My learned friend Jebat Must Die (JMD) presented yet another impressive treatise, and again puts me to shame. Instead of focussing on individual policies such as teaching Maths and Science in English (PPSMI) or Satu Sekolah untuk Semua (SSS), he has chosen to attack the lack of a comprehensive education revamp whilst mounting an attack on the vested interests and outright profiteering that may the root cause of the mayhem in our education system!
I have chosen to build on my comments at his blog here as part of my body of writing on PPSMI as I believe it is important to put my views on it also in the context of my support for SSS.
The politics of education in any country is passionate, and rightly so, but the policies and implementation are too readily buffeted by other considerations, like politics. Unfortunately, in my view, even high minded goals like achieving or strengthening National Unity is also an irrelevance, or is at best, a secondary consideration, when deciding on our education policy.
The education policy should be focussed on education, the right education for the needs of our children, in order to attain a livelihood and be able to afford to be good citizens of the future, whatever that may mean in the decades hence from the time they begin kindergarten. (And they should all be given a chance to experience kindergarten.) Statistics such as those indicating education being the best long term enabler of social justice help justify such a course of action.
My support for SSS is hence not with National Unity or primacy of Bahasa Malaysia as a national language as a key reason, but simply because SSS if implemented properly would deliver the most efficient allocation of resources to achieve optimum delivery of education to the masses in the history of our young nation!
Just on beauracracy alone, SSS must represent a savings, and when you add to that removal of the need for compensatory mechanisms in the system like ‘kelas peralihan’ all the way to killing the debate and political cost on vernacular schools, it is a step in the right direction!
Perhaps then, it is the sheer efficiency of SSS that the more intelligent of the profiteers of our education policy fears… wallahualam...
In any case, perhaps aiming for compulsory passes in SPM English to lead to the abolishing or amendment of the PPSMI policy, together with strengthening the English syllabus and returning compulsory credit for Bahasa Malaysia at SPM are too shallow as aspirations. Perhaps as JMD has indicated, it is time for not just the Minister of Education, but all of us, to 'Carpe Diem', seize the day, and drive for a total revamp of our education policy once and for all!
Be damned the profiteers... SSS is turning out to be a truly worthy cause to champion!