“Pak Cik, apa pilihan terbaik untuk saya?” is a normal question I am asked about this time of the year. I know many would say, “Accept metrikulasi. It is the best and you can save one year.” No, I see it quite differently. Metrikulasi runs last in Pak Cik’s list. I must beg to be different in my view, as some will not agree, that metrikulasi has done more harm than good to many pupils. I would have no hesitation to advise high achievers to take STPM, if they are living in big towns like KL, Ipoh and Penang where there are good STPM teachers, and compete with the many good non-Malay pupils.
In an environment where I am, Pak Cik have to be realistic. I have to ponder hard what a degree means to these children. Against my personal wish to see these children graduating from a university I cannot help picturing in my mind’s eye their parents’ faces expecting to see the day when there is some relief in their financial burden. Imagine the days when it rains hard and your small-time construction boss tells you there is no work to do. Imagine the days when you spend a whole day at sea and return home with hardly enough catch to pay for the diesel consumed by your outboard engine. There are mouths to feed. Fifty ringgits a month from a working child is meaningful.
Within the last one month I have counseled a few ex-Almanar pupils on their selection of courses offered to them. Invariably, I have to consider their strength and chances of success, not forgetting their family background. Here are some of the courses which Pak Cik have recently encouraged them to go for:
- Asasi pergigian
- Asasi medics
- Diploma radiography
- Diploma nursing
- Diploma engineering
- Diploma pharmacy
- Diploma catering
It was not a pleasant situation when I had to tell a father that his daughter’s chances of pursuing a course in radiography successfully were very slim.
There are a few who look down on ‘diploma’, preferring Metrikulasi on the advice of their families or some ‘learned’ individuals. Who am I to stop them?
I have no hesitation to advise high achievers to start with diploma courses at the end of which they can get a job, gain some experience, and earn some money for themselves and families. Some day, when the situation is more conducive, they can pick up where they have left off. With experience, their chances of achieving good degrees are even better. It brings to mind an ex-Almanar girl who started this way some years ago, getting herself a diploma in civil engineering. At the end of her long tunnel, she graduated with a first-class degree in civil engineering, and is now happily earning a living for herself and her aged parents.
Education must serve as a means to an end. It should never be one to satisfy and inflate one’s ego. And Pak Cik will continue to provide counseling my way.
02 June 2009
Higher Education – I do it my way (Part 2)
Below the majestic blue sky, below the veil of white cloud, below the crossing paths of speeding jets, below the green casuarina and coconut palms stands the humble black-and-white Almanar, anchored firmly to mother earth
Berkhidmat kerana Tuhan untuk kemanusiaan.