Thursday, February 9, 2012

Presenting: MOE, Malaysia

I am seriously disappointed with the Ministry of Education, Malaysia.

Yes, you. MOE. Hello!

I hope you read this.

Well, allow me to explain why I am so utterly disappointed with them!

Let's just put aside the fact that our silly Minister of Education Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin they change their mind on national policies as if it were simply changing the channels on the TV. I'm referring to the learning of Maths and Science in the medium of English. First they're for it, then they're completely against it, citing a drop in achievement in those subjects in the latest public examinations as the reason they're reverting back to BM.

Well, it's either they are seriously naive in expecting that such a radical educational change across the nation's schools will yield instant results, or they're proving to the rakyat that they have no stand whatsoever and are willing to do whatever it takes to appease and buy voters for the upcoming elections.

Let's just forget about that, for a moment, shall we? On to the matter at hand.

Previously, STPM/SPM leavers who are interested in taking up teaching will first have to sit for the MEdSI (Malaysian Educators Selection Inventory) test consisting of 300 questions that have to be completed in 1 hour and 10 minutes. It is a personality test to determine the candidate's interest towards the teaching profession, integrity, emotional intelligence and teacher personality. (Taken from here) They would also have to go through an interview process before being accepted into a teaching course. Therefore, graduates from all local universities and teaching institutions across the country would be offered a posting by the government to wherever is deemed "suitable" or in need, without having to undergo interviews/tests again, since they had already done so before getting into the course in the first place.

However, the new "rule" is that, after graduating, fresh graduates will need to go for an interview before they get posted to a school by the government, failing which, no worries, you just need to go for it again the following year. (They offer no suggestions for what you do in the meantime >.<)

Sure, it shocked some of us, even terrified us. We have to go for an interview again? Fine, though. I see it from the point of the government. They just want to ensure that the graduates, after four years of studies in the education field, are still worthy and qualified to be teachers. A final round "Quality Control" of sorts. Right. Scary, but understandable.

Now, bearing in mind the important purpose of these interviews that the government is spending so much time and energy on, and is putting the fresh graduates through, you'd have an expectation of what kind of questions they might ask in the interview, wouldn't you?

I'm no policy-maker, nor expert in the education field. But I'd ask questions that test a teacher's knowledge of current events and issues in the country, education-related or otherwise. I'd test their critical and creative thinking skills. I'd test their ability to justify, to rationalize, given certain situations. I'd test their problem-solving skills, general coping skills. I'd check for their moral compass, sense of ethics. They will be, after all, in charge of our nation's easily-impressionable young people.


According to a Sandra, a friend who had just gone for said interview, they ask questions like these:

1. Siapa Yang di-Pertuan yang ke-8? (Who was the eighth Yang di-Pertuan Agong?)
2. Apakah maksud sekolah? (What is the meaning of 'school'?)
3. Apakah peratus keturunan kadar jenayah tahun lepas? (What was the percentage of the drop in crime rate last year?)

I am completely appalled. These are the questions they come up with to test our future teachers?! This is what they see as so important to find out if our future teachers can answer, that they carry out one-hour interviews for thousands of graduates in the country?!

How on earth do these questions reflect my ability or potential to be a good teacher? Are you saying that, if I am fit to be a teacher, I should have memorized the ridiculously long names of all the YdPAs to have ever ascended the throne in our country's history? (And some of them have seriously long full names that includes their dearly departed father's) 

And please, if I threw question #3 back at the interviewers, you're telling me that they'd be able to answer that question off-hand as well, without referring to any sources? Why the hell would I memorize statistics?

Question #2 would have been an interesting to find out what the candidate's own definition and role of a 'school' was. But looking at Question #1 and #3, even Question #2 needs an accurate, textbook answer containing all the keywords.

Shouldn't they be asking questions like, "What is your opinion on this issue?" "What do you think are some steps to solve this?" or, "If this happened, what would you do?" These questions would tell me about the candidate's real competence as a teacher, and not what he or she memorized the night before.

In my opinion, these interview questions are complete crap. This isn't a secondary school paper test (and even if it were, these questions aren't suitable for that either!); this is an interview, for goodness' sake.

And it's even saddening when real, good, competent and qualified teachers fail these stupid interviews, at no fault of theirs.

'Disappointing' is an understatement. MOE Malaysia, YOU FAIL.


shandye. said...

1. the whole stupid re-interview session for graduates. i think its bullsh*t considering the fact that us education faculty student have already gone through that hellish medsi exam and that ludicrous interview prior to entering the faculty. isn't that enough? and don't get me started with the questions. the ones that you have listed, that are just a speckle of a whole lotta bullcrap that i have heard/read.

2. the whole switching back to bm for teaching science and math. well, for me... i'm a bit on the fence here. one side, look at how successfull france, japan and indonesia had prevail their very own language both in education, social and political flourish. these three said countries have strict policies on the rights and use of their national language and look at what it had done to them? we don't see our fellow malaysians go to japan to study mechanical engineering and the course is taught in english. oh hell no. its straight on japanese, baby. you wanna study in japan? get your nihongo straight first!

then what about malaysia?

you see... our beloved nation has this 'tak apa' policy whereby you are so-called allowed to do whatever you want as long as the social doesn't hate you and throw it back at your face. so long as it fits the whole 'template' of the society, you're pretty much good. that is why you'll be seeing around people (mostly in the government sectors) who speaks crappy english and crappy malay.

yes. seriously.

they're neither speaking english or malay. the reasons for this is because our education system has this 'tak apa' policy whereby the government do not have a straight up policy saying that you must use a certain language as a medium of education. look at the tertiary education level, how many IPTAs out there are using hard-core malay as their language of teaching?

nada. zilch. zip.

even our beloved ukm who claimed to be uprooting the malay language nowadays seems to budge a bit. certain courses are now taught in english just because the textbooks are in english.

in france and indonesia, its damn hard to find a good law or engineering textbooks written in english (i kid you not!) because most of them are either translated or are actually written by their respected native speakers.

stop talking about switching the language and sh*t like that and claim it that it'll improve the education system in the long run. its bullsh*t!

what we malaysians need to do is to get a grip on the situation and start being realistic. its not wrong to look up on neighboring countries like indonesia (whom some of us seems to love to hate but every effing year goes to jakarta for shopping, talk about hypocrisy??!!) and thailand that managed to uphold their native language in most of their ruling sections. do you see people in thailand got trialed in english? hell no! they're conducting their legal trial in thai of course. don't understand the language? get a translator, fool.


i think i have rambled enough.


just saying.

Liz said...

1. Agree with you on the interviews thing. But I actually don't mind the interviews post-graduation. IF and ONLY IF, they pose proper real questions that actually test you on what counts, not a rehash of our nightmares during our schooling days! >.<

2. I have never had any problems with Maths and Science in BM. In fact, a lot of the time, I still think in BM when it comes to Science terms, cos we learned it in BM. My problem with MOE regarding this issue is that they're REVERTING. To have implemented the PPSMI policy in the first place means that they saw a potential in improving both the English language AND knowledge of Maths and Science by opening up the vast range of resources now available in the language students are studying in. What I don't understand, and cannot accept, is why change it back after what, a couple of years? JUST because students aren't faring as well as they'd hoped? Come on, did they really think all the kids will score with flying colours just like that? It takes time! And just for a lousy reason like that, they're saying, "Oops, sorry, made a mistake there, let's go back to what worked before" with no care whatsoever to the chaos they have caused for students and teachers who have struggled in English, now, for naught.

So yes, I'm mad at them. I'm mad no because Maths+Sc is in BM per se. I'm mad because they are more fickle-minded than a girl going shopping, and THEY'RE setting the national educational policies.

Scares the hell outta me!

danielchowtzeyoong said...

300 questions in 70minutes?? thats crazy!!! u guys are awesome!

Liz said...

Well, no choice what. I can't rmb all the questions, but I think there were some ethics questions too. Like if you were a smoker, would you smoke in front of the children, or something like that. Anyway, the whole point of so many questions in so short time is so that you don't have time to think about what's the "right" answer. It's a personality test. And I heard they're making changes to/updating THAT one too!

Hannah said...

WHAT????!!!!!!! augh! augh! augh! yuck! ......