Do away with quotas

I have read a lot about plans to revert the teaching of Science and Mathematics to Bahasa Malaysia.

Teachers in secondary schools get an incentive, which is an additional 5% of their basic salary to teach these core subjects — Science, Maths and English.

I must point out that even now, with the subjects being taught in English, many teachers who are not as proficient in the language speak to their students in Bahasa Malaysia. Even English language is taught in Bahasa Malaysia!

While this may seem ridiculous to many, I think we have reached this pathetic stage simply because of the quota system.

When there weren’t enough teachers of a particular race to teach a certain subject, there was still pressure to recruit them to teach the subject just to make up the numbers. This resulted in unqualified people taking on tasks that they had no interest and expertise in.

English teachers who get their tenses mixed are aplenty and make a mockery of the education system.

There is even a quota system for “Exemplary Teachers” or Guru Cemerlang, as I found out.

In 2006, I decided to submit my name for Guru Cemerlang, since I had the necessary qualifications. Some language teaching experts watched me as I taught my English classes for two days. They were impressed with my techniques and my ability to keep even the weaker classes engaged throughout the lessons.

One of them said that she would strongly recommend me, but pointed out that I shouldn’t be disappointed if I were not selected as there was a quota system involved.

This incident only spurred me on to apply for an English course sponsored by the American government.

I am proud to say that I was one of only four people selected for the course.

I had the experience of teaching English to native speakers of English and that speaks volumes. We have the UPSR examination in Standard Six. What happens to students who do not pass a single subject? Are there remedial measures in place for students like them?

Those from Tamil and Chinese schools have to spend an additional year in Remove class but what happens to weak students from national schools who still make it to Form One. Can they cope?

I believe that all students who fare badly in UPSR, irrespective of the schools they come from, should be put in remedial classes before they move on to Form One.

Is the Education Ministry keen on giving the English Language the importance it deserves?

If so, then make it compulsory for students to at least pass the subject at SPM-level before they are given a certificate.

Otherwise, it can make English an elective subject which can be taken by students who are really interested to master it. People from the ministry should make spot checks in schools and observe teachers to ensure that those who are given the additional incentives to teach Mathematics, Science and English, are doing their jobs well.

If they are not doing so, take the necessary action, irrespective of race, creed and colour. Why should our children suffer just because of the quota system?

WAKE-UP CALL Via e-mail

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