( REGRET : I am sorry if the first few lines look odd. I do not know why and how to correct it!!)
Hardly a day passes without someone writing in
the dailies about our education. I seem to get the
impression that much of the credits come from
those in authority. People at large, on the other
hand, seem to express their weariness over the
current situation. For a start there is no end to the
issue of PPSMI. Our former PM warned that Malays
will be left behind in the acquisition of knowledge
if the government continues to neglect the
teaching of science and mathematics in the English
language. I was not surprised to understand that
Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) was all for
teaching Science and Mathematics in Malay. If I
choose to be cynical I would produce a copy of
DBP’s dictionary to show the number of English
words which have been butchered to become
acceptable Malay words. Many of those words do
not make Bahasa Malayu any richer.
I am happy to have a home among the rural/semi urban society. My daily preoccupation at Almanar over the last many years has, consequently, brought me close to many children, rural in upbringing, many with inadequacies; and I have opportunities to interact with heir teachers. It is a shame to hear increasing negative remarks from these educators over the current situation in school. Generally they feel that they are no longer fulfilling their duties as teachers. Among other non academic activities, the introduction of PBS system ( whatever that is! ) leaves them with little time for teaching.
I feel sorry for those teachers and, of course, for the school children. In my selfish way I cannot help feeling that the few children who attend Almanar tuition classes are lucky to learn something.
A couple of weeks ago a group of Form 3 children asked if I would introduce Physics during this long holiday, in advance of their class when they go back to school in January 2014. I like the thought of doing that for them. To satisfy them I picked up one of the old Physics books in my possession. This happened to be one I purchased for one of my children in 1986 ( 27 years ago ). I suppose to the gods of education in the ministry this book is positively archaic. To me the title itself , ‘Physics for you’, is friendly and inviting.
How about learning some Physics the old method?
I cannot help being amused every time I open the page on ‘measuring Heat’ where a pupil is encouraged to complete a simple poem. It is so typical of many societies, Malay no less, that children are humoured to learn from enchantingly simple poems.
Can you work out the rhyme?
Little Jack Holmer,
Sat in a corner,
Feeling so chilly and cool,
He said, “ I should eat,
And so produce ……
The unit of which is …..”
Whatever ‘education blue print’ the gods of education choose to implement, Pakcik will doggedly carry on teaching at Almanar the way he was taught some sixty years ago! Schooling was fun. Of course it was not funny when you got a cane whipped on your palm for your failure to rattle aloud from memory any of the multiplication tables from 2 to 12 for your teacher. Today a child simply needs to press a couple of buttons to get the answer for 2 times 10. Nor was it funny in those days when, for not putting in a fair share of work, you had to remain another year in whatever class if you failed the end-of-the-year examination. It was even less funny when you would get sacked for failing twice.
But schooling was fun.
I can only draw a sigh, and keep giving lessons to these children the only way I know how.
Berkhidmat kerana Tuhan untuk kemanusiaan