Change In Education System Needed - Dr Mahathir. Rather Late Realisation Isn't It?
"We have to change the system. The present system of acquiring knowledge alone is not enough. We need people to acquire knowledge and at the same time know how to apply this knowledge. We need a system which would be a marriage of the two. We have to seriously think about this if we want to progress further. Education did not just mean acquiring knowledge but also knowing how to apply this knowledge as "it would be worthless for someone to acquire knowledge but not know how to apply the knowledge learnt," he said.
Aaaahh, this is indeed sweet music to my ears and I'm sure to those who have worried about our increasingly obsolete education system. But why does this have to come from a politician who is out of power and whose every word and motive will be questioned by the government? The real irony is that he is absolutely right in what he says.
For example on the British education system, he says: "The British education system followed by Malaysia placed emphasis on gaining knowledge, while other education systems such as those practised in Japan and Germany not only stressed knowledge gain but also applying it.This is why the British are now considered backward compared to the Germans and the Japanese."
On the English language he opines that that the usage of English to gain knowledge did not at all degrade the national language as "a true nationalist is someone who can acquire knowledge, no matter how" and with knowledge mostly documented in English, it would be foolish for someone not to learn English, which was regarded as an universal language.
Who can disagree with him on these points? However didn't he know or realise this when he was in power? At least in the latter years? It would of course have taken a lot of political sacrifice to have dared to change to a system that actually requires our students to think! And the implications of a switch in the medium of instruction or at the very least a much greater emphasis on English would have been serious for a political leader no matter how powerful. Still he should have gone ahead and implemented whatever he is preaching now. The nation would have been grateful to him.
In the present situation, I doubt that Pak Lah has the strength, Hishamuddin has the guts or the Malay cabinet ministers have the desire to see this through. The consequences of further disadvantaging rural and bumi students is something they probably don't want to even think about. Too bad. Mahathir made a lot of sense this time.
**** Pak Lah's latest opinion on education, etc: Education And Training System Must Be Focused