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What's WRONG with the Education System in Malaysia?

From a Student's Perspective

What is WRONG with the education system in Malaysia?
by Yew [Writing Contest 2014 Winner ]
What is an education? According to Oxford dictionary, an education is the process of receiving or
giving systematic instruction. Based on this statement, it sounds like the engagement is either by
learning and teaching an instruction given by teachers. Would it be good enough for the students?
How can this approach help the students to handle difficult situation in the future? The learning
process in the classroom is never enough for the students anymore. It takes more than academia to
survive in such a stressful working environment. In Malaysia, the education system is indeed facing
problems in producing competent graduates to face this gruesome and depressing challenging
working world. What are the possible problems that caused such a bad system? What can be done to
create a better education system?

What's WRONG with the Education System in Malaysia? / PicCredit

Students Are Too Exam-oriented

The problem of education system in Malaysia is that the students are too exam-oriented. Due to
societal pressure, the result is the sole indicator of determining your performance in the school. For
many innocent students in Malaysia, education means scoring the test papers, acquiring more
knowledge for the exam, and of course, aiming for higher number of As! There is a misconception
that higher number of As indicates the person is smarter. For example, parents and relatives like to
compare their own children with the number of As in result slip or how much salary they can make
per month. Why are they making us so stressful? I had heard numerous comparisons throughout my
schooling year (even now). My aunt did that by comparing my cousin and me in SPM. With an extra A
in my cousins result slip, she is assumed to be better. It is not because I am jealous or what (maybe
I am?), this should not be the way to gauge the students ability. This is because the quality of As
would be affected. I still remembered that she is still struggling with Chemistry questions during her
foundation year. So, is this the right way to compare? Would you compare a student with a very
strong foundation in Physics gets mediocre result in other subjects, while another student who is
just barely good at every subject gets straight As? Would you expect Albert Einstein to be good in
every subject while his expertise is Physics? I believe his research ability would have suffered if he
did that. This is the problem with the parents. They do not utilize the talents of the children. The
children might be good in drawing, handcrafting, or sports. Instead, they put too much emphasis to
create Jack-of-all-trades students in term of academic examination. When students are too examoriented, they are unable to utilize their talents by being productive in their fields. Because after
all, they just want more As in exam slips.
Students Lack Leadership Skills
Another problem I see within most students in Malaysia is they lack of leadership element. It may
sound clich, but it is crucial to possess this a must element in every student. This element cannot
be acquired through class unless the leadership role is taken by the student. This is why the roles of
class monitor, secretary and treasurer exist even in primary school. However, how many students

are able to take these roles? Not so many. Based on my experience, most of the student leaders you
see in your school or networking events are comprised a very small number. Perhaps, they may be 1
out of 100 students? What I find it funny is that the student leaders in the various events are
actually the same group of people! These high motivated enthusiastic groups go for every kind of
event to get exposure. This is why the representatives from Ministry of Education always think that
most students are like the leaders, engaging most of the time. In fact, they are engaging the same
students most of the time. Take for another example, today you might see a student ambassador
from AIESEC in a GRADUAN career fair. After that, I can bet my 1 cent that you would most probably
see him in other career fair/networking event/startup event/random event etc. This is a good
sign, but what about the rest? We are now talking out of the average students, not the top 5 %. Most
of them would shun away from this kind of event, stay at home/hostel most of the time. The lazy
type (eg. my friends) would most probably demotivate you by giving excuses like Why do you go for
so many kind of events?, Stay at home chillax first! Not easy to get holiday on weekends-leh!, I
didnt meet my family for nearly whole semester. I miss them so I have to go back!, After
graduated you still can go-mah! and the list goes on. What happened after that? They feel scared
when lecturers point them to answer question. Especially those forum and networking events where
there will be a Q & A at the end of the session, not only the students, even the working adults would
tilt their heads down. This shows they are shy and not taking initiative to take up a leadership role
in asking questions. Who knows the answers from the questions would be an inspiring quote in the
future? That is how the legacy was born by the leaders.
Uninspiring Teachers
Anyway, I have found a random quote from the internet.
The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The
great teacher inspires. William Arthur Ward
Speaking about teachers, teachers are noble and respectable. However, back to the quote, did
teachers ever inspire most of the students nowadays? Yeah, maybe a handful. Most of them, are like
the result of education system in Malaysia, teach according to the syllabus. They lack of empathy to
care more about the students. The good ones would be focused, while the bad ones would be
sidelined. Some would say Why getting yourself into troubles when your pay is the same before and
after? After all, teachers are now only known for rushing the exam syllabus. Where is the personal
connection between the students and the teachers? Why can it never be like the relationship
between the mentors and disciples? Let me ask you some questions:

1. When was the last time you had given a wishing card to them on Teachers Day?
2. Or for worse case, when was the last time you had visited your teachers after your

Those days where teachers inspire were gone. Students are never appreciative with what the
inspiring teachers have done for them. They take everything for granted. Most would complain
about the teachers on they did not come to the class and finish the syllabus. Again, syllabus!? I
believe that every student should have an equal opportunity. It is the dedication of the teachers
who can make a difference. Frankly speaking, I had a hard time tutoring a student with bad results.
It really tested my patience to really get him understood. He did well after that (Thank God!)
Besides, teachers are also responsible for some kind of programs in school, for example
development programs (such as extra-curricular activities). These programs are usually deemed as
wasting time by the students. Same goes to my second point, unless they are forced, only the 1 %
highly motivated student leaders would volunteer to join these programs. Because students are only
taught that results are everything. The result slip is the only pathway to go through your next level
of education. Truth to be told, they would only realize the result slip is just an entrance to any level
of education, in secondary and tertiary education. After that, everything would start from 0. Why
dont I tell you everything would start from 0 after you land your first employment? Imagine your 15
16 years of education becomes negligible after your first job. Reality is hitting us hard, isnt it?
Therefore, inspiring teachers can really mold the leaders that we can see at the top of corporate

Students Not Good in English

Have you ever heard of teacher-centered learning? It is where the teachers would talk and the
students would listen. This kind of approach has made students who can read and write well, but
could not communicate with people around them. This problem usually happens to the people
learning second language (eg. English). The education system usually taught students to read and
write first before they start to talk. This approach is actually very bad. Have you ever wondered
why you can speak your native language (Malay, Tamil, or Mandarin) so well? This is because you use
the language in most conversation. In my experience, I could not read or write most Chinese words,
but I could converse well with my Chinese friends. Many people find it weird because I can
listen/speak but I couldnt read/write. Yes, these components are actually different from each
other. It must be improved part by part in order to improve your overall proficiency. However, the
approach of teaching students to read and write English before they get to speak is way wrong.
Before you get to speak, you must listen to how others speak. Before you write a passage, you must
read how others write. Perhaps, I would suggest the government to start listening and oral tests in
primary school as part of the curriculum. Anyway, English is a lingua franca, but many students are
still reluctant to learn it. I am not good in English is a merely excuse. I find it funny because it has
become an opening for many conversations. For me, there is no good English, there is only
understandable English. Even if you throw bombastic words to me in a conversation, while I dont
understand it, I would not think your English is good. So this is how KISS rule applies (Google it!).
Take your time by using common phrases in English. Master them and I am sure you would be talking
like a native speaker in the future. For your information, I am taking German now. If I were to
compare English and German, I would say that German is much harder than English.

Their verbs are weird (the word haben have in German is different conjugation for every
pronoun such as habe, hast, hat, haben)

The articles of the have different forms (das, die, der)

Even plurals are not as straightforward (can you imagine the plural of Buch book is Bcher

Although it seems hard for me, Germans are so used these. It is the same as our native languages.
We are so used to it, yet the foreigners are having tough time learning it. Do not wait for education
system to teach you how to speak English. It would never work! Take the initiative and learn English
on your own! Do not forget that where theres a will, theres WILL ALWAYS BE a way.

The Importance of Education


Of Education

Success Education

In Education Educational

School Teacher Education

Higher Education

Education Maths

Education com

By Andrew Zimmerman Jones

I believe that education is the single most important activity there is. If there is good
education, then I think everything else takes care of itself, on every level: personal, family,
business, community, state, regional, and national levels. I have faith that most of our
problems - economic disasters, international and intercultural strife, and even climate
problems - can ultimately be solved by a well-educated populace. Education is the
cornerstone to growth and there are many reasons to study physics as part of a well-rounded
Yesterday, President Obama gave a speech at Booker T. Washington High School in Memphis,
Tennessee, where he echoed some of my own thoughts on the matter. You can read the whole
speech or watch it on video, because it contains a lot of good stuff about the service provided

by teacher, and how education helps inspire you, but I'd like to focus now on some of his
words which I think are especially true of science and mathematics education:

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks

to the National Academy of Sciences on April 27, 2009 in Washington, DC.
Source: Dennis Brack-Pool/Getty Images
Through education, you ... learn how to learn -- how to think critically and find solutions to
unexpected challenges. I remember we used to ask our teachers, "Why am I going to need
algebra?" Well, you may not have to solve for x to get a good job or to be a good parent. But
you will need to think through tough problems. You'll need to think on your feet. You'll need
to know how to gather facts and evaluate information. So, math teachers, you can tell your
students that the President says they need algebra. (Laughter.)
Education also teaches you the value of discipline -- that the greatest rewards come not from
instant gratification but from sustained effort and from hard work. This is a lesson that's
especially true today, in a culture that prizes flash over substance, that tells us that the goal in
life is to be entertained, that says you can be famous just for being famous. You get on a
reality show -- don't know what you've done -- suddenly you're famous. But that's not going
to lead to lasting, sustained achievement.
I consider myself something of a Renaissance man, and I read widely in literature, history,
philosophy, and even religion, and even advocate for these areas being taught in crossdisciplinary ways with science (a rant for another time), but I think the above two paragraphs
speak especially strongly to the merits of a scientific education. They resonate with the words
of Richard Feynman (which I quoted in another post just a few days ago):
Science is a way to teach how something gets to be known, what is not known, to what extent
things are known (for nothing is known absolutely), how to handle doubt and uncertainty,
what the rules of evidence are, how to think about things so that judgments can be made, how
to distinguish truth from fraud, and from show.
Developing this sort of understanding takes time and discipline. The ideas of President
Obama and Richard Feynman become more practical in this passage by physicist Lawrence
Krauss (culled from the text of his new Feynman biography Quantum Man):
Physical intuition is a fascinating, ephemeral kind of skill. How does one know which avenue
of approach will be most fruitful to solve a physics problem? No doubt some aspects of
intuition are acquired. This is why physics majors are required to do so many problems. In
this way, they begin to learn which approaches work and which don't, and increase their
toolkit of techniques along the way.
These benefits aren't limited to the study of physics. That is part of the point of all the years of
school: developing intuition in a wide range of areas and solving a wide range of problems.

According to some studies, becoming an expert at something takes 10,000 hours. If you
assume that a student is actually learning for 5 hours a day in school (a generous estimate for
many schools), 180 days a year, then 12 years of school results in 10,800 hours, but at what
are our students becoming experts?
One would hope that it's the general art of thinking, of analyzing ideas, of dissecting concepts
to discern their individual merits and flaws, of developing strategies for dealing with
problems, and of articulating clear opinions about these things. An education like that, to be
sure, requires discipline and will yield the benefits of character that President Obama outlined
in his speech