Current Affairs

Divisive education policy is flawed

The New Straits Times reported that Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Muhyiddin Yassin is mulling proposals to encourage more students to study in the science stream.

The mooted proposals include tax incentives for parents with children enrolled in science stream, minor scholarships and textbook assistance.

Muhyiddin was quoted as saying that this is in line with the national target of having 60 per cent of students in the science and technical stream and 40 per cent in the arts stream.

DAP Vice President Teresa Kok criticized the policy for being divisive and unfair to students with passion and interest for arts subjects.

“To promote only the science subjects would indirectly create a misconception within our society that art stream students are inferior,” she said.

The ultimate goal of education is the freedom to learn and experience new and creative ideas based on students’ own needs and interest. The idea of favoring one stream over another would reinforce the common perception that science stream is for “good students”.

“The proposed incentive may set the path for students to drop all the art subjects in school. Parents may be lured through this lop-sided incentive to influence or pressure their children to enter into the science stream,” she said.

For Malaysia to lift our educational standards, emphasis should be given on improving the quality of teachers, improving teaching methods, and preparing students to face future employment and social life.

Some quarters argue that for a holistic education, more flexibility should be given to students to choose school subjects without being bound by strict ‘streaming’ rules.

Teresa urged Muhyiddin to tread carefully in matters of education and not to go down the divisive path.

“I hope the Cabinet will consult with educationists, parents groups and other stakeholders before the Education Ministry is allowed to proceed further with this proposal.” –The Rocket

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