Khamis, 19 September 2013

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The ignorant and the compliant very well rewarded

Posted: 18 Sep 2013 12:15 PM PDT 

We seem to be building university after university and producing thousands of graduates who are not only unemployable but also incapable of communicating effectively to be able to attract prospective employers from the private sector.

P Dev Anand Pillai, FMT 

As we debate and argue whether we are doing the right thing with the state of affairs of education system, the rest of the world passes by us. We still seem very obvious to this development and advancement because for us here, all it takes is to get some person from some other country, sub-contract the job out and sort out the problem.

We don't seem to be wanting to get ourselves educated correctly so that we will be able to take on the world. It is a fact that our universities are not being considered as world beaters in terms of producing research papers and intellects of quality and repute. A simple reason is that we don't value intellectuality, we value complaisance and blind allegiance even if we have to impart a theory like it was only Umno and its allies who fought for independence and not the rest of civil society and those in the opposite side of the political divide at that time.

Here in our system, the ignorant and the compliant are very well rewarded. The thinkers are deemed as trouble makers because they ask to many questions and challenge the authority that the professor wields in the lecture rooms not with disobedience but with intellectual discourse. Ultimately when we have the ignorant and the complaint take up positions of importance in our social hierarchy, we get a very submissive and ignorant society that believes solely in maxim that the government of the day knows what is best for them.

There is no challenge, no debate and no intellectual discourse. If so challenged, the uniformed unit of the ignorant and complaint will use brute force to subdue such a challenge from the group that thinks. All this is produced because we have a system that encourages this way of mind moulding. Even in the Umno party elections, certain positions cannot be challenged, those who break ranks and do so will ultimately meet a dead end in their political journey like so many capable characters whom we have seen all these decades.

So there doesn't seem to be an urgency to gain knowledge as long as there is a shadow play of sorts where there is a life support hook anchored through some awards of projects and positions in the civil service everything looks nice and rosy.

Our world rankings will only be bettered if we start to embrace meritocracy which simply means let merit compliment the day and show the way. But would we? That is something which is very taboo with the policy makers because they seem to feel that the rural Malays will perpetually be disadvantaged. What they seem to forget is that many of the senior leaders in Umno today are products of the English stream of schooling which the British had instilled when they were administrating the country.

These leaders have a very strong command of the language and many of them went to schools in the outskirts of the main cities. Therefore for the rural pupil to be disadvantaged perpetually is just an excuse which the policy makers use to ensure that their policies leave the rural and the semi-rural pupil at a disadvantage for the sake of the reality of politics, the balance of power and the continued dependence on the state.

After the British left, we benefited with a very good schooling and administrative system which they passed on in most of their colonies. But we failed to make good of the system and began to revamp every aspect of it till to its sad state today. What we seem to see now is a very sorry state of affairs in most secondary schools, hence what can we expect when these pupils go on to the universities?

We seem to be building university after university and producing thousands of graduates who are not only unemployable but also incapable of communicating effectively to be able to attract prospective employers from the private sector.

One still remembers how tough it was for one to gain entry into the Sixth Form 30 years ago compared to what we see today. We have done away with the grading system based on aggregates which was recognized worldwide and also was a very effective way of streaming students in accordance to their abilities and prowess.

We had to obtain 6-24 units in aggregate to obtain a 1st Grade, 25-33 units to obtain a 2nd Grade at the SPM level and anything lesser then 33 was a 3rd Grade. One would not be able to go to the Sixth form if one could not obtain a Grade 1 or a strong Grade 2. That was the level of streaming which kept the standards in check and the university placings in tandem.

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