Examine the weaknesses of the country and how education can help to improve the situation.
I SIGHED with relief when I read the letter from the Education Minister (StarEducate, Sept 9) about his plan to transform the education system. One proposed move is the appointment or reappointment of the National Education Advisory Council members including a very trusted educationist and former chairman of the council in the form of former Education director-general Tan Sri Dr Wan Mohd Zahid Mohd Noordin.
I sighed with relief as the Minister appears to be finally heading in the right direction of formulating policies, after examining issues rather than making contentious statements such as changing the colour of shoes or inconsequential issues and plans like asking schools to hold Language Days and such, which are the actions of school heads and the district education offices.
He should understand that his function is to get the machinery under him to examine the whole system itself, sieve out the flaws and weaknesses and rectify them as well as find out the strengths that could be developed.
He could also examine what the weaknesses of the country are as a whole and how education could help to improve the situation.
He should then determine the direction to take so that the healing of the country can be done since education is the key to progress in all forms and directions.
Education is one of the most vital ministries of any country. Finland recognises this and that is why they have directed their best students not only to go into important fields like science, medicine, engineering and economics but also education.
Similarly, Singapore has realised that their main resource is their citizens and so education is their prime concern. These two countries always score well in surveys of the education system. So why not learn from them even though our situation is different.
Differences can be ironed out.
In any case, one direction that could be taken is to study the education system of other countries and to adopt, adapt and apply the good features to our own system. There should not be slavish application of the features of other countries as we blindly did in the past.
Know our own situation especially the reasons for our ills and then remedy them. Ours is a complex situation with diverse races and religions thrown in. But some of the ills cut across the diversity.
To remedy this, let us look at the Japanese system to see how the schools help to educate the people so that they queue respectfully even for much needed rations during times of disaster unlike Malaysians who rush to pile up food at open houses.
Examine their curriculum and emphasis and what they want their citizens to develop into.
Adapt by all means especially since ours is a multiracial country whereas the Japanese population is mainly homogeneous.
Every issue must be ironed out. Every aspect of the system must be examined and with an unbiased heart. We must face the matter boldly and honestly.