Friday, December 10, 2010

Back to school: A father’s nightmare

Posted on 10th DEC 2010
In the name of Allah, Most Merciful, Most Compassionate; blessings and peace be upon Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.


There is no god but He,
Praise and glory to Him;
Far is He from having the partners
they associate unto Him. (Tauba 9:31)

THE rush to buy school requirements such as uniforms, bags and shoes is getting momentum; some parents and their children are seen busy at such stores. Shopkeepers are also busy displaying and heaping those items in strategic locations of their shops; rows of school bags are seen hanging in the shops while samples of shoes placed on special selves that could grab attention.

As mentioned in my previous article ‘Be prepared to sacrifice for your children’s education’, December is the month parents have to dig deep inside their pockets to pay for their school going children’s needs.

For starters, I had given RM250 to my wife to buy new uniforms and shoes for my 9 year old daughter who had been chosen as librarian next year. She has to discard all her ‘baju kurung’ and ‘kain sarung’ for the new sets of uniform. Her white shoes too had to be changed into black ones.

The RM250 allocation was just the beginning, when school administrators open counters for payments of fees while school book shops reopen at the end of this month (December), parents had to dig deeper inside their pockets.

A primary school child needs about RM200 while those in secondary schools around RM300 but could increase to RM1,000 if one is at a residential school.

The high expenses on our children’s education mentioned in my earlier article, received several feed backs from readers. A reader, MIN has this to say:

Encik Lan,

With reference to your earlier article on the expenses a family has to spend in the next year coming school session. Yes, you are right, yours truly is already having cold sweat when the thought of next year school session which will begin in about one month time.

Every year without fail, this is the biggest headache faced by every parent with their school going kids. The cost keeps increasing every year, without fail, from the kindergarten up to the college level.

The mainstream media if I may recall few years back did highlight this problem faced by many of us but as usual in this country everything is on the basis of ‘hangat-hangat tahi ayam’ which means they just report about the issue without any solution or feedbacks from the relevant authority on how this can be resolved.

You have not included the pocket money we need to provide to our school going children, RM2 means nothing nowadays compared to my 40 cents I got during my primary school.

On any amount of money we spend obviously the first thing we would want is the return. In the world of business, an investor would want to know what is the return they will gain, similarly as parents who have invested not small amount of money on our school going children we definitely want every single cent spend to be worthy.

Do you really think Encik Lan, the money these parents spend really worth it? Do you know the quality of our ‘sekolah kebangsaan’?

Can you name me any minister who sends their children to our national primary school? I read somewhere that our Home Minister sends his children to a private school. Why did he do that? Obviously it is because of the quality of education received in the private school and not because of the canteen food or it is near to his house!

I read in one of your article that your wife is a teacher and pretty sure your wife has plenty of stories on the issues she had with our education system. Education is the most important thing that a parent must without any excuse provide to their children and with the money we spend and the return we received from these schools it is crystal clear that the money spent are not in equation with our education standard.

There will be, in most schools 40 students in a class. Can a teacher focus on each and every student? First thing first, do they have the time for that when they are bogged down with other works requested by the ‘Kementerian’?

Secondly, most teachers are Malay lady and more often than not, they have no other alternative but to become a teacher! They do not become a teacher for the love of teaching but because they could not find other job and as a result, when they teach is not because they are passionate about improving their ‘anak bangsa’ but more to ‘cari makan’ and ‘saya yang menurut perintah’!

Next thing, you look at the curriculum, it has not changed much since I left school in 1985. Shouldn’t the curriculum taught in school to gear up our children in the future?

The focus of most schools are to produce the highest number of A’s in UPSR, PMR and SPM. Whether they learn anything after school, you can look at the quality of our school leavers around you.

As a father to four children, I am definitely worried with the standard of education we have currently but unfortunately I do not have the money to send them to private school.

My children will have to enter the normal ‘sekolah kebangsaan’ and of course to prepare them for a better education, I have to send them for tuition classes, and these are not cheap, mind you!

We end up paying everything when it comes to education. Is this the norm in other country as well? Education has been politicized at the expense of our future generation.

Only those with money can afford to give the best education to their children and later their children will be the one who is well equipped compared to those who can only afford ‘sekolah kebangsaan’.

Why can’t the standard of our education be improved? That is why the Chinese don’t send their children to ‘sekolah kebangsaan’. This is the answer I got when I asked a Chinese friend of mine on why he did not send his children to ‘sekolah kebangsaan’, the teachers are always not in the class because they are attending meeting!

Education is the only asset we can leave to our children but at the rate our education system is going really send shivers to my spine. In my opinion it is heading nowhere and does not benefit the ‘rakyat’ at all.

Or is this the ‘grand design’ to ensure the Malays to continue to be lacking in terms of knowledge and education so that the ruling party can maintain that only them can be educated and their children will continue their legacy as what we can see now?

Was this not the agenda of the British when they rule this country last time? Only the elites whom they can control had the chance to obtain better education and not the ordinary ‘kampung folks’. Are we not Encik Lan, seeing the same pattern here? Wassalam.

No comments: