Academic: Overhaul entire education system, not ‘a bit here and there’

Bernama pic.

PETALING JAYA: An educationist has applauded the initiatives set out by the education ministry but warns that the government must focus on the bigger picture of a structural overhaul in the system.

Tajuddin Rasdi of UCSI University said the ministry had done admirable work in Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) first 100 days in power but “real reform” had yet to take place.

“The worry is about the uncertainty of where the education system is heading,” he told FMT.

“The system is the root of it all. Of course, we welcome the initiative to solve the heavy schoolbags issue and the policy on black shoes instead of white.

“But looking at these things will not solve the problem in our system.”

Tajuddin recommended the appointment of a committee to ensure structural changes in the education system, saying a task force was needed to guide universities so that academics could contribute to society.

Such a committee should be strong enough and possess enough vision to lead, he said, unlike the National Professors Council which he claimed had contributed nothing to the system.

“At the moment, academics at most public universities will do research just to get promotions. Many of their topics have hardly any relevance to society.”

He said if the education system at universities was not reset, he predicted that society would become “dead” in the next 20 years.

“The education system expired years ago. It’s like driving an old car and only replacing some of its components,” he said.

“We cannot change the system overnight, but we can start the change with the appointment of a solid committee that will be led by visionary people.”

He said this committee must overhaul the education system, not merely “give advice that doesn’t go anywhere”.

“We cannot be changing a bit here and there. We must have total reform, how we are going to live for the next 50 years.”

Education Minister Maszlee Malik recently said his ministry had carried out 43 initiatives in PH’s first 100 days in government. He said these initiatives were implemented in the interest of students across all levels.

The National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) likewise welcomed the initiatives but said the problem of teachers being burdened with administrative work remained unresolved.

NUTP president Kamarozaman Abd Razak said teachers might find it difficult to focus on their duties in the classroom which would affect their performance.

“We applaud the 43 initiatives made by the ministry, but we hope that teachers will soon be freed from the administrative work.

“That is the only thing that I wish the ministry will sort out for teachers,” he said.