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The RM4 billion tuition industry is proof of failure of the mainstream education system  to perform its basic task to deliver education



on Education Ministry during committee stage debate of Second 2005 Supplementary Estimates

by Lim Kit Siang  

, Thursday) : The RM4 billion tuition industry per year is proof of the failure of the mainstream education system to perform its basic task to deliver education to the young generation of Malaysians.

During my school days in the fifties, the overwhelming majority of students do not go for tuition, which is  confined to a small minority of may be 10% of the students. Today, the situation has been completely reversed, with some 90% of the students going for tuition while it is the small minority who do not go for tuition -  to study what they should have been taught within the four walls of the school.

Has the Education Ministry addressed this problem to discover why the mainstream education system is such a failure that a parallel tuition education industry has mushroomed to fill the vacuum, costing the parents over RM4 billion a year?

Has the Education Ministry any blueprint to rectify the flaws in the mainstream education system so that progressively, there will be less need for students to have to depend on a parallel system of tuition education to learn what they should have been taught in schools, with a time-line for  such progressive reduction programme?  Or is this completely beyond the ken of our education planners?

Raise the standards in  SPM examination

Last year, 945 SPM candidates scored A1s for all the subjects taken, comprising:

17 A1s-          1
14 A1s -         4
13 A1s -         17
12 A1s -         88
11 A1s -       306
10 A1s -       506
  9 A1s -         21
  8 A1s -           2
Total   -        945  

If we take into account SPM candidates who scored As for all their subjects, it would be in the thousands.

Questions have been raised whether the SPM and its As are getting easier to pass and get.

When thousands of candidates can score all As in SPM every year, the  time has come to raise standards so that there is greater worth and premium in top grades achieved in the public examinations.

Gifted Children – Acid test of eradication of “third-class mentality” of Education Ministry bureaucrats

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi spoke of a creating a “first-class mentality” as the pre-condition for achieving the Ninth Malaysia Plan, National Mission and Vision 2020.

For this to succeed, the “third-class mentality” prevalent in the public service, including the Education Ministry, must be eradicated.

One such example is the continued neglect of gifted children. More  than two decades ago, a four-year-old boy, Mohd Sohkeri  dazzled the nation with his extraordinary literary feats, as he could  among other unexpected things, read newspapers and magazines.

Today, instead of  being one of Malaysia’s  leading minds, Mohd Sohkeri is selling  chickens in a market.

Recently, SK Jalan Matang Bukuh in Bagan Serai threatened to expel seven-year-old Mathematics whiz kid Adi Putra Abdul Ghani for truancy – because Adi Putra had no motivation to go to school  as he was bored with the basic syllabus.

There is the case of Lucas Teh, who  finished his Primary School Assessment Test (UPSR) at 10, obtaining 4As and a B, for Bahasa Malaysia. When Teh tried to register him in a government secondary school, his application was rejected.  As far as the Education Department is concerned, Lucas should go back to Standard Five!

Whether the Education Department can have a special programme to fully develop the potential of our gifted children will be an acid test as to the fate of the Prime Minister’s vision of a  “first class mentality” in Malaysia.


*  Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman

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