My humble request to the new Education Minister, Dr Maszlee Malik.
You have a mammoth task to perform with anxious parents hoping for a reform. I think we really don’t require a sophisticated blueprint to decide on a system.
I request you, sir, to consider the education policies which were enforced from mid-1960 to 1980.
A system which did not only produce all rounded students but at the same time students who could look back and appreciate the education that they received. It didn’t cost an arm and a leg for holistic education and it definitely was not rote learning.
I was one of the students who benefited from the system and I really don’t know what it was called but so fortunate to have received my education.
I went to school at the age of 7. I was placed in Standard 1 D as I had not attended kindergarten. I could only speak in Tamil and didn’t know my ABCs. I completed Standard 6 and was already able to read, write and converse in Bahasa Malaysia and English.
When I went to secondary school the learning process continued to educate me and I learned history, geography and literature in addition to the core subjects. Some of my classmates who were non-Malays even did Malay literature and were really good.
Tuition classes were almost none or could be counted just with your fingers.
I knew Shakespeare and I bet my friends who did Malay Literature knew our local writers and poets too.
I knew every state in the country and the capitals.
I knew my timetables, the kind of weather, the trees, their leaves and the fruits from them.
Most of all I could speak fluently in three different languages and read and write in two.
My mother had unknowingly picked up English words when I tried to practise my English with my brothers and sisters.
My biggest gain was my friends who were Malay, Chinese and Indians. I am glad to have known them and still treasure the friendship until now.
All this was made possible just by going to a school in a small town in Perak.
I am sure we don’t need a rocket scientist or a blueprint from some mega task force. We had an education system which produced educated .intelligent and caring Malaysians.
You don’t have to look far, Sir.
Please consider the education system from mid-1960 to 1980 and adapt it to the present. We will go back to days of glory.
Ms Sumathi Sivamany
Perak Women for Women Society (PWW)