

    To say the education system is a big failure is an understatement. Its not just the standard of English but all standards one can think of have dropped from English to teachers, principals, Vice Chancellor, university standards, quality of doctors etc etc etc. so much so we are able to produce unemployable graduates. WHY?
    Because the education system is TOTAL FAILURE. period. But Najib and UMNO will deny and sweep it under carpet.

  7. #7 by Jeffrey on Sunday, 12 August 2007 - 10:06 am

    “Our education system is a success”. He doesn’t even know what is the meaning of success – malaysia born.

    Aiyah, Richard Teo, don’t get too worked up over what he said. He is a politician. And Politicians seek popularity and speak nice things depending on occasions, so platitudes are common. This is usual political yarn to be distinguished from statement of policies that deserve our greater attention and closer scrutiny. :)

    In context, DPM was speaking in a dinner gathering of three premier fully residential schools (for Malays) Sekolah Tuanku Abdul Rahman of Ipoh, Sekolah Datuk Abdul Razak of Seremban and Sekolah Tun Fatimah of Johor Baharu, at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre on occasuion of their 50th anniversary with his cousin Education Minister Hishammuddin present and frankly I would be surprised that in context the DPM as a politician would have said otherwise adding a slap on his cousin’s face as well. (Just like his statement about Malaysia being an “Islamic state”, it was made when addressing an international conference on “The Role of Islamic States in a Globalized World” organized by IKIM, one can imagine the joke if he said Malaysia was a secular state!)

    Leaving political talk aside, if one takes the issue a little more seriously to evaluate the statement in terms of its merits – and assuming success means accomplishing favorable results in terms of objectives/benchmarks – then whether DPM knows what he is talking about depends on (1) what benchmarks/objectives have been set by him in relation to education and whether they are reasonable benchmarks/objectives in the context of education that they are referenced against and (2) whether in relation to those objectives/benchmarks, it is true that they have been accomplished.

    Unless we make critique based on such breakdown, it will otherwise be meaningless and discussion may churn in circles.

    From what he said the benchmarks are broadening and making available (ie democratization) of education having regard to sector comprising his constituency (though this was not explicitly stated).

    But he did refer to “Razak Statement” in 1956 in which he called for the establishment of Malay secondary schools and STAR, SDAR and STF were the result of that policy which Najib said “revolutionised” Malaysia’s education system by making education available to all (“all meaning his constituency). According to NST, Najib said that these schools provided students with the right environment to mould them as future leaders.
    “In one generation — the children of poor farmers, fishermen, the lower working class, and the lowest ranking civil servants — could all achieve new heights of success.

    “From among these children, we now have national leaders, corporate leaders and those who are enjoying success in their careers.”This is the success of our education system in having democratised education by making it available to all.

    “Today, students from poor rural areas, from families who are in dire poverty, all have a chance to pursue their education.”

    Is it wrong from his constituency viewpoint ? (Failure or success of education system to him is, in this context, from perspective of more of his constituency, and if we are looking larger national context, we’re out of point). Is it not true based on this limited parameters that the government has given educational opportunities to Malay Malaysians from public funds a lot of which from non malays who have not enjoyed proportionate return on their contributions?

    Again if you raise “standard of English” then you’re talking of qualitative rather than quantitative but Najib is probably emphasizing the quantitative being more important first step before qualitative, I am not too sure, and besides there’s also the nationalistic thing about BM being more important than English. Take Dr Azly Rahman who is fluent in English and beneficiary of policies defended by Najib. Has the education system been successful in his case? Maybe yes depending from which perspective. If you’re looking at 80,000 unemployed graduates who are not proficient in English, then I guess the educational system has failed Malay Malaysians as well. If you talking about standard of integrity or ethics of governance as evinced by our present crop of politicians, then you say it for me whether our education system has succeeded………..

  8. #8 by Jonny on Sunday, 12 August 2007 - 10:29 am

    Well, the visiting tourists from Middle East speak better English than us. Better command of English. Don’t be surprised.

    Mostly who don’t speak good English would be tourists from East Asia. But that is a small problem. We’re multilingual. But that soon will change very soon.

    No way we can catch up that fast. LOST GENERATIONS!

    By making most of us dumb. Feeding us unworthy entertainment news ala Akademi Fantasia, Pop Idol and so forth –

    We’re being kept dumb. Mediocre. Submissive. And vote them in again.

    In education system. It is all about Aku Janji. Aku Turut.

    2008 shall be the beginning of the major fall.

    Singapore shall be well cushioned due to their long-term planning bringing in billions of investment via their casino and high-end property development.

    Here, despite the over trillion ringgint trade (Export + Import), we still need beg for ‘good’ interest rate from China to build 2nd Penang Bridge.

    And further, construction work sub-contracted out to China company????

    What the heck is happening here? Why not just dish the project direct to China company, minus the loan interest and eliminate the middle-man?

  9. #9 by yellowkingdom on Sunday, 12 August 2007 - 10:32 am

    Thank you, Richard Teo, I could not agree more. zack, please read carefully that the article was NOT written by YB LKS.

    It is indeed sad for DPM to extol our education system, when the appalling state of our unemployed graduates bears testimony to its abject failure.

  10. #10 by Jackychin on Sunday, 12 August 2007 - 10:34 am

    Start looking at our primary education system for starters, the demand of tution classes is an indication of a huge failure in goverment servents as teachers to do their job properly, not just only English, but in every aspect/subject of our education system; Arrogant teachers beating up students? Students beating up teachers? Just how many arrogant people are there in our school today? Just what do our schools are teaching our childern today? Despise our childern had to pay money and time in tution classes to relearn every subject that has been taught in school, just what morals are teachers showing our childern by spilling their fury to kids? Yet, most may advise to “Understand” the behaviour of the teachers, and accept the situation there is today…This I surely cannot “Understand”…

  11. #11 by undergrad2 on Sunday, 12 August 2007 - 11:12 am

    The rot started much earlier than most think. It started in the late 50s and surged in the mid-70s when UMNO politicians started meddling with the country’s education system to suit their own political ends, and at the same time sending their children overseas for their education – even secondary education when there were many good schools like the Penang Frees, Anderson, MCKK, STAR, St. Michaels, St. Xaviers, VI, Tunku Khursiah Malay Girls, MARA College, Bukit Bintang Girls to name a few.

    It reflects their lack of confidence in a system they helped to build. When the country had only one university, with English as the medium of instructions our degrees were recognized abroad. This was later to change with the switch from English to Bahasa.

    UMNO politicians rode on the wave of narrow Malay nationalism, changing the medium of instruction from English to Malay etc. This was taking place when other countries that did away with the language of their former colonial masters found that it affected their competitiveness in term of commerce and international relations, and were taking steps to improve their fluency in those languages mainly the English language. A good example would be Indonesia.

    A Japanese businessman in Tokyo marveled at how Malaysians were able to speak English and they cannot. The same cannot be said today as Malaysians struggled in the use of the English language. With globalization, the issue of the control of a language like the English language has taken on an unprecedented urgency.

    The switch to another language from English was to be a precursor to a more serious form interference and intervention i.e. a re-structuring of the syllabus, the kind of textbooks used etc. This completes the process of nationalizing education in the country.

    Some three decades later we are finding out that our national education policy has been shortsighted and so dangerously out of sync with events round the world, and at time when the world is fast turning to one ‘globalized’ village.

    The time has come for our leaders both politicians and academics. local and international, to sit together to discuss what to do with the rot that has started decades earlier. It is never too late but only if we recognize that politics has no role in the education of our young.

  12. #12 by madmix on Sunday, 12 August 2007 - 11:25 am

    The failure has nothing to do with english not being taught. You can teach in any language and still be a success. It has to do with the quality of teachers and those who run the education system. The best and brightest, malays especially, can get far more rewarding jobs in terms of wages and promotions than teaching. What is left to go into teaching are from the bottom of the pile. In the old days when job prospects were not that good, you get a lot of brilliant people who would today be top managers, doctors, engineers etc. going into teaching.

  13. #13 by UFOne on Sunday, 12 August 2007 - 11:45 am

    If Malaysia wishes to be cemerlang, gemilang dan terbilang academically, her standard will have to be improved in leaps and bounds. She will have to learn from countries which are known for their education excellence. Nearest to her is her fierce rival, Singapore. Further afield is U.K. and U.S.A. It is pointless giving the best academic position to someone qualified from these countries if she or he does not have the cooperation from all sectors and from the government. Bahasa Malaysia was used as the only medium of instruction in schools and in work because of the political element and political agenda in it. It is meant to glorify oneself. Bahasa Malaysia now can be considered as cemerlang, gemilang and terbilang. In return, the high price that had to be paid is people going away with the idea that the world revolves around Bahasa Malaysia alone. Teachers and lecturers painstakingly translate all the English language notes into Bahasa Malaysia notes. The full meaning that is intended in the original notes are removed because there is no such word for it. In order to come up with the perfect Bahasa Malaysa translation, you actually need specialised professional linguists. Not just any Tom, Dick and Harry teacher or lecturer who thinks she can translate or who thinks she is good enough to translate all the words. So it will be just continuous editing until time runs out and the final version has to be printed by hook or by crook and yet people still question about the actual meaning of the words used. Then when Malaysians are given the opportunities to move out of their snail shell, they are shocked to know that it has been an illusion all this while. Bahasa Inggeris is still the main language of communication in the world. Not only does Malaysia’s education system needs to be improved but also the teaching profession itself. Both the teaching profession and the learners equally need to be cemerlang, gemilang and terbilang. Cemerlang, gemilang and terbilang does not mean how one looks like, how one clothes herself, how one carries herself; the core importance should be whether she or he has so much of the subject knowledge to impart to the learners who are eager to learn as much as possible and not sitting around waiting to be spoonfed. There is a need to stop preaching and to do what is already preached before and what is being preached repetitiously. If not, we are just going to continue to preach, to dream and let the world passes us by. We will still remain in the same condition but being able to deceive ourselves with the rhetoric of cemerlang, gemilang and terbilang.

  14. #14 by pulau_sibu on Sunday, 12 August 2007 - 12:25 pm

    I think the new ranking by Shanghai Jiaotong University is out. What is the ranking of boleh u?

  15. #15 by raven77 on Sunday, 12 August 2007 - 12:41 pm

    The problem is leadership….especially Najib and Badawi…..they have no support….and therefore have to resort to idiotic statements and not reading the writing on the wall…….the switch from English to Malay by Razak was the single most important factor that destroyed the fabric of our society. It divided the races forever as everyone, even including the Malays couldn’t tolerate the Malay (‘national”) schools. And so the popularity of vernacular schools. But Malaysia will never have the leadership that has balls enough to admit this and reinstate English schools…..[deleted]

  16. #16 by dawsheng on Sunday, 12 August 2007 - 12:46 pm

    The whole country is a big failure not just the education system, but it did play a big part in failing the country. There is only one reason for all these blunders, Malaysians and their racist politics.

  17. #17 by RealWorld on Sunday, 12 August 2007 - 12:48 pm

    I think I must agree there are some flaws in our present education system.
    Looking at the likes of devilmaster (DAP Ipoh punya member), who claimed that I plundered the nation’s wealth but cannot produce the proof and instead of having a meaningful debate threatened with his “Beware of my fiery retaliation” threats. Called his country names i.e. Bolehland.

    And Godfather, who see himself as “I am a Rottweiler”. A dog, an animal.

    We sure do have some flaws in our system, yes sir!

  18. #18 by Daniel Quah on Sunday, 12 August 2007 - 12:51 pm

    BM is important than English..don’t u guy see the bigger picture..in future we can communicate with Indo the world 4th largest population. so why learn English…? Wake Up Najis..ur eyes show u still day dreaming..start listen to people, UMNO may have their prinsip but they should know when to admit wrong and start listen to ppl instead..

  19. #19 by AhPek on Sunday, 12 August 2007 - 1:00 pm

    For starters let me point out to Zack that if he wants to be a critic, he must first need to know who he must criticise.His little carelessness (or it might not be) may also be a tell-tale sign of our education.Then secondly,just take a look at Zack’s statement “After 50 years of independence surely with all the development, I truly believed that the system is good and sound”.How can one take that great leap of reasoning to arrive at pronouncing that the education must be good simply because of the 50 years of independence and development.It confounds the rules of logic.May I also say that some mega projects we have
    here is also reckless spending of public funds maybe designed to line someone’s pockets.Just take a look at the recent complaints about buildings, court houses collapsing roads etc etc.The funniest part is nobody is to be blamed.
    Anyway if we ask a foreigner to look at our education system I am pretty sure he’ll come away with the impression that our eduction system=tuition.Tuition centres are everywhere.Teachers are more interested in giving tuition rather than teaching.THIS IS A GLARING ASPECT OF EDUCATION HERE.No emphasis is given to activities like sports,play acting, debating and any other activity deemed necessary to make a well-rounded person out of the pupil.Look at the primary student with his huge load of burden on his back dragging his feet to school.Why must the education department so keen to dish out so many unnecessary subjects to a person of such a young age? Don’t you see that all we succeed in doing is stifling their young little growing brains? You will also kill their curiosity which is basic to a nation with inventiveness.On the flip side, take a look at New Zealand. The primary school kids have spring on their feet going to school.Their school bags are very very much lighter.Besides arithmetics, story telling is strongly emphasised in schools and story telling is no one way traffic for the teacher has to listen to story telling from the pupils too.By doing this their mastery of the language can be improved, their articulateness is encouraged (for they are also asked to tell story to the class) their creativity and curiosity are stirred.Because you place emphasis on story telling which all children love to do you are creating a lot of opportunities to develop their brains.And PLAY is also an important aspect of school.NO such thing as UPSR there.UPSR is a test of how well you can regurgitate facts not how well you can develop a person and that’s what an education should be all about!!!

  20. #20 by Jeffrey on Sunday, 12 August 2007 - 1:12 pm

    One aspect that needs highlighting is the focus nowadays for teachers not to just teach and impart knowledge and supposedly transmit correct values, but to raise funds. I am not just limiting to those who give private tuitions on their own but who are also directed frequently by the school/headmasters to raise funds from all kinds of extra-mural and extra curricular activities like funfairs, dinners, tours etc ostensibly to finance better infrastructure facility of schools. This is not confined to vernacular schools complaining inadequate funding from government but also national schools…Who is getting kickback from contractors, canteen operators, salesmen providing goods and services for these activities?

    One thing for sure there is sure many a role model imparting to young and impressionable minds materialistic than ethical values.

    Now we have this supposedly beneficiary of the education system who made it under the education system to qualify as a doctor, a gynaecologist to be exact.

    According to page 12 of The Star 12th August, this gynaecologist wanted to take on and threatened to sue NBC over a documentary in which he was portrayed as bad “guy” implicated in human trafficking involving a Filipina Lannie Erecito “rescued” by her uncle/former marine Troop and his ex FBI friend Jerry Howe. The drama has been reported in Malaysiakini and raised in RPK’s Malaysia Today and may be read in this link too: http://powerpresent.blogspot.com/2007/08/more-pics-nbc-dramatic-rescue-of.html

    Aside from unsavory allegations reported by NBC’s Dateline, which have yet to be proven, what is noted here is that the gynaecologist had publicly confirmed that as part time business he brought in 16 Filipino singers (of whom Lannie Erecito was one) to sing at hotels in Penang, that they were paid RM700 monthly and provided free food, accommodation, transportation and equipment to practise, and the gynaecologist did not rebut the allegations that the Filipinas signed 8 years contract and had their passports withheld by him to ensure compliance…..

    It raises several issues one of which is whether it is a bit odd to say the least that our educational system has produced doctors, gynaecologist, to wit, who for the sake of money has entered into this kind of part time business besides practicing their profession – medical, which is traditionally a very high calling – and whether it is a reflection of professional standards for such a thing to have occurred.

    I would urge the Malaysian Medical Council (MMC) to look into this matter whether he is still a licensed gynaecologist as he alleged and clarify to the public whether, in the context of its professional rules, it is ordinary to allow some of its more entrepreneurial members to moonlight under such type of business involving getting poor foreign women signing up a 8 year contract that is like debt bondage and having their passports withheld to ensure compliance, and what would this do or not do to the image of this noble profession and repute of doctors generally and gynaecologist in particular if allowed.

    You would only have to ask yourself if you are a women who will need to have a gynaecologist examine your intimate bodily parts whether you would feel at ease if you know that he is also involved for money in entertainment business of recruiting foreign women committed under long term contract with their passports held back : would you not look around to see if there are hidden cameras?

  21. #21 by Godfather on Sunday, 12 August 2007 - 2:00 pm

    Our education system somehow has produced UMNO poodles who parrot a lot, can’t think for themselves, and worship their masters blindly. Our education system at least can produce some with spin qualities. Not bad at all.

  22. #22 by jack on Sunday, 12 August 2007 - 2:19 pm

    # zack Says:
    August 12th, 2007 at 06: 01.08

    its a pity that LKS has to insult the good deeds of Tun Razak. Looking at from a norrow perspective and of course the DAP will see that our educational system has failed. However, English is not the only yardstick that our system should be measured with. This shows that LKS is simply looking for faults and to critictise for sake of doing it. After 50 years of independence surely with all the development, I truly believed that the system is god and sound. To have a respected leader to say this is indeed sad. To show it meant with he say then LKS need to show and prove the system weaknesses but not to just say that Malaysian can’t speak Queen’s English well.

    to Zack:
    I do agree with your opinion but only to a certain extend. Of course the ability of speaking good English was not the only yardstick to measure the system. However, Richard is just pointing out one of the example to show that why our education system fails. You can see that through the university graduates which they had produced.The Industries will speak the truth that most of our graduates are not capable enough to make their own decisions.

    There is no point as well for appreciating a good deeds of other people when the result was a failure itself.

  23. #23 by k1980 on Sunday, 12 August 2007 - 3:17 pm

    Najib’s assertion that the Malaysian education system was a big success is based on comparing the above system with that of Somalia, Congo and the like. However, whereas top Malaysian government civil servants and the judiciary can hardly string two words of English, the Somalians and the Congolese can manage to string three words of English. So our system is not much better than theirs, despite the vast amount of funds being channeled into it

  24. #24 by devilmaster on Sunday, 12 August 2007 - 3:52 pm

    “I think I must agree there are some flaws in our present education system.” – RealWorld

    Definitely. Even with the help of NEP, RealWorld still could not get the best teacher to tell him the difference between “allegation” & accusation”. He keeps on thinking any comments not acceptable to him as “threat”. We already have a very good example here.

    And calling others as Rottweiler, haizzz.. that’s confirm RealWorld fellow is a failure of our education system. No manners at all.

    You still owe me an apology, dude. But with the current standard of education, not sure whether your school have taught its pupils to admit mistakes or not.

    The link here to refresh your memory

  25. #25 by ablastine on Sunday, 12 August 2007 - 5:25 pm

    I think the following should be done to reverse the deplorable state of education in Malaysia.

    1. Revert back to English as the main medium of instruction.

    2. Leave religion out of the main syllabus except for their historical prespective.

    3. Increase the pay of teachers and do not discriminate them according to race and religion but on talent, skills and qualification.

    4. Do not practice racial discrimination in the administrative structure of the teaching service.

    5. Leave racial quota out for Universities entrance and practice only meritocracy in the selection process. .

    6. More equality in the distribution of State scholarships.

    7. Slight increase in fundings for education but more importantly ensure that funds made available does not end up lining the pocket of powerful politicians.

    As it is now I am sure NON of the above will be implemented just as I think affirmative policies will be into perpetuality. This terrible addiction has steadily and surely weaken all foundations of our nation (not only education) and how can we expect a nation so weakened to stand and fight. BUT there are times when it is least expected, when all hope is lost, that a giant of men, a saviour comes along and reverse the entire course of histroy. It is my fervent hope that our saviour has arrived and the time is now.

  26. #26 by boh-liao on Sunday, 12 August 2007 - 6:02 pm

    People should not think normally because our politicians do not. The education system that Najib claimed is a great success is not the normal education system that people talked about here.

    Please remember that in Malaysia there are many educational routes within our multiple education systems. The system that Najib talked about is the route primarily for Malays: residential schools, Mara junior science colleges, matriculation system, pusat asasi sains, followed by local or overseas higher education – and to him, this system is a resounding success, enabling Malays of rich and poor families to move up the social ladder very quickly, even within one generation, through state-supported education.

    This is truly a success story. Among the Malays who went through this education system, a large proportion of them speak and write excellent English – in fact, in many residential schools and Mara junior science colleges, English is widely used. Furthermore, students of these special schools and colleges do not take STPM. They follow the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program, an international program.

    So, when our politicians speak, their talks are not meant for the entire population but for a specific group of people. That’s why different people who listen have different reactions.

  27. #27 by k1980 on Sunday, 12 August 2007 - 6:36 pm

    If ablastine’s 7-point proposal above is implemented, umno will be thrashed in every constituency it stands in the GE. All the BN ministers would be busking for a living near Puduraya bus station. Got spare coins, anyone?

  28. #28 by kevin on Sunday, 12 August 2007 - 7:12 pm

    its a big failure
    very big
    most of the gov servant doesnt know how to speak english..then how could they serve in govern sector?just look at the student at our local university,most of them dnt know how to speak english..people like this got no problem to enter university..got no problem to get job in govern sector..its really not fair..so if weak in english,and not accepted in government sector,like me,i dnt have any choice,i have to seek job oversea,but luckily im not stupid like tan sri muhammad bin muhammad taib..i can speak english very well,and english is the main language oversea..and im very shocked that even foreign worker that doesnt have basic education can speak english better than tan sri muhammad bin muhammad taib

    so,those that feel their english is very weak,dont depend on your teacher at school,u got to study by yourself

  29. #29 by RealWorld on Sunday, 12 August 2007 - 7:17 pm

    “Definitely. Even with the help of NEP, RealWorld still could not get the best teacher to tell him the difference between “allegation” & accusation”. – devilmaster

    Where is your proof boy? You really got up step up to the plate. As a DAP member, is that all you can do. Making empty allegations? You really gotta show proof that I plundered the nation’s wealth. Put your money where your mouth is boy. Or is that the DAP Ipoh branch’s style … making empty and baseless allegations??

    I guess having an education, didnt do you any good, boy.

    As for your threat, “Beware of my fiery retaliation” thingy, I guess that must be the DAP Ipoh main branch modus operandi. I am sure the rakyat will accept such a method ” vote DAP or beware of fiery retaliation from DAP”.

    I feel sorry for you for having nothing but empty allegations and rants.

    Anyway, knock yourself out spinning baseless allegations here. I got a plane to catch later tonight. I am going to enjoy myself watching Liverpool vs Chelsea live.


  30. #30 by devilmaster on Sunday, 12 August 2007 - 7:45 pm

    Now started to chide me as “boy”?

    running out of ideas, eh? Still fail to pin me down with all your childish comments?

  31. #31 by devilmaster on Sunday, 12 August 2007 - 7:52 pm


    As an UMNO supporter, you failed miserably in rational debating. You try to looked unique in a blog by chiding others comments. Is that what you are good at only? Cannot go straight to the point of proper debating? I pity for your parents for having a son who is hated wherever he goes. Hope you care about your parents’ feelings too and be a smart boy and loved by others, not hate by others.

    Trying to twist the fact is one of your tactics, but it wont work against me. I can only be defeated by facts & figures.

  32. #32 by crab on Sunday, 12 August 2007 - 9:09 pm

    Malaysian education is down the drain. Its not the teachers who are doing the work. Its the parents. (Though there are a few dedicated teachers but what can they do when the rest are all lazy BUMS). Parents are so scared to complain because the school will mark their children down.

    I’m in my son’s secondary school PTA. The HM commented that they have students who cant read or write. But the government, Education Dept wants them to proceed to the next stage of education without fundamentals. Soon these are the ppl that will be running the show if BN is left unchecked.

    What’s the use of having 80,000 students getting A 1s in UPSR but later in life can’t get employed in real life without protection from BN. There is no more values for the As our children obtain.

    All in the education dept are not interested in education but pushing papers. Imposing more unnecessary paper works to educators. Then how are our children to be educated.

    So what happened to the graduates who were retrained in English last year. Last reported these candidates have not repaid their refresher course fees (taken from our EPF money).

  33. #33 by iStupid on Sunday, 12 August 2007 - 9:17 pm

    “Today, even top government civil servants and the judiciary can hardly string two words of English.”

    One might even add there is an ex-Mentri Besar with two Muhamads in his name who can count in the millions but who does not know enough English to fill a simple declaration form when passing through Australian immigration.

  34. #34 by iStupid on Sunday, 12 August 2007 - 9:20 pm

    One reason Najib says the education system is a success is the ‘smokescreens’ that block his view, so that he cannot see, is not allowed to see, the rot inside. Let me give you an example of the smokescreens, that of manipulating the exam results to give a high passing percentage.

    Let us say 10 students, A, B, C, … and so on sat for an English test, and their results are: Student A – 90 marks, Student B – 85 marks, C – 60 marks, D – 45 marks, E – 40 marks, F – 30 marks, G – 28 marks, H – 20 marks, I – 16 marks, J – 13 marks.

    If the passing mark is set at 50 marks, then only three students, A, B and C, pass. The percentage of students who pass is 30%. Too low? You want the pass percentage to be 60%? No problem. Just ‘promote’ three students by enhancing their marks. Give E 20 marks so that he now has 60 marks, give G 25 marks so that he now has 53 marks and give H 30 marks so now he has 50 marks. There you have it, the pass percentage is now 60%. So easy, like eating tofu.

    Notice that you only‘promote’selectively. This is very unfair to Student D and in time he surely will notice such ‘promotions’ are being practiced by the examiner. May be even Student F will notice such unfair practice because normally his mark is higher than H but now H passes and F himself fails the test.

    Herein lies the difficulty of the selective promotions method. So it was abandoned in favour of our present method — that of lowering the passing mark. In our example if we set the passing mark at 29 marks, then four students will fail. We again will have a 60% pass percentage.

    If you think a passing mark of 29 is ridiculous, then you ain-t seen nothing yet. There is not a mark they would not stoop to. If some ‘higher authority’ demands a 80% pass percentage, the passing mark has to go down to 19 marks and so there it will go down to. The defence of the official who fixes the passing mark is that he is merely following an instruction from the ‘higher authority’.

  35. #35 by rojak on Sunday, 12 August 2007 - 9:34 pm

    –verb (used with object) 1. to bring to a fine or a pure state; free from impurities: to refine metal ie gold, sugar, or petroleum.


    Our education is doing the opposite. Instead of getting rid of the impurities, we chuck out most of the “pure” and kept all the impurities.

    This was process was repeated over and over gain in the last 30 odd years. Now the whole system is defective.

  36. #36 by cg on Sunday, 12 August 2007 - 9:38 pm

    Please remember that in Malaysia there are many educational routes within our multiple education systems. The system that Najib talked about is the route primarily for Malays: residential schools, Mara junior science colleges, matriculation system, pusat asasi sains, followed by local or overseas higher education – and to him, this system is a resounding success, enabling Malays of rich and poor families to move up the social ladder very quickly, even within one generation, through state-supported education.

    This is truly a success story. Among the Malays who went through this education system, a large proportion of them speak and write excellent English – in fact, in many residential schools and Mara junior science colleges, English is widely used. Furthermore, students of these special schools and colleges do not take STPM. They follow the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program, an international program.

    If this is the case these people should be excellent students in Uni, but why we’re still out of top 500 and produced no known researchers? Are they all not studying in Local Uni then?

  37. #37 by rojak on Sunday, 12 August 2007 - 9:44 pm

    ..abolishment of the English medium of education …


    Being reading some blogged Malay articles lately and was astounded by the no. of English words adopted into the Malay vocab.

    If this keeps going on, very soon Bahasa Malaysia will soon be considered as a form of English like pidgin English. In fact I think it’s so “english”.

    All Dewan Pustaka needs to do is change all the spelling back to English format and bravo, in one day, our command of English would increase by at least 15% (rough guess). lol

  38. #38 by k1980 on Sunday, 12 August 2007 - 10:09 pm

    A simple experiment to show the standard of our education today: Just substitute this year’s SPM English paper with one from the 1970s.
    Then you see students committing suicide by jumping down from the 3rd floor of the school buildings because less than 10% of the total number of candidates would get a P8 and above.

  39. #39 by ablastine on Monday, 13 August 2007 - 1:31 am

    I think one of the greatest failing of Malaysia’s education system is its failure to retain, nuture and promote the best and the brightest especially those of the minority races. Say what you may and irrespective of the quality of education, the children of the minority races with almost no assistance from the government do somehow get along. So the renaissance of venacular schools, success of tuition centres and prevalence of private tiertiary institutions. The people knows that almost all State Scholarships go to only the Malays and a great proportion of local universities places go to them as well. So to survive, parents of the minority groups save every cent they can to provide the best for their children’s education which in most cases means going private – private schools, private tuition and private colleges. Most are worldly wise and pragmatic knowing full well that the Malay lanaguage cannot make much headway in today’s world. They see to it that their children have a good mastery of the English language. So effectively their children become trilingual -strong not only in Malay but in their mother tongue and English as well, making them extremely marketable in the globalised world. Now with the rankings of local Universities going down the drain, it does not make sense anymore for the children of minority groups to continue their studies there in the same way that a lot of parents do not see the point of sending their younger ones to national schools anymore. Why graduate in place with a certificate where nobody outside the country recognises when you can get with the same effort a degree that is held in high regard even outside the country. So we see richer parents already started buying houses in places like Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and UK to prepare for their children and their tiertiary education. The poorer amongst them but with excellent academic performance are courted fiercely by multiple offers of scholarships internationally. They are not interested in local university places even if they can get in at all. The sadder part is a lot of families see very little future in Malaysia the way it is going. Most have decided that it is better off for their children to have their life somewhere else where hard work, equality, opportunities meant something. They do not want them to be around when the corrupted, racist politician and religious zealots finally push the country into tumoil.

    This efflux is neither gentle nor recent. From the three best classes in sixth form in my school at a time when I was a student in the seventies, I dare say only about 30%-40% still remain in Malaysia. Almost all the students in the classes were of course from the minority groups. I suspect the outflow if anything has only become greater through the years. So if the sampling of my former class is representative of the state of affair in Malaysia, we see an attrition of at least 60% of Malaysian’s brightest. Remember, when we loose one it is not just one less for Malaysia but one up as well for our competitor as well. So every loss is a double whammy.That is why when we step out of Malaysia for instance into Singapore, we will meet many Malaysians or who were once Malaysian holding important government post, successful enterpreneurs, top lawyers, judges, surgeons, physicians, bankers,architects, scientist all the way down to the courtesans and masseurs. So we have a whole tetonic shift and emigration of the young and able from the minority groups into the rest of the world to be replace by perhaps, illegal immigrants from Indonesia. It is obvious where all this is taking us.

    Is it any wonder now why almost no Government institution or projects succeed. The obvious answer is, besides, rampant corruption, the quality of people that is put in charge. It is almost mandatory now for these institutions to be headed by only representative of the majority race. I must say no matter how hard one looks there is a limit to the number of talents in a community. Unfortunately for Malaysia, the bright and talented do not fade away into their community and disappear when well deserving opportunities are not accorded to them. They are courted by our competitors world wide and with their talents will almost accomplish the impossible for their employers elsewhere and inadvertently strike back at us. So we have MAS making record after record losses, while SIA becomes the most profitable airline in the world, both run by Malaysians (or former Malaysia in SIA case). Malaysia essentially now becomes the culture medium which nuture and educate its progeny but when they become mature and productive send them to be harvested by the rest of the world. This is a loss the country cannot afford. This is the direct result of affirmative action and have every damn opportunities in the country base on ethnicity.

  40. #40 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Monday, 13 August 2007 - 3:29 am

    Headline: “Our education system a big failure”

    Too bad. I think our grandchildren will say the same again in 2057!

  41. #41 by sotong on Monday, 13 August 2007 - 8:04 am

    Our country had lost its education battle!

    Leaving politics aside, any reasonable person with basic common sense would come to the same conclusion.

    Some of the critical failures are worsening racial polarisation, religious intolerance and education quality and standards.

  42. #42 by Bigjoe on Monday, 13 August 2007 - 8:04 am

    Najib statements of late has been about pre-election campaigning. Setting the basic message that UMNO supporters are to use for the coming election.

    I have yet to hear anything throughly incisive and smart from Najib in all these years. This is a professional politician who knows how to take care of himself first and far more than anything else.

    Again its pre-election rousings, next will come the goodies and baits like offering scholarships and special treatment to the few in the rural folks to get ALL OF them dreaming of riches and joining the elite.

    It works frankly. Najib is not smart but he is no idiot either…

  43. #43 by Toyol on Monday, 13 August 2007 - 9:27 am

    Our education is indeed a failure…mostly due to nationalistic policies which was good only for votes!

    We live in a global arena and like it or not, English is the only medium which has no boundaries to communication. Even in darkest Africa, people speak English! Arabs speak impeccable English, as do Vietnamese and Chinese. If we stick to nationalistic policies, our children wil stand no chance against the rest of the world when it comes to global opportunities. Well, like I said before, thats the last thing our leaders are concerned about, isn’t it? As long as they can rape and plunder, who cares if we continue to go backwards.

  44. #44 by boh-liao on Monday, 13 August 2007 - 9:44 am

    If this is the case these people should be excellent students in Uni, but why we’re still out of top 500 and produced no known researchers? Are they all not studying in Local Uni then?
    Again, please take note that the best Malay students have lots of opportunities in terms of education and they do not remain in the country to study at local public universities. They study overseas and after graduation, not many of them work in our public universities (the starting salaries are just too low for them). Most of them are professionals earning big bucks.

    The scenario in our public universities: lots of Malay students (on paper taken into our public universities based on meritocracy), who are really not the best of their cohorts, competing against non-Malay students, some of whom have excellent STPM results. Not a fair competition. Furthermore, a large proportion of the teaching staff are now Malays who work there through SLAB (Skim Latihan Akademik Bumiputra), i.e., weaker Malay students who studied and graduated at our public universities and subsequently were taken in as academic staff. This selection system (not necessarily for the best graduates to be future academic staff) has been going on since 1970s and obviously leads to the current academically weak situation in our public universities.

    Why are we surprised that the standard of our public universities goes from good to bad to worse to boh liao?

  45. #45 by cg on Monday, 13 August 2007 - 11:09 am


    August 13th, 2007 at 03: 29.35
    Headline: “Our education system a big failure”

    Too bad. I think our grandchildren will say the same again in 2057!


    It’s only right if they’re still a part of it……
    Well probably they won’t. It’s either the education system change for good or we change the location of their education for good. Then probably they’ll say ” THEIR education system is a big failure, and luckily I’m not a victim of the system”

  46. #46 by cg on Monday, 13 August 2007 - 11:20 am

    This efflux is neither gentle nor recent. From the three best classes in sixth form in my school at a time when I was a student in the seventies, I dare say only about 30%-40% still remain in Malaysia.

    Well ablastine, I dare to say that out of the 30-40% that are still remain, their next generation had already left or planning to go abroad for good (from my real life experience). Isn’t this the trend as a outcome of our so called “successful” education system? Should we applause for it’s great success to get rid of the bright minorities?

  47. #47 by eDee on Monday, 13 August 2007 - 7:44 pm

    IMHO, not only we need to revert back to English as the main medium of instruction, but at the same time we also need to be encouraged to learn Chinese. Why? Read on…

    As a Chinese small kid, I ever blamed my parents for sending me to Chinese schools, as my mindset is English ed is much better than Chinese ed. After working for couple of years, I realised it was relatively a stupid idea to ignore Chinese language!

    Not only because I’m Chinese, that’s why I need to learn my mother language, but at the same time, China’s market is there now waiting for us to invest!

    It’s always an advantage if we know foreign languages, especially English / Spanish & Chinese!

    Just my one cent worth of opinion.

    Cheers. ;)

  48. #48 by requiem87 on Monday, 13 August 2007 - 9:17 pm

    zack is a cybertrooper ??

  49. #49 by requiem87 on Monday, 13 August 2007 - 9:30 pm

    Devilmaster…just leave that cybertrooper RealWorld alone la….remember he’s one of those who got into uni with quota…the creme de la creme of our education system… what do you expect from him ? :)

  50. #50 by ktteokt on Monday, 13 August 2007 - 9:56 pm

    How can we have a proper education system when the government is so fickle minded. Remember the days when English was made to give way to Bahasa Malaysia? That was when the medium of teaching, text books, etc were changed to Bahasa Malaysia and look what happened to the standard of English in Malaysia. When they realized it was a failure, they tried to patch up by boosting English in schools again, but the damage is already done. Language is not something anyone can grab overnight.

    Coming back to our national language. Being a language which represents our nation, its name has been changed so many times. We had Bahasa Melayu which was changed to Bahasa Kebangsaan, then from Bahasa Kebangsaan to Bahasa Malaysia. Subsequently, Bahasa Malaysia was again changed to Bahasa Melayu. All these changes are redundant and only goes to show how good a language our national language is. A language which cannot even determine for itself its proper name would only pose as a shame onto the people of the nation.

    Then, there is a call by the government and MCA for the people of Malaysia to learn Chinese, claiming that Chinese would be an important international language. How can anyone learn good Chinese when the number of Chinese schools are so limited and furthermore have to accomodate non-Chinese students? All these propaganda by the MCA is nothing but political show. And each time it obtains something from the government, MCA always use the phrase “we fought for it”. Why should the MCA fight for it? Hasn’t it been laid down in the Rukunegara that “….membina masyarakat yang adil……”. What then is adil? Perhaps our top people in the government has forgotten the existence of the Rukunegara or its wording. It is not a composition or essay by a primary or secondary student but it is an official document of the nation, having gone through both the upper and lower house and received the royal assent.

  51. #51 by akarmalaysian on Tuesday, 14 August 2007 - 2:47 pm

    lets face it…english has always been the international language in most parts of the world.and its even true how our education system is deteriorating as years go by.our government’s priority doesnt really reflect on academic wise in getting top students into our own universities…in fact the government has really wasted tons of money on making sure wat ‘kind’ of people should go into universities in their agenda.look at all the scholar fundings the government has been providing to these people.it has been the same all these while thruout the years.we hv so many universities and none of them can make it to the top 500?thats really quite a feat.but as usual some stupid ministers will come up with watever craps to counter all these degraded situations.our government is never able to take any constructive criticism…becos the leaders in this government is too thick skinned and knw no shame in the things they do.

  52. #52 by buntal on Monday, 27 August 2007 - 11:29 am

    The education system in Malaysia is so weak that it produces over 18,000 unemployed graduates most from the public higher institutions. I was so surprised that even after 11 years of primary and secondary education, most students still can’t get the basic subject-verb agreement right and the lecturers need to teach them like an English teacher. The subject on Communications Skill which I am sure included in every tertiary level course becomes an English intensive class. The factor leads to high rates of unemployed graduates is lack of communication skills though their CGPA is superb!

  53. #53 by kerishamuddinitis on Sunday, 11 November 2007 - 6:29 pm

    I just read the ‘exam cheating’ cases on malaysiatoday – I am a bit slow on such matters but, my god, if it is indeed happening on the scale that the postings seem to suggest, then forget about ‘overhauling the education system.’ That is going to do jack-s**t for our students. There needs to be a total overhaul of our value system as well as the parties responsible for running this country.

    To my Malay brethren, if you cannot see how this (if indeed it IS happening) will eventually destroy any hope for REAL and EFFECTIVE progress of Malays in the next 50 years, but instead choose to ignore or treat this as the typical non-Malay propaganda/accusations, then consider the following:
    1. in the Malay-medium SRJK’s and SMK’s, Malays make up the bulk of the students by virture of being (i) 60% of the population, and (ii) having a greater rate of population increase, than non-Malays
    2. most non-Malays are opting out of Malay-medium SRJK’s and SMK’s. especially Chinese where the Chinese-medium schools are known for their almost near-obsession with acadamic performance
    3. most non-Malays already plan for the children to go from SMK’s straight into private institutions. I am not saying there’s no cheating at these institutions but at least if discovered, appropriate action will be taken to protect the reputation of the institution and the value of their academic performance and qualification, not ignored, pooh-poohed or swept under the carpets of officialdom and ‘race interests.’
    4. all who can afford it (both Malays and non-Malays alike) have taken their children out of mainstream SRJK’s and SMK’s, and sent their children to private schools.

    So, it is not diffcoult to imagine what will happen to the next 2 generations of our students, both Malays and non-Malays alike BUT, the fact is more Malays than non-Malays will suffer the consequences.

    I am not a Malay, but humour me and allow me to address you as my brethren because under the skin, we all have white flesh and red blood and deep down, we are all good, have sincere intentions and can live in peace, harmony and shared vision. My brethren, do what the Malay parent did (wrote a letter to RPK to expose this) and arrest this before it is too late. I am a parent myself, and if my kids cheated in their exams, and I knew about it, I would have knocked their blocks off. This is not about RACE but about doing what is RIGHT, and it is all the more urgent for Malays to insist that the powers-that-be do what is RIGHT for the FUTURE of ALL, ESPECIALLY Malay, students. God bless you and give you the wisdom to see the issue and courage to arrest it.

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