Let people have more choice

Yesterday, the PM visited Chong Hwa Independent High School for the School’s 90th anniversary dinner.

I think his visit augurs well for the multiracial society that is Malaysia. Chinese schools have played an important roles in producing many useful citizens, and many of the owners of SMEs have CHinese school backgrounds, just as English schools and National schools have played importnat roles in producing useful citizens.

What I am trying to say is that freedom of choice is very important when it comes to Education. I do not for once believe in the narrow view that a single stream will be the answer to our racial polarisation. Just look at the 10 percent of the Malaysian Chinese that attended National primary schools and you know that single stream is not the answer. Students in those schools do not mix well, especially in the urban and semi urban areas. Anyway, most of those who study in CHinese stream priamry school go on to study in national Secondary school, with only a small portion elected to go to CHinese Independent schools. Even in National Secondary schools, students do not mix well..

My youngest son is a graduate of Chong Hwa. He is diligent, courteous, respectful of elders, and is good in 3 languages. He writes well in all three languages, as are many of his classmates.

It is not easy to be accepted by CHong Hwa. My son got a place without having to sit for the school’s entrance exam, since his primary school results were very good and obtained all As in UPSR. Many of those who wish to go to Chong Hwa have to sit an entrance exam, and every year you have hundreds of them trying to qualify for a place in the school.

Why is it so? Well, it is a case of meritocracy at play. CHong Hwa has 100% passes in SPM for many straight years. The students are made to study in both CHinese and English as well as Bahasa. They study science and maths in both Bahasa and English, and that is why they are able to sit for SPM, as well as external exam called “Tong Kao” and exam which is set by the Dong Jiao ZHong and is recognised all over the world. IN fact, my son told me that Tong Kao is tougher than SPM .

WHen the school has a excellent record, you have people lining up to try tog et into the school. This is meritocracy at play, as I have mentioned earlier.

If all schools can have certain flexibilities to produce good students and schools compete with one another to produce good results, the whole system should improve.

That is why I have advocated to bring back the English stream. Why not? Wth more streams , there will be keener competition, just like in the 60s.

After all, there is already an unofficial English stream in town in the forms of International schools, where most of the big shots’ children and tycoon’s children and those-with-big-cable-and-money’s children are already studying there. WHy not make it official and let the not-so-rich and not-so-well-connected have a chance to choose whether to send their children to English schools too.

WHy only the elites can choose where to educate their children, and the non-elites have to follow policies set by these elites , themselves not following the policies that they set and instead sending their children to International schools?

Why not make it fairer and let the ordinary people have more choice?


14 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. clearwater
    Dec 15, 2009 @ 14:17:12

    Yes, I too am pro-choice. The greater the choice in education, the better. No one system can provide for all. Whatever the education system, whatever the medium of instruction, parents who pay for or who partake in the system, will determine its ultimate success or failure. Parents want to ensure a good end product and they will go to great lengths to ensure their children come out of the system as such. Not some clueless civil servant. Not some money making capitalist. These people do not care enough.


  2. CYC
    Dec 15, 2009 @ 15:06:30

    My friend went to an education fair with his son few days ago. He told me that now anybody could virtually have a degree as long as he afford to pay. Every field of studies has a price ranging from RM30k-60k for a business course to RM1million for a medical degree. The choices are plenty. This is a vast difference from 70s and 80s.

    Education will only serves its purpose if fulfill 2 basic criterias : 1. Teach a person to have his own reasoning ability, and 2. teach a person to make use of the knowledge he acquired for a right livelihood. Anything other than that is a bonus.

    Medium of instruction is only a tool to achieve its objective. It is proven that medium of instruction is no hindrance to scientific achievement. Just look at Japan, Korea, Germany etc. But one must ready to accept diversity and not live in its own “forbidden world”. This is shall be the key to unlock wealth of knowledge and master many language as one can. Let hundred flowers blossom together.

    One language policy is deem to fail the nation.

    Teach science n maths in English as a measure to enhance std or proficiency of English is a gimmick and definitely not a ideal method.


  3. Chabalang
    Dec 15, 2009 @ 16:29:26

    Just ask the BN big-guns where/what schools do they send their kids? That’s the true “acid-test” for M’sian education system. During my days in S’pore, I have a number of classmates/schoolmates who were S’pore ministers ‘children.

    Do our dear Ministers send their kids to the mainstream Malaysian schools and local universities???


  4. DG
    Dec 15, 2009 @ 16:50:06

    Dr, I came across a blog written as opposed to you opinion on the matter.
    What is your take on the matter ?


  5. disgusted
    Dec 15, 2009 @ 21:33:38

    The word or definition, “education” is a misnomer nowadays. Being “educated” has lost its meaning. Today, “education” purely means getting an empty rice bowl (the bigger the better) to secure a more materialistic or wealthy lifestyle.

    That’s all. Not all knowledge has improved the world through so-called education.


  6. daffodils
    Dec 15, 2009 @ 22:04:15

    Talking about private colleges, there are plentiful in Msia and that is why the yearly education fairs are held to compete for students. Anyway, private education is also a business enterprise.

    The fact that so many private colleges are flourishing is a testament of the woeful state of our local instutitions of higher learning.

    In Singapore national universities like NUS and Nanyang are of such supreme quality that private universities stand very little chance of competing for students.

    Universities in UK like Warwick accept students turned away by NUS for courses like law and accounting. Even the local students find it tough in their applications. Applications is based purely on merit.

    Some time ago when University of New South Wales opened its doors in Singapore, it could only survive for a short period because of low student enrolment.

    Here in Msia medical colleges are sprouting at an appalling rate and housemen with hardly any clinical experience are roaming our hospitals.

    Come to think of it, it is scary now to seek treatment in local hospitals if the competency of the medical personnel is in doubt. How can medical degrees be dished out in such a haphazard manner?


  7. klm
    Dec 15, 2009 @ 22:58:10

    Malaysia. Land of celup. You can print any degree as long as you can pay.


  8. mycuntree
    Dec 15, 2009 @ 23:43:34

    It’s pretty obvious that the local, and especially the national schools, is in the dumps. The very fact that the elites choose never to sent their own kids there says more than anything or anyone ever can about it.

    It’s not ironic that the elites. especially the political elites, claims and says that there is nothing wrong with the national schools. The every day Tans, Ramus and Ahmads are encouraged to sent their kids there, so that they will be less competition from these kids, for their kids; later in life.


  9. Dr Hsu
    Dec 16, 2009 @ 09:24:05

    You have hit the nail right on its head.

    When there is no meritocracy and when education as well as health services are commercialised, you will have a situation where money can buy anything, including degrees and so on.


  10. justmy2SEN
    Dec 16, 2009 @ 15:49:08

    I talked to my angmoh frens in Uni about chinese in Malaysia vs chinese in US, and they told me if chinese US were adamant on having their own school etc, and refuse to assimilate with the mainstream, US people would not even consider these chinese imigrants as US citizens….

    So go figurelah..

    ps: Its fine if u want to preserve the language and we can still do it in a single education (Malay would also be able to learn mandarin), and revamp on the sekolah kebangsaan to suit the minorities needs. BUT you guys don’t even want to work towards it and prefer to be separated. DAMN even BM syllabus exam is NOT THE SAME, what the hell? How can u call yourself Malaysian if you can’t even construct one sentence in the national language?


  11. Dr Hsu
    Dec 16, 2009 @ 16:45:04

    Read this article about CHinese schools in New York.


    The article was written in 2006 .


  12. A true Malaysian
    Dec 16, 2009 @ 22:28:06


    Apa yang anda hendak bukti dalam komen-komen anda? Adakah anda cuba kata bahawa kaum-kaum “pendatang” hutang budi kepada orang “arus utama” (mainstream)?

    Sebenarnya, kamu tidak pun mengetahui atau tidak mengambil kira unsur-unsur mengapa sampai sekarang, sekolah-sekolah Cina and Tamil masih wujud sejak zaman penjajahan Inggeris.

    Biarlah saya mengongsi pedapat saya antara unsur-unsur yang saya maksudkan.

    Pada zaman penjajahan Inggeris, buruh orang-orang Cina and Tamil hijrah dari Thong San (China) untuk mencari kehidupan yang lebih selesa dan dibawa mereka, sistem persekolahan masing-masing. Ini adalah kerana orang-orang Cina dan Tamil tidak dibenarkan belajar di sekolah-sekolah Inggeris pada masa itu dan juga untuk tujuan kebudayaan masing-masing. Dengan usaha yang tungkus-lumus, sistem sekolah Cina khasnya telah mengembang pada masa ke semasa.

    Pada masa itu, kerajaan Perikatan yang diterajui Umno, MCA dan MIC pun belum wujud sama sekali. Jadi, kewujudan sekolah-sekolah Cina pun bukan kerana kebenaran kerajaan Perikatan. Sebagai sebahagian syarat-syarat mendapat kemerdekaan, hak-hak kaum Melayu dan bukan Melayu pun dipertimbangkan dan termaktub dalam Perlembagaan negara. Sekolah-sekolah Cina dan lain-lain pun dibenarkan wujud sampai sekarang.

    Tetapi, adakah anda fikir, mengapa kaum-kaum Cina dan India tidak sedia memansuhkan sistem sekolah masing-masing dan menerima sistem sekolah kebangsaan? Bagi saya, ini adalah kerana kepercayaan tulin antara kaum-kaum tidak dapak dijalin walaupun sudah lama negara kita merdeka sejak tahun 1957. Antara sebab-sebab ialah polisi-polisi kerajaan yang tidak saksama.

    Oleh itu, bagi saya, kepercayaan tulin antara kaum-kaum mesti diwujudkan sebelum kita semua bersedia menerima sistem persekolahan kebangsaan yang anda maksudkan. Saya juga harap kepercayaan tulin dapat dicapai, tetapi adalah sangat susah sekiranya kita masih ada orang-orang seperti Ahmad Ismail, Awang Selamat, ahli-ahli politik yang mainkan politik rasis dan ugama. Saya harap anda bukan orang yang demikian.

    Untuk pengetahuan anda, saya adalah produk sekolah Cina. Saya tidak anggap Bahasa Melayu saya sechanggih kaum Melayu, tetapi setakat memadai seorang warganegara Malaysia. Adalah tidak adil bagi kamu komen semacam berikut,

    “DAMN even BM syllabus exam is NOT THE SAME, what the hell? How can u call yourself Malaysian if you can’t even construct one sentence in the national language?”

    Kalau boleh, saya ingin membaca komen kamu yang seterusnya dalam Bahasa Melayu. Isu seperti apa maksud BM pun selama-lama ini ditukar-tukar dari Bahasa Melayu kepada Malaysia dan tukar balik kepada Bahasa Melayu. Macam mana kita dapat jalin kepercayaan yang tulin itu?

    So go figurelah..


  13. sptay
    Dec 17, 2009 @ 13:26:44

    A lot of Chinese like to sing praises of the Chinese schools…usually because of the fine scholars they produce…mostly defined narrowly as students that score the many A’s in public examinations….

    Yet hidden behind the facade of the many A students, there is a very sad truth which the Chinese Educationists never talk about…i.e. the high drop out rate of these Chinese students….how many of the students that attend Chinese school who enter Standard 1, dropped out by Form 3? or by Form 5?

    As a student in Chinese school (or for that matter in any Malaysian school), if you are not academically inclined and you are intelligent in other ways….”God have mercy on you”…because the schools are not capable of educating you…

    In some Chinese school, you are also prevented to take some subjects (even Chinese) if they think that you are unlikely do score good grades for them in the public exams….

    Chinese schools try to hide their poor students and exhibit their peformers….

    Many of less academically inclined Chinese students have such traumatic educational experiences in these schools that they lose confidence in themselves when it comes to studying…

    I have seen some these students do well in Australia…and discover their ability to study when they are expose to different teaching methods and learning atmosphere…


  14. Rhan
    Dec 18, 2009 @ 11:44:01

    I believe dropout happen in all stream, this is a socio-economy problem, nothing to do with whether the school is a Chinese, National or a Tamil one. As for issue like hide this and that or exhibit this and that, tell me which school in the world doesn’t do it?

    Chinese do not have the habit to praise and used to be humble to the point of being label as falsehood, so there must be a reason behind such glorification. Please read more of Hsu past article and learn a little bit about politic and Chinese way of doing thing because it seem that you know very little of Chinese and Chinese school.

    DG “What is your take on the matter?”

    Hsu always give and seldom take, so let me take on behalf to reply some question raise by this Ah Tuan.

    1. Orang Malaysia have the rights and opportunity to learn any language we deem is practical and with cultural aspect, of course not to the extent not to learn our national language. To limit our choice and force us to opt for priority is the hallucination of Ah Tuan alone.

    2. We live in one bless country Malaysia which upholds diversity that are not with monolithic culture and language, we shall therefore respect the rights of every Malaysian include the minority to learn our mother tongue. I don’t see how Ah Tuan can come to a conclusion that the national language is taught as second language in Chinese school, don’t we learn the national language since standard one up to the end of secondary level? In fact many Chinese student give up Mandarin along the way while everyone know the national language is a compulsory subject. By the way, Ah Tuan is the one that insists to study English, the official language of his earlier Tuan.

    3. The Chinese school is a 100% Malaysia school that emphasized three languages, and places utmost importance on science and mathematics subject. We are very certain Chinese school resemble any universal education system that were approved by our education ministry. Does Ah Tuan know that religion and moral subject was never the core characteristic of Malaysia education system? I think he mix up Malaysia and Arabia.

    4. It is a well known fact that Chinese school is open for all. We don’t practice discrimination. It is also a well known fact what school and university in Malaysia practice segregation to shun competition. From Ah Tuan shallow knowledge of Malaysia education development and endeavors, perhaps he is merely a newly promoted Tuan that wants to be more Tuan than the Tuan.

    5. Ah Tuan, do us a favor and kick out that MCA bastard la, we want to do that long time ago.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: