I REFER to Ranjit Singh Malhi’s “Open Letter to the PM” (StarEducation, Jan 4) on the desired Malaysian education reforms. I agree wholeheartedly with Ranjit that our education system is too exam-oriented and skewed towards academic performance. Indeed, our school authorities and the mass media often proudly publicise academic achievement, schools with 100% passes and students who score straight As.
Seldom do we ponder over whether our students and graduates are adequately empowered to take charge of their lives, have the resilience to adapt successfully to the fast-changing 21st century, and have the competence to thrive in the workplace of the future.
A recent survey by Bank Negara involving 312 companies showed that 77.6% of the respondents were of the view that our graduates lack the required skills to function effectively at the workplace.
Most of our graduates lack interpersonal, communication, analytical and problem-solving skills, besides being timid and lacking self-confidence.
Our education system should focus on producing well-rounded individuals. Academic qualifications no longer guarantee that an individual will get a job. A school should be a place where students grow intellectually (cognitive competence), morally (character education), socially (interpersonal skills), as well as personally (self-reliant, self-confident, resilient and lifelong learner). In short, we need to empower our students to acquire productive behaviour and to thrive in the 21st century workplace besides promoting academic excellence.