Certainly not the business of history

Sunday June 3, 2012

http://thestar.com.my/education/story.asp?file=/2012/6/3/education/11372688&sec=education

MY daughter will be sitting for the Penilaian Menengah Rendah (PMR) this year. There is a project she needs to do for the History subject.

While I am all for research and students doing in-depth study on a subject or topic, I am appalled at the choice of topic given for this subject.

Malaysia is rich in history but instead of choosing a historical topic, the Education Ministry decided to base the project on a local business set-up and its history.

My question is: How will this help students in the History paper and in terms of acquiring history knowledge? The knowledge gained from this project will help the child set up a business or deal with the obstacles involved in setting up a business. It does not help the child learn more about our country’s history.

Perhaps students can do research on past local leaders, places or even someone from their hometown who contributed to this country.

Local businesses, on the other hand, may not be helpful or willing to help students in their projects.

Some are even rude to the students and have slammed down the phone, especially big companies. My daughter has received such rude response.

Some of the questions the students have to ask are private in nature, such as name, age, house address, business licence etc. If I were a local business owner, I would not want to give such details to anyone, especially to a student. Most businesses will regard these students as a nuisance.

We are well aware that History is an important subject in the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM). Proper planning and interest have to be developed. Let students do work related to history, ie. local history and not business.

We are heading in the right direction when it comes to giving students projects to work on. I am very happy because it makes them put on their thinking caps, rather than study like a parrot to get their A’s.

However, the topics chosen must be related to the subject concerned.

SARALA POOBALAN