Educational civil societies and youth in the Klang Valley have expressed their hopes for 2018, with many calling for a revamp of the national education syllabus and more emphasis on the English language in public schools.
Razlan Rizal, a 25-year-old postgraduate student at Monash University, said that educators should ignite students’ interest in reading to tackle what he thinks is the embedded culture of “spoon-feeding” among millennials.
“I believe that most students these days suffer from what I call a ‘resistance towards reading’. They just simply refuse to read.
“As a student, you are expected to study independently. You can’t have that spoon-feeding mentality that seems to be very prevalent among Malaysians, where they expect everything to be given to them, rather than reading the textbook themselves,” he said.
According to Razlan, the national education syllabus must be revamped, to instil in students an interest in seeking knowledge independently.
“Education must ignite a student’s passion, not make them study just because of exams.
“Basically, it’s about sparking their interest in being independent in furthering their understanding and seeking knowledge.
“No more spoon-feeding,” he said emphatically.
IT executive Peggy Ng echoed Razlan’s thoughts, pointing out that English language proficiency plays a crucial role in the increasingly globalised job market.
“English is the main communication tool in many up and coming companies and startups,” she said.
While the 22-year-old described the current education system as “well-structured”, she noted that there should be “room for improvement”.
“I always believe that students must be taught to be independent.”
She said the spoon-feeding culture is prevalent among young executives these days, and many have the wrong attitude when it comes to work.
But while English is important, 25-year-old sales executive Gary Chong said equal emphasis must be given to Bahasa Malaysia (BM) too, as it is the national language.
“My son’s English is good. However, his BM is quite terrible. Perhaps Chinese-vernacular schools should put more emphasis on BM.
“I notice that Chinese primary school students rarely converse in BM,” he added.
When it comes to the use of technology in classrooms, however, Chong had nothing but praise, for he believes it could act as a catalyst in learning for children.
“I notice that there is a lot of digital homework in classrooms. Students are encouraged to do their homework with computers, which is good.”
Parent Action Group for Edu-cation (PAGE) chairman Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim said the Government should consider reintroducing English-medium schools at the secondary level.
“But students must first achieve an A in BM at the UPSR level. Begin with Sabah, Sarawak and Johor,” she suggested.
To produce good English teachers, Noor Azimah said they should be offered a tertiary education in Britain, before returning to do a diploma in education.
Noor Azimah is also an advocate of the Highly Immersive Pro-gramme (HIP) in all schools.
“We also would like to see more schools adopting the Dual Language Programme (DLP), but support must be provided and consistent interventions should be conducted when teachers are slacking.
“We are optimistic with English language advancement as there is now political will to try a radical approach,” she acknowledged.
DLP and HIP were introduced to improve the English language proficiency of students by providing increased exposure to the language.
Meanwhile, as part of the Education Ministry’s move to implement the new Common European Framework of Reference for Languages-aligned curriculum, only imported English language textbooks will be used in schools instead of locally-published ones.
Deputy Education Minister Datuk P. Kamalanathan said that Year One and Two pupils, and Form One and Two students, will start off with the curriculum next year.
Primary school pupils will use the Super Minds programme from the Cambridge University Press while secondary students will use MacMillan’s Pulse 2. The books are priced between RM78 and RM135.
The Education Ministry said that most schools across the country will commence their term from Tuesday onwards, while schools in Kedah, Johor, Kelantan and Terengganu will begin their term tomorrow.