Archive for June 15th, 2008

Smart schools vs sick schools

by Dr. Azly Rahman

I read this excerpt of a news story below with disgust.

‘… One-third of Malaysia’s schools do not have water and electricity, a minister said, pledging to fix the problem by 2010….

‘Deputy Education Minister Razali Ismail told Bernama that all 9,806 schools will have access to basic utilities by the end of a four-year education development plan….70 percent of schools already have access to water and electricity. The other 30 percent are mostly located in rural areas, but “we are confident the problem will be solved by 2010”.

…Malaysia has implemented a series of five-year development plans with the aim of reaching developed-nation status by 2020..In the last national blueprint, announced in 2006, the government said RM1.15 billion would be spent to upgrade schools.’

All we continue to hear are slogans such as ‘2010’, ‘Vision 2020’, ‘developed-nation status’ and ‘billions of ringgit of funding’.

These cloud our vision of what schools ought to be. It is as if there is a ‘manufactured crisis’ going on: keep schools impoverished so that the government can keep making promises using empty slogans. The aim: only this government can continue to help those poor schools. This is the nature of mystification we have been fed with all these decades.

recall then education minister Najib Abdul Razak making a statement about “smart schools” –

“…that the first Smart School is being built at a cost of RM144.5 million. Apart from being wired, it would have a hostel for 800 students, an Olympic-size swimming pool, a hockey pitch, a hall and other facilities. Eventually all Malaysian schools will be operated on this concept. …”

Now we hear that many schools do not have water and electricity supply, let alone computers to make the schools and students smart. I think our children deserve better than empty promises by the ministry in charge of human intelligence and social reproduction. Read the rest of this entry »