Are our 'one-year-old' education leaders drowning or swimming?

03 Dec 2023 08:00am
Pix for illustration purpose only. - FILE PIX by 123RF
Pix for illustration purpose only. - FILE PIX by 123RF

THE state of our education system and its leadership has been quite the talk of the town?

Now, before I get into this, let's all agree that leading the Education Ministry is no walk in the park.

However, the public's frustrations are not exactly misplaced, either.

First off, the appointment of Education Minister Fadhlina Sidek and her deputy Lim Hui Ying, both newcomers in the political scene, raises more than just a couple of eyebrows.

You wouldn't put a rookie pilot in charge of flying a Boeing 747 full of passengers, would you?

The stakes are simply too high to be a training ground for newcomers. The position demands someone seasoned with a nuanced understanding of educational needs, policies, and strategies.

I remember chatting with a friend who's super invested in her children's education.

Like, we were WhatsApp-ing, and she was all, "Who are these people? Do they even know what they're doing?"

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It's unsettling when the folks at the helm don't exactly inspire confidence.

Then there's their focus on things like better toilets, school roofs, and canteen food.

I am not saying these things aren't important, trust me, no one wants to relieve themselves in a nasty toilet, but aren't we missing the forest for the trees here?

What about reforming the curriculum, teacher training, or improving the overall quality of education?

And don't get me started on the whole lineage of Education Ministers going on to become Prime Ministers.

If that's the stepping stone, shouldn't we be even more concerned about who we're placing in that role?

These days, parents are so disillusioned that they'd rather focus on private tutoring or alternative educational methods than rely on the public system. And that's saying something, man!

The icing on this not-so-tasty cake? Kids brandishing toy weapons at school events, sanctioned by adults. Yikes! We're literally handing them the idea that violent solutions are somewhat okay.

If you want to buy your kid a toy gun, do it on your own time.

Don't make it a 'thing' in an educational setting where children from all backgrounds are learning values and ethics.

I will concede that Fadhlina has been busy on several fronts.

She's got the PPPM (Pelan Pembangunan Pendidikan Malaysia), the National Digital Education Policy, and is even focusing on building a sports school specifically for children with special needs.

Pretty commendable stuff.

She’s also laser-focused on the 2027 School Curriculum Implementation Survey to create a new, possibly more relevant, curriculum.

Oh, and for those hung up on UPSR nostalgia, she's firm on keeping that can of worms sealed tight.

But hold on a second. While these moves are all fine and dandy, they hardly make a dent when you consider the sheer scale of educational reform we need.

It's like trying to fix a sinking ship with a roll of duct tape.

It might hold for a bit, but it will only be a short-term solution.

All in all, the Education Ministry has got some serious work to do, and it's about time we stop settling for mediocrity.

We owe it to our kids and their future.