Fri, 19 Jul 2024


What the people say
Published on: Saturday, December 20, 2014
Text Size:

THE Malaysian Education System needs a desperate overhaul. In any world surveys on education system, we rank below the average. One of the problems is that we change our system and policies frequently and do away with the tried and proven methods and systems practised in other nations. We succumb easily to nationalist sentiments. The end result is that we produce mediocre students, devoid of critical thinking and creativity. They become spoon-fed and find it hard to compete in the real world. – Former Yayasan Sabah Group Director Datuk Dr Johan Ariffin Abdul Samad.

Outdated and fact retention

I THINK the Malaysian Education System is orthodox, focusing on fact retention. It does not promote lateral thinking nor does it equip students for the working world.

Graduates from Malaysia are often left behind many of their other counterparts globally in terms of aptitude, soft skills, general knowledge. But of course, I’m comparing the topic to more developed nations like Singapore. I would definitely encourage an education outside of Malaysia or in private school.

As a product of public school, I love being able to say it but I felt like teachers often had too much on their plate and were focused on the wrong things – they sometime lack passion for teaching and this would come across to the students. It is not a good thing. I don’t know if the present system is different now, but I find many graduates from local universities still lacking aptitude, confidence and communication skills. – Julia Chan, journalist

Missionary schools any time better

OUR education is lacking in critical and problem solving skills. At present the school’s history books are also biased, resulting in many from the peninsula asking Sabahans things like “It this your first time coming to Malaysia?”

The ever-changing system also raises doubts whether children at school are learning subjects with credible standards. As a result many lose confidence in the system. Presently, students put too much attention getting As in their examinations – the more As they have, the better it is.

I would definitely consider sending my children overseas for tertiary because it has been proven, those who graduated from schools abroad are more matured and their ideas are well accounted for in many areas. Studying is often seen as a responsibility in Malaysia.

Students are not allowed to form opinions or raised questions. If they did, someone older would tell them to keep it shut.

At the moment, I made a wise choice sending one of my kids to a missionary school, where they become a quick to learn individuals as compared to his brother who went through Kemas pre-school.

I will continue to send my children to mission schools for their primary education. – Martha Thomas, Information Officer

Prefer Mission schools

AS a devout born-again Catholic, I am sceptical of the kind of education my son will receive in school. I will opt for home schooling or send him to private school. The most important thing for my son is to sit O-level which is way better than SPM anyway. – Tracy Patrick, mother of one

Skills important

ANY form of education is good but there is a need to look into specialised areas such as engineering and commerce.

Not all students would excel academically but many of them are still doing better in life than those who did. All of us need something to fall back on, when life gives a “good” knock-down.

Everyone needs good skill-sets to remain resilient in any form of economic weather.

My father went through two eras in his lifetime. He did not have good academic qualification. When Parti Bersatu Sabah took helm of the government in the 90s they shut down his workplace, Car Pool System (CPS). He was out of job for six months. But he had some sort of a gold mine that kept the six of us siblings raised properly.

He was good at fixing cars, electrical appliances and carpentry. Many people would come around the house on his off-day in the weekend to get some things fixed. He went on doing the same thing when he went into retirement until he died in 1999. We were devastated. Today, one but cannot help but to pay to get the leaked pipe fixed. – Jason Edgar, 36.

Too many exams

STUDENTS nowadays are burdened with too much schoolwork, too much homework and too many exams. Even the media glorify those who got straight As in UPSR, PMR and SPM.

But many of these students lack communication skills and while they are good in paper, the are mediocre in practicals. I also do not think scoring 12As in exams is good. What is the point? Education is not just about exam and getting good results.

It is supposed to produce future leaders but many times these students lack leadership qualities. They are also not good in English maybe because many teachers are incompetent but also because our system is too teaching-oriented. Teachers talk and students listen. Our young people need to form opinions and practice high-level of thinking and set aside the spoon-fed methods. – Florence Dangka, a mother.

No thinking allowed

I THINK the education system is not good because it does not allow students to think. It just allows them to follow and also memorise things which is not enough. – Adam from Putatan

All ifs fine

FOR me, I like our current education system. A lot of leaders have been born through our current education system. For a system to work, all parties need to work together, so I think Malaysia is doing just fine. Teachers, parents and students work together. If one fails, it’s because of other reasons. Perhaps one is not interested in academia? That’s also not a problem because we have vocational schools and art schools. Training in a specific field is also provided by the government through short courses. – Shanti from Petagas

Heading for disaster

I THINK the current education system is heading for disaster because the study of other religions are not included, hence making it difficult for others to understand each other. Unity is important to be implemented in school and this is one way to further enhance that, I think. – Laila from KK

Introduce art

ART should be implemented in our current education system to make students more creative, and able to think outside of the box. – Anonymous

Have music and art

MUSIC and art should be included to further enhance the already good education system. I wouldn’t say it has failed us. I’d say that it needs to be improved. If we want to be better, we must always try to improve ourselves. We must emulate those with better education systems. – C.P. from KK

Both good and bad

I THINK our education system is good to a certain extent. It is also bad to a certain extent. I think we should make the effort to improve it. To add English as a medium of instruction could also help our students speak better English. – Anonymous

Have right teacher mix

IN my opinion, teachers should come from different racial and cultural backgrounds. If you include those from overseas into the pool of teachers, it makes it even better. I think this is one of the key elements to help our education system better. – Ana from Papar

Get involved

I DISAGREE. It is good. I like the traditional way of thinking. A system will only work if people get involved in it. Otherwise, no system will ever work. Education is not just limited to be learned inside a classroom, so we can always find good education through our interactions outside and seek for other forms of education. – David from Likas

More technology needed

THE education system should be equipped with the latest technology. We need more computers and more Internet. Of course we need to elevate our education system. It is not supposed to stay the way it is. A person should always move forward. The same goes for our education system. – Nancy from Likas

Have the passion

I FEEL that this is true. Why are youths getting involved in drugs? Why are students dropping out from school? Why are teachers hitting students and vice versa? Something needs to be done. Research needs to be conducted. Whatever we do must be accompanied by passion. Do something to make people have passion in education. Don’t just teach them to like what you’re teaching. It won’t work. – Anonymous

Teach life skills

OUR education system emphasises too much on academic results, but not life skills. Many graduates are not equipped with life skills, and end up struggling to maintain a stable life.

Life skills such as financial planning, life goal setting, self-motivation, setting up a life style and so on are often overlooked. Another knowledge that is absent in our system is the knowledge on psychological aspects like how to manage stress, how to cope with failure or loses, how to maintain healthy relationships.

These should be taught in school because all this affects a person’s wellbeing and subsequently the society’s performance. I feel we have a generation that is knowledgeable but don’t know how to apply it or don’t have the mental stability or strength to push through hardship, hence they cannot reach their full potential in life. Start having special classes teaching this from young. We would have a better hope for the coming generation then. – Tang May Ling, Marketing manager, 27

System is too basic

THE system is insufficient in terms of general knowledge, and from what I see, it’s too basic and too concise till our world narrows down to our confine region. Revamp the whole system, enough political involvement in the education. Implement proper examination every level especially in History, Pendidikan Moral and Pendidikan Islam. – Mohd Farhan Mohd Faiz, Doctor, 27

Change system

FOR me, our education system focuses more on getting good results rather than on the practical aspects of what you study. I mean, student study only to get as many A’s as they can to go to the next level then do it all over again. They study just for their exams and then forget everything when the exam is over. What’s the point of scoring so many A’s or scoring 4.00 GPA when in the working field can’t work to save their lives. Change the education system la. Emulate and examine how other countries are doing so well in their education system. – Rendall Ian Thaddeus, Student, 23

System should change

IT’S not honest about what we want to teach our children. It’s not honest about who we are as a nation. For example, changing Science and Maths from English to BM because children from rural areas couldn’t keep up. No, that is wrong. If they can’t keep up, then what’s the point of learning?

System should change. It’s time to stop memorising, start understanding. I remember when I was in school, it was boring! We didn’t have interactive classes. Why do you think that most Malaysians are quite ‘passive’ by nature? Also have more interesting Science experiments, and only dissecting a frog doesn’t count. We need more fun stuff like they do in Western countries. – Wong Loo Shin, business consultant, 26

Facing challenges

THE education system in Malaysia is facing challenges of producing competent graduates due to lack of learning process in the classroom and students being too exam-oriented. They just want more A’s!

The Education Ministry needs to reform its system for educators to prepare their students for corporate life in future. – Jade Cheah, Social Media Manager, 30

Appreciate educators

OUR education system should appreciate their educators more as most educators are taken for granted especially in primary and secondary educational level. Offer more incentives in forms of training, entitlements and healthcare benefits. – Krystal Pagel-Cheah, Hotelier, 23

Parental role must

I’M not sure if this is a problem with our education policy or the mentality of the students. Students are unable to use logic and drive practical solutions. This is probably due to how much emphasis there are on exams. Everything is textbook because it is an absorption basis and everything is thrown out in the exams. After the exams, there is no retention.

Educators need to make classes more interactive and initiate discussions which encourages students to be more proactive and able to think outside the box. Questions shouldn’t be textbook-base and for this, educators must be open and exposed to the real world concepts and not pure textbook scenarios

Parents should also play a role students education. Educators can’t do much without the support of parents. Instead of taking the children out of the system, there should be an initiative to revolutionise the education system. As for the policy makers, they should be people with relevant experience in education but must also put education first not politics – Pearl Cheah, Medical Physicist, 24

Too exam-oriented

MALAYSIAN education system emphasise on exam-oriented, memorise facts only but not teaching students how to think critically. It’s way too old school to use this way of teaching

Should do more outdoor learning, encourage students to raise up their ideas when they have any, not only paper exam but to do oral activities like discussions and presentations from primary school. – Belle Lim, Accounts student, 21

Doesn’t prepare students

THE education system does not thoroughly develop students holistically, it mainly forces information into students and forces them to project those information during the national exams, it does not help much in preparing students for the real world.

But a lot of efforts are already underway to address this, for example the revamping of PMR into school based orientated assessment of PT3, a lot of focus goes into application of knowledge rather than the ability of memorising. – Deborah, Teacher, 24

Revamp the syllabus

THE problem with our education system is that there is less or none at all emphasis given to develop students’ critical thinking as the students are only required to basically memorise the textbooks in order to pass the exams. This results to less opinionated individuals and will take its toll once they have entered university where they will have to participate in discussions and form opinions on various matters.

Revamp the syllabus to cater more towards students’ creative and critical thinking skills, teacher-in-training need to develop skills needed to help students to be more confident and able to form and convey their own opinions on specific issues. – Kristy John, Law Student, 23

The living skills

THERE is too much focus on academic achievement in our schools which is something I don’t like. There should be push more towards living skills subjects to balance it out. And no, please don’t use Malay language in maths and science, the whole universe does not revolve around Malaysia. – Leanne C., engineer

No analytical thinking

IT’S inadequate. It centres on rote learning and giving the “right” answer, as opposed to developing the thinking and analytical process. History is also badly focused, only on what is culturally appropriate in Malaysian history, while most of world history is ignored. It starts with trying to understand how it works in other countries, how students are examined, what is taught in their syllabus. Should be on par with the best. – Tharishni A.,


Need to go deeper

RIGHT now we face three major global issues. High disparity between rich and poor, high unemployment especially the young and lack of leadership in government business and society. Our youth aren’t even aware or prepared for it and in part this is because education hasn’t been focused in building intelligent creative people but on producing replicates. The solution is to guide them in the skills we lack, Engagement, Self-leadership, Creativity, True cooperation rather than thin tolerance and the education process is obsolete. We don’t know how to develop people who can learn information from the web. We need to go deeper. – Gopal P., lecturer

Reform the system

THE education system in Malaysia is facing challenges of producing competent graduates due to lack of learning process in the classroom and students being too exam-oriented (they just want more As!). The ministry of education needs to reform its system for educators to prepare their students for corporate life in future. – Jade C., website officer

Our certs not worth it

THE entire Malaysian education system of today is designed to keep the general public at a level of mindset where they are incapable of thinking for themselves, hence making it very easy for the government to control the populace of the future. Our current education system is all about results (marks and grades) and not about learning. They even make kindergarten kids take endless exams, to the extent that kids as young as 5 years old need to go for tuition after school to get good grades. And what is our certificates worth in the work place? Nothing; especially when most university grads can’t read, speak or write English well, and have almost zero social and communication skills. – Nex C., artist

Change system

I FEEL its is not wrong but there is a need to change our education system from being too exam centred to also practical approach. Most importantly, historical facts are not twisted or changed to suit ones agenda. – Jaymie J., activist

Producing robots

I THINK our education systems is like very typical of education systems in Asia like Japan, Singapore, China etc wherein it’s very focused on results and not so much student development.

I know they’ve been trying to reform the system for a few years now but it still ‘sucks’ like it lacks an identity like, suddenly no PMR exams and testing is a series of school-based examinations and the teachers are supposed to gauge the students abilities individually and such. I don’t know what the solution is, but if I were a student I’d really like more electives.I’d also like a shift where the system isn’t focused on trying to get me good grades like as if grades are the only benchmark to an individual. I’d say scratch the streaming system as well. Let students learn what they want and what they can. Kids these days are like taking 12 subjects a year for SPM. Isn’t that too much? In a European/American system, students are only learn like five subjects maximum. What are we producing? Robots? It takes away learning as an experiential activity. – Natalia S., writer

Something is wrong

IF the education system is on the right track, why is it so many of our people unemployed. Even the graduates are getting more and more of them unemployed each year... there must be something wrong somewhere. If graduates are not employed what more with the less educated right? Analyse if this whole system is working with the people to face the challenges nowadays… if we are still using the same system till now, it might not suit with how our life now.. It must be in constant change following the trend of life. From the start the talent and interests of individuals must be identified so that they will not waste their time studying the thing not suitable to their talent.. If they like architecture then nurture them from early stage to be an architect. If they are good in music then give something for them to prepare themselves to be musician or singer. If they are talented in building, then equip them with necessary technology to explore their talent in that area they are good at. Rather than graduating in something that they will not use in their life to survive. – Danny M., entrepreneur

Standard edu system

EDUCATION in Malaysia focuses more on brain washing student to support a particular political ideology and religion and some of them grow up and become teacher, the system ask them to teach the same thing. Only now with Internet there are extra knowledge that open their mind to do more critical thinking. – Julles M., teacher

Regular updates

I THINK the positive side of the Malaysian education system is that they try to update the system regularly, review to make it better while the negative side is the frequent change and update has created extra work for the people. – Faizah Mohd, university student, 35

Too biased

THE system is too biased to the country. I understand you want the children to be patriotic but how can we when what is taught feels more regimented than anything else. Allow us to love the flaws and all of the country. Also it is too exam-based. I was lucky I had some working experience when I left college, or else I would have suffered when I got out. We need to teach our students about time and money management, stress management, how to pay your taxes, how to work in a team... that sort of things. Not what to do if you run over a cow at a village. Yes, I learnt that in secondary school for Moral. – Michele Pacman, sales marketing officer, 30

Stop changing system

STOP changing the education system to suit the people, put a standard a high one at that and make them work to achieve it. Make classes more interactive, more life base rather than textbook base. At the end of the day, the students are our future, we need them to be fast thinkers, innovative individuals and intellectual beings. That is how we can start to move in par with other countries. – Siti Sharipah, diver , 25

Not happy

I AM not happy with the current system because it is causing lots of burden among teachers and confusion among students. – Kimberly Chee, college student, 23

Improve system

THE education system plays an important role in forming the community to be educated and competitive with other countries. It is good that we see multiracial community enrolled and accepted in all schools including vernacular schools. However, the frequent changes in the education system, for example the use of English language for science and mathematics subject which was introduced by Tun Mahathir but then abolished in 2012. The move affected students, particularly now that English language is given a priority. After the abolishment, there were talks of international teachers being placed in local schools. However, when there was a change in the Education Ministry leadership, there has been no more talk of having international teachers coming here. I hope the government can come up with a system which will benefit the people and let the existing system be improved. – Mawar Ayu, deep sea angler , 35

Exam leak

THE government should thoroughly study how the examination papers leaked and how it involved their own employees. This weakness has definitely brought a bad impression to the government in the eyes of the world. The existing education system should be maintained and improved according to current times. I also think that the many conflicting statements about abolishing vernacular schools should not have happened. We see many bumiputera children attending Chinese vernacular schools and I do not think the existence of Chinese vernacular schools could lead to the national language to be forgotten. – Richard Miring, mountain guide, 38

Best system

The education system in Malaysia is the best because everyone have the opportunity to study. There are many options. You are free to choose to study abroad or in the country. However, the only downside is the high expenses you have to face. – Amir Izzat, civil servant, 30


THE education system makes the examination papers quite predictable, all you need to do is read past question papers. – Anne Ebin, business woman, 35

Very confusing changes

I THINK it is quite confusing to most especially myself. I would often check my children’s homework and examination papers. I do not even understand how the teachers would evaluate them based on the latest PT3 thing. My eldest daughter had a hard time adjusting herself from learning mathematics and science in Malay language then all of a sudden in English and now it is back to Malay again. Very confusing, I do not like it. – Eva Wong, Senior Bank Officer, 31

Inconsistent system

STUDENTS and teachers are seen as lab mice. This is because the education system in our country is always changing and inconsistent. The Pentaksiran Berasaskan Sekolah (PBS) had been giving burden to most teachers and students. – Kelabu K, 22, self-employed


THE current education system is very good not to mention the Malaysian Education Development Plan 2013-2025. One of the shifts is to encourage students to master the Bahasa Malaysia and English language, which is for the benefit of our future. Surely it will be quite difficult for a start especially among teachers but I believe that our current education system is capable of producing competitive future generations. – Jeniffer Annie Ali, 25, teacher

Too exam-based

I THINK that our education system is too exam oriented and inconsistent.

The education system should allow the students to undergo more practical activities, projects, as well as outdoor activities such as camping and be evaluated through these activities.

Also, it is important that the education system includes the marking value for students’ EQ and SQ besides giving them the opportunities to create new products.

This way, we will then be able to produce excellent, competitive, innovative and creative future generations. – Sabariah Bahrun, 49, lecturer

Improve school facilities

TOO much of online system but the system itself is bad. I think it is better first to improve the school facilities before applying such system because it would be quite complicated. The number of teachers is also another major problem because often, we do not have sufficient teachers. The teachers themselves are also not teaching accordingly to their options especially critical subjects such as English and Bahasa Malaysia. It is also better to lessen the teachers’ burden in terms of management. Besides that, schools at urban areas and bridge classes are mostly packed with students.

It is better that only a total of 30 students allowed in a single class so that teachers are able to teach them. – Maida Idris, 48, teacher

No soul

TO me, the current education system acquires a body but no soul. What I mean when I say “soul” is that there is la lack of education spirit and human development. It doesn’t mean that only smart students can contribute to the nation’s success. Also, say no to the unfairness of school budget. The development of education should be fairer and it doesn’t matter whether it is a hostel or a high performance school. The Education Plan should focused more on the aspect of identity development. – Jamal Yatim

Changes not helping students

IT is good that the education system is updated and improved in line with the current times. But I think the frequent changes at a short period of time is not helping but rather a burden to both students and teachers as they have to try to catch up and adapt to the regular changes in the system over a short span. – Anna Marie Diego, 35, Deep Sea Angler

World class

OUR education system is world class and one of the best. The teachers in school that we currently have are all well experienced and with high academics. – Siti Norziah, 30, cultural dancer

Does not prepare for real life

I THINK the education system does not prepare us for the real life, Students are spoon-fed, you only do as you are told to. And all you need to do in order to pass an exam is to memorise the text and see past exam papers. At the end of the day, once we leave schools we only have vague memory of what we actually learnt academically. Students should be taught to be more interactive, vocal, creative and proactive instead of just following orders according to what the teachers said. – Wilson, 60, self-employed

Let teachers ‘teach’

PLEASE return the job of a teacher to teach in class. If this materialised, then teachers will be able to offer their best. Secretarial jobs and those outside the norm would cause teachers to be less focused in class. Also, I think those ordinary schools are given less allocations compared to those higher performance schools. – Siti Maimunah, 49

Assistants for teachers

IT would be best that teachers have their own assistants to allow teachers to stay focused in teaching their students. Teachers should not always be out to attend meetings. – Che Wan, 47


Follow Us  

Follow us              

Daily Express TV  

Special Reports - Most Read

Try 1 month for RM 18.00
Already a subscriber? Login here

Try 1 month for RM 18.00

Already a subscriber? Login here