29 March 2014

With a Sigh ( No 19 ) – No turning back for PBS

PBS forever

In my No 18 of this series I questioned whether I was being unjustly critical on the subject of PBS and, in general, on the education ‘blueprint’. When I was about to drop the issue from my mind two things prompted me to sit back to write this. First was the news splash on the endless PBS issue. There is no going back. It will be bulldozed through with a huge concession; teachers’ workload will be reduced by 80%.Isn’t that fantastic? Had no one ever thought through the implementation of a major project, or was there no one with his/her brain working outside the guitar box?  How could such a huge impact on workload was never thought of; pure nincompoop. Now do I hear, “Hurray!!” from teachers on hearing the recent discovery of reduction on their workload ?    

The second announcement made was the planned disappearance of the current PMR examination, making way for the emergence of yet another examination called PT3 – whatever that is, of world class, no doubt. I am surprised if we will not be told that before long the SPM will be called differently, like SP1M.

A Perfect solution !

As a rule, children join Almanar tuition class at Form 1, allowing sufficient time for us to give these children sound understanding of the basic knowledge in English language and Mathematics by the time they sit for their PMR examination three years later. This has proved successful. It is never our requirement that children are accepted on the basis of their good primary school records. Preference is given to those with poor family as long as the children are prepared to move at the pace we, taking cognition of the level of their knowledge, set for them,

Unfortunately there are instances when we get request for help from children at higher Forms. A typical example is the case of three girls of Form 4 who, ten days ago, approached Pakcik for help in English and Mathematics. They performed well enough in their PMR examination end of last year, gaining as many as 6 ‘A’ grades in subjects except English and Mathematics. Two of them managed to obtain ‘C’ grade and the third just ‘D’ grade in English. No one in that school obtained all ‘A’ grades in the examination. These three children are conscious of the need to get help but are not prepared to pay for evening tuition classes mushrooming around the area.

To have a very rough indication of the level of their English, I made them translate into English the following two Malay sentences:

Adam seorang budak bernama Ali. Dia mempunyai dua orang abang.

Girl No 1’s answer : “Have a boy name Ali. He has two brothers.”
Girl No 2’s answer  : "Have boy is name Ali. He have two elder brother.”
Girl No 3’s answer  : “There are boy name Ali. He have two brothers.”

Wouldn't I heave a long sigh when I am faced with this situation? Will the ‘blueprint’, PBS and so on, solve it all in future ?


Special request to my visitors:

I know a number of visitors to this blog are teachers with experience in general and English Language in particular. Bearing in mind that many do not wish to give open comments for other visitors to read, I sincerely seek their comments, (via  email to   almanar@pd.com.my ), on my thoughts related to education in Malaysia. I must admit that, entrenched in the system I was so familiar with half a century ago, I could have reflected a totally out-dated thoughts. I would not be embarrassed or offended to adverse comments which I am grateful for.

Berkhidmat kerana Tuhan untuk keemanusiaan


kaykuala said...

Dear Pakcik
1. I agree with your thoughts. If 80% is to be taken off why nobody thought about it until all the objections erupted or alternatively does this indicate not much thought was done in the planning stage before?
2. If it is countered they planned well before, then 80% (that's a big chunk)to be taken off will be at the expense it being less effective now.


ngasobahseliman said...

I like the way you vent out your feeling on this PBS of the Ministry of Education.I consider it a fair way of telling the power circle that it is time they listen to others, listen hard and listen well.
I worked in the Ministry for a total of 20 yrs, though I am not a teacher. For 10 years I was doing Finance and Development and the last 10 years before retirement I was in charge of the Human Resource Department. Although 10 years into retirement now I can still remember the management culture and decision making. With due respect, not many people will take the risk to do something different. Many would rather stick to protocol for reasons best known to themselves. Hence you feel frustrated, and so do I, to learn the flip-flop strategy in trying to achieve the mission and vision of the organization, inclusive of the so-called BLUE-PRINT.
I have stories to tell but who would listen......

Al-Manar said...

Dear Hank,

It is a pity when issues of utmost national important involving future generation, the like of national education, do not seem to be thought of and thoroughly discussed at various levels before implementation. We have too many young people with high academic qualifications but with hardly any working experience. What shows is pure arrogance in not wanting to admit one's wrong.

Al-Manar said...


Waalaikum Salaam NSBS.
We all have our own right to think but to speak out is not necessarily right unless it is directed to the right individual. I sigh and say it out with sarcasm knowing the right people to hear would never want to hear. Once I wrote to a member of a state executive committee, who made his e-email known for people to write to him. Given the opprtunity I wrote something on education, elevant to his area of responsibility. Of course, there was no response. on other occasions, I wrote two private letters to the VC’s of two universities, and personally delivered to their offices. Likewise there was not even an acknowledgement from either of them.

As you said, we have stories ‘but who would listen’. But saying all these among us will tell whether we are all alone at odd or we are with the majority. For this reason I use this forum (blog/email) for my readers to say where I am wrong. In my old job, decades ago I had to learn to speak up or speak down. Only then I had a measure of respect to progress.

Consequently, I consider those people as immature, much needing to be taught their areas of responsibilities and norms of behaviour. I was never in your position of responsibility in the public sector. What little you said rings a bell all right.
Please, email me what else you have. I would love to share your thought and experience.

Anonymous said...

Assalamualaikum Pakcik!!!
This is idora, do you still remember this ignorant brat? Haha!
First and foremost, I would like to say "I miss you so much!! No, scratch that, it's too much!" I am about to sleep, then I recall back all the memories learning at Al-Manar before. They still bring me to tears.
I am about to wander around your contents first before actually writing you 'my special' letter. Haha. However, when I see the broken English written by your current students, it reminds me of my old me. My old self who doesn't even know what finite verb is, and lots of things I don't know about English. Now, here I am, on my journey of becoming an English teacher. It's embrassing to admit that actually, as my English is still poor. Deep down, I admit, I am not even deserve to hold a degree in teaching English. *sigh*
Dear Pakcik, how I wish I could turn back the time and learn as much as I can from you and how I wish I still could become your student now-even though I am already 'old and rusty'. Haha. I don't mind all the sarcasm because it feeds my brain to think about it.

Al-Manar said...


You would be surprised when I say that you are of those I think of and would very much like to meet. At least send me an sms through 019 9839703 . I was told about you going to be an English teacher. That pleases me, truly. Please sms pakcik.

Thank you for calling here, Idora