Thursday, 9 July 2009

Shooting without focussing.

Here we go again, they are doing it again. What? They are making statements from their arse without thinking of the implications.

I wonder if those people really know about our present school system. The Minister of Education has made an announcement about the discontinuation of PPSMI. Good. He then went on to say about how they are going to give more attention to English. Good. He then continued by saying that more hours would be allotted to the teaching of English in schools. Disaster.

Look, I am not against giving English an additional 80 minutes at the secondary school level. Heck, I am not even against the introduction of a new subject called English Literature, if they choose to do so. Okay, I have talked about the importance of having trained teachers so I won't dwell on the matter so much.

What I am going to talk about is one of logistics. We have many schools with 2 sessions and just so much daylight to accommodate these 2 sessions. Many years ago, the ministry made a shit boast that by 2007 all schools would be single session schools. Frankly, I was very apprehensive and I am damn bloody right. Not even a single double session school that I know off have new school blocks to increase the number of classrooms to be able to operate on a single session.

Then there is that directive that schools teach ICT two periods a week. This added to the already crowded timetable of the afternoon session because only form 1 and form 2 classes would study ICT and we all know that in double session schools, both forms 1 and 2 are in the afternoon session.

In my school, we have to squeeze every available room we have to accommodate these additional two periods a week. Our students have to come early , 12 noon, 3 days in a week. Every Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, about 7 classes have to start early. On Mondays, all Muslim students must come early for Agama classes. On Friday, we can't do anything because of the short time we have.

To top this, the introduction of Siviks for the form three students means that the form three classes have an additional 2 periods a week meaning they will use their classrooms way into the afternoon slot. Forms four and five classes too have way too many subjects meaning they too, on certain days, eat up into the time alloted to the afternoon session.

We are bursting at the seams as it is right now. Now they want to add another 2 periods a week per class. Being the teacher in charge of getting the timetable ready I have already calculated that on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, an extra 5 classes would have to come early. If we could find the classrooms to accommodate these extra 5 classes then we do not have to have an afternoon session. It's because of classroom constraints that we have double sessions.

When the people up there make statements, have they given any thought to this very pressing problem that we have? Yes, I have the solution but they are not going to be too happy about it.

Please bear in mind that so far I have been talking about the problems posed when they add 2 additional periods for English. We still do not know what they mean when they say they want to add English Literature. Are the two extra periods meant for English Literature or Is English Literature going to be a new subject by itself?

Then the Minister also said that BM is also to be upgraded. Good. The question is, will there be additional periods for BM from the present 6 periods a week? If English Lit is a new subject and more periods per week alloted to BM where are we going to find the time to fit all these in? Don't tell me that you will build more classrooms because you have said it already and nothing came out of it. They are so bloody good at making empty promises that I suggest they teach that as a paper at university level. I can assure you we have plenty of over qualified lecturers at Putrajaya.

You can only do this if all schools are single session schools but I don't see that happening in the near future. Then the other alternative is to reduce subjects. Make History and Geography into 1 subject of 3 periods and you save 3 periods. Take off Sivik because the syllabus is a joke. Take off ICT because the skills taught can be taught during the teaching of other subjects. This is an additional 4 periods save and add that to the 3 already saved, it would enable them to add 2 periods for English, 2 for English Lit and 1 for Bahasa.

With this there will be 42 periods a week plus assembly. If we were to have 8 periods per day from Monday to Thursday and 7 periods on Friday it makes 39. With 3 periods of Agama being taught outside the normal school hours as had always been the case in double session schools, the will be no scramble for classrooms but mind you, there is a catch. With the 8 and 7 allocation the afternoon still can't teach full 40 minutes per period. We will have to do what we have been doing all along that is 35 minute periods.

To tackle everything, build more classrooms and make sure that double session school is history then we have just managed to tackle a very small logistic problem. There is a bigger problem buried. Where do we find English teachers good enough to teach English the way it should be taught? Do we have enough English teachers good enough to teach English Literature and are we going to change the useless syllabus that we have now?

9 comments:

Hiriyati said...

Tell you what, I'll be the Education Minister and you can be my Deputy. None of those idiots in the ministry seems to know what they are talking about.

FYI, I'll be leaving the teaching profession soon. Cannot tahan anymore!

Kata Tak Nak said...

Hiriyati,
Okay boss no problem. I envy you. You are still young so you can still do it. I am a rusty old man, unless some lawyers suddenly visit me and say that I had inherited a few million, I'll stay here and collect more rust.

ahoo said...

With one decision the repercussion is just unmeasurable. It just cost mayhem to the teachers and students alike with many unanswered questions. Even Dr MM said that he was just told what was their plans but was not asked for any opinion.

Chegu, maybe this time it is for real with regards to single session school. Since our economic situation is so bad and so many cronies are crying for lack of projects, the timing can't be any worse. They will embark on another 1000 schools nationwide and to be ready in three years time.

As far as teachers are concern, they also have great plan. (sorry I'm trying out mind reading now)They will set up special agencies to hire teachers from abroad. Most will be from England (retired but can use My2Home programme), Phillipines, India, Singapore. All must apply through a new bureau set up specifically for this task.

Within three years time, we will have 20,000 teachers ready for posting to teach English. So you see, no problem mah ! Correct, correct, correct, Malaysia Bolih !!

Kata Tak Nak said...

Ahoo,
In Malaysia, duit ada, Malaysia tentu boleh.

Anonymous said...

Salam cikgu,
I really envy youlah. English Lit. and an extra 2 periods in English. Soon you will be talking in Queen's English with your students. Phew ! that will be the day cikgu. I only get by with my Malay English !! How bloody lucky you are. Just my 2sen cikgu.

Kata Tak Nak said...

Anon:
I am also yhinking of teaching Tamil in English.

Singam said...

KTN, all of what you wrote does not even take into account the amount of ridiculous admin work teachers are currently bogged down with. Already, many teachers are taking shortcuts with P&P. Load them some more and we'll soon have to depend on the students teaching themselves.

BTW, with the announced emphasis on English, special allowances will be expected. Then you'll find all levels of "English proficient" people scrambling to teach English and the derivative subjects.

Special courses will be held, software will be written...

The plot sickens!

Kata Tak Nak said...

singam,
Currently all graduate teachers who teach English gets an allowance of 5 percent of their pay and non graduates get 10 percent. I think when they take away the incentives given to maths and science teachers which incidentally is the same as English teachers, they would divert it to BM teachers since they have mention upgrading the subject.

The problem with the softwares that they sent to schools is that they are poorly written and not user friendly. I wonder what comes next.

samson said...

' Where do we find English teachers good enough to teach English the way it should be taught? Do we have enough English teachers good enough to teach English Literature and are we going to change the useless syllabus that we have now?'

Hee!Hee!Hee!Ha!Ha!Ha! Hit the nail right on the head! Where are the really dedicated people of yester years that really want to educate the young? As I said before, the younger generation of teachers now are more interested to work as teachers as they cannot find any other vocation in the corporate world, with their broken English and 1-track mentality.

Sending them to 5 (or more) years in old England would not improve anything and would waste more of our tax money...sheesh! Ministers come and go but they continue to put their foot in their big mouths during the short period!

Hope a bright spark sees your suggetion, dear chegu!

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