Dinosaurs in schools


Allow me to highlight two features of the Malaysian school – the Media Room or the Bilik Alat Pandang Dengar and the so-called library. 

We are now in the 21st century but most schools still have media rooms and libraries which are really dinosaurs. They sit there pretty, hardly used. 

The audio-visual equipment is mostly ancient or is not in working order. The procedures for usage put off most teachers so they would rather not use the facility. 

What’s the use of having such rooms which are either out of bounds for most part of the day or which are practically worthless as the audio-visual equipment or the air-conditioning breaks down often?  

Most schools subscribe to Astro but students are hardly taken to these media rooms to watch the programmes. This is because the rooms can’t be used most of the time for one reason or another. What’s the point of paying fees to Astro every month if the services aren’t fully utilised? 

Do not harbour that mentality of not allowing things to be touched or used in case they get damaged. 

Many people love to buy “expensive” china and exhibit them in showcases. They buy the china not for use but to show off. This is foolish because you spend money buying something without deriving any benefit from its usage or beauty.  

With the sad state of audio-visual facilities in most schools, students lose out in the end. If we aspire to upgrade the standards of our schools to match those of advanced countries, we should first bring our education system into the modern age. 

Give students good facilities and make them available during school hours, that is, from 7.30 a.m. to 6.45 p.m.  

Audio-visual facilities are definitely useful in helping kids learn. People learn through all their senses. 

For example, when we let kids listen to music it stimulates their brains. In order to appreciate good music the kids must concentrate so indirectly they learn to pay attention. They learn to learn with not only their minds but also with their hearts and emotions. 

Stirring music has a way of moving the soul and touching the heart. Music is very closely related to poetry so when we teach poetry it is essential that the students receive exposure to sublime and inspiring music. There is a close bond in the melodic composition of both poetry and music. 

Some of the books in our school libraries have never been read and some are so old the pages are falling apart. If we are to encourage a reading culture we must buy well-written books and the classics, original versions and not the abridged ones. 

A large school would need at least two to three sets of encyclopaedia. Books must be attractively displayed and they must be easily available to the students.  

Human nature is such that we will avoid anything that causes distress; so if it is difficult to get our hands on certain facilities most people would rather forgo the pleasure of using them than to go through the hassle of procuring them. How many people would persevere through all the nonsensical red tape?  

 

YAP LIAN CHIN 

Via e-mail 

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