Because of the Government we have to slave over Bahasa tuition.

A student should not be saying, “I’m not learning anything in class that I need from this teacher, so I have to go for tuition with said teacher”.

There is this irrational fear that if you fail your Bahasa you will get nowhere in life. The last time I checked, you can fail all your subjects and yet be allowed to go to the next year until you reach Form 5. I say this fear is irrational because if each teacher is doing her job, 11 years of being immersed in a system with Bahasa as one of the main mediums of instruction should not result in failure. And there’s always the July paper.

The irony is that 99% of people who are so fearful of not obtaining high scores in Bahasa Malaysia tests in primary school are the same people who would say they have no interest in their child pursuing a public service or government servant’s job in Malaysia. Perhaps more than half of them are not even desirable of going to a local university, which is the place one needs a credit in Bahasa for. I, on the other hand, am very hopeful that my child will enter public service or be a civil servant. Yet, to be honest, my daughter does pretty badly in her Bahasa Malaysia during school tests. Regardless, I have seen her interest in the language and its cultural aspects,
its communicative functions and her skills in ‘planning a karangan’ and ‘figuring out the right imbuhams’ greatly improve since she left a vernacular school. The teachers at @@@ school must be doing something right in teaching her how to approach learning the language.

I am grateful to her teachers for instilling a sense of interest and culture in her through the learning of Bahasa Malaysia. She watches Indonesian dramas and compares the quality in storytelling between them and the Malaysian ones. She can critically evaluate that the translation for High School Musical 2 into Bahasa spoiled the whole thing. I think above perfect scores, this is the objective of learning Bahasa Malaysia….to be able to appreciate the language, access the cultural content and develop critical thinking in it apart from learning the systems of the language and its similarities./differences to another language. But I could be wrong. It really looks like I’m wrong because I’m the only one out there who wants to believe in the Visions and Virtues of our Education System.

Speaking again of the System (which I am no fan of, but do not completely blame it) I have never come across the idea that the government has implicitly or explicitly expressed that students require perfect scores from Std.1 in order to hack it in Malaysia. And I went through every page of the school record book, with all our piagams and objektifs.

Besides, even if Bahasa Malaysia or Spanish were a foreign language to me, 11 years of formal schooling in that medium of instruction should be able to provide me with the basic reading and writing (including listening and speaking) skills to progress to an intermediate to independent learner of the language! The fact that we need perfect scores in tests, especially for Bahasa Malaysia ‘because we are in Malaysia’ in order to make a living is so ridiculous I don’t even know whether I want to laugh or cry when I hear it. All these fear-induced Bahasa tuition ……..Pfffft!

Perfect scores are a waste of the paper they are printed on if too little learning has happened in between those years to enable the student to function basically, or better still, prolifically in that given subject. A student should not be saying, “I’m not learning anything in class that I need from this teacher, so I have to go for tuition with said teacher”.

POSTSCRIPT:  Not quite the post you were expecting but hey, I loved Bahasa and still do. Perhaps I should start teaching Bahasa. No more challenge in teaching ESL.  – Nov,2010


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