EDUCATION: Delivery system can be better

Friday, July 06, 2012

THE Education Revamp Committee is reviewing and deliberating on nine areas of our education system.

The delivery and administrative system of the Education Ministry is one area being discussed.

If “delivery” is taken to mean the Education Ministry’s successes in delivering its promises and achieving its targets, then the ministry must be congratulated and lauded for having “delivered” in most counts, within the confines of its limitations.

Nevertheless, there is room for improvement.

FIRSTLY, the ministry should refrain from indiscriminately quoting “statistics” to justify, rationalise or neutralise some poor and less-than-desired happenings in its system. Improperly used, statistics may actually misinform.

Our student population is more than 5.1 million and the number of schools equals 10,019, as quoted in the ministry’s website.

So, to hear officials saying that disciplinary problems involving only an infinitesimal percentage (less than 0.1 per cent) of the overall student populace is truly stretching and challenging one’s innate intelligence and comprehension.

Not that our students’ disciplinary problems are unmanageable, but to quote “statistics” in this instance is to not “deliver” and address the problem in its correct perspective;

SECONDLY, when a problem crops up in school and needs to be investigated, very often, a committee is set up with the task of composing a report and forwarding it to the ministry for further action.

The composition of some of these committees can at times call into question their impartiality.

Take for example, the occasional fighting and bullying reported in a school dormitory. Normally, the school principal heads the investigating committee. Now, how impartial can a principal be in reporting the “dirt” found in his own backyard?

Would his report implicate his own inefficiency in administering the dormitory?

Even if the ministry officials come for an inspection (turun padang), they are given “guided” tours. Chances are, all blame will fall on the students. So, does the report honestly “deliver” the truth to the authorities?; and,

THIRDLY, some “little Napoleons” in schools are not following strictly the directives from above.

They implement ministry policies by their own myopic interpretation at best, and their own “whims and fancies” at worst. This has detracted the noble intentions of the ministry at times.

A problem bothering some parents even now is the implementation of the “soft-landing” approach in the aftermath of the PPSMI (the teaching and learning of Science and Mathematics in English) policy. What is happening in some school classrooms and laboratories is certainly a “non-delivery” of the ministry’s soft-landing directives.

And, there can be other examples where schools do not “deliver” according to the ministry directives and objectives.

Granted that schools do need some leeway or even liberty to run in accordance to local specificity and conditions, a better check-and-balance mechanism should be put in place to enhance the ministry’s “delivery system”.

Read more: EDUCATION: Delivery system can be better – Letters to the Editor – New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/education-delivery-system-can-be-better-1.103578#ixzz1znuVCSBF