Friday, December 7, 2012

Need to change educational culture

If Malaysia is to compete in an innovation-led economy, we need to have a system where students learn to think independently while teachers provide the necessary support.

OVER the last two years, the Education Ministry has been busy adapting the national education system to current needs, such as abolishing the Penilaian Menengah Rendah (PMR) and a soft landing for the discontinuation of the teaching of Science and Mathematics in English. After over five decades, it is now embarking on a total review of the system, and with it, the chance to resolve the most pressing problem: our exam-centred educational culture.

Globally, education is shifting from this teacher-centred approach towards a student-centred paradigm where students learn independently while teachers provide support. This is needed now because what we teach will soon be outdated, so students must know how to actively find information and apply it to their situation. Hence we need to be teaching the sciences using inductive methods such as problem-based, enquiry-based and discovery learning.

The most important role of the Education Minisry in the education review is not to please as many parties as possible, but to design an education system that equips Malaysian children for new global realities. If they get it right, we are headed for a great future.