Must be election time again - Tunku Munawirah PutraThe Islamic Civilisation and Asian Studies (Titas) could have been an enlightening liberal arts subject, had it not been forced onto students to take it up. It is most unfortunate to see it being robbed of its purity with the kind of politics entrenched in its enforcement.
It is like experiencing the abolition of PPSMI (the teaching and learning of Science and Mathematics in English) all over again, in terms of how and why the decision was made.
The Titas issue seems to be following a similar pattern as the abolition of PPSMI, which was done close to a by-election. Titas and the Kuala Besut by-election is just like PPSMI and the Manik Urai by-election. Both decisions were made known about a week prior to the date of the by-elections.
Hence, however well-meaning the decision could be by certain quarters, it is still a controversial decision that got bulldozed through, in an attempt to appeal to the voters in the area. Why else is it announced just before the by-elections, when it could have been held back until the by-elections are over to avoid such suspicion?
In Manik Urai it was about race and language. Now in Kuala Besut it is about religion. It seems that the people of Kuala Besut need to be made aware that Barisan Nasional is no less Islamic than its opponent, just as the Manik Urai voters needed to know that Barisan Nasional would defend the rights of the Malays by defending the national language. By the way, Barisan Nasional did not win in Manik Urai 4 years ago.
Compulsion is hardly acceptable in this day and age where choices are boundless. The more one is cornered or restrained, the more one retaliates. How then can we be convinced and accept the fact that forcing Titas on every student is done in the name of national reconciliation when the very act is against national reconciliation?
Can we please bring the focus back to educating our children to their best ability
Let Titas remain pure, as an elective liberal arts subject. Subjects in university of this nature must really challenge the mind to think beyond boundaries, with no holds barred in its classroom
discussions. The subject matter must be checked against elements of propagandic indoctrination to make it reputable and appealing to foreign students as well. It could also add to the university ranking should the university choose to develop it further.
As for PPSMI, after 4 years, we are still hopeful that every school in the country, especially the rural schools, would have the choice of having at least one PPSMI class in every cohort. Students must know how to take advantage of the virtual learning environment (VLE) setting that is being built now. It is obvious that most of the knowledge in VLE is readily available in English. Streamlining the learning of Science and Mathematics through VLE would be especially useful if we intend to improve our Trends in International Mathematics and Science Survey (TIMSS) ranking. What is the use of investing billions if the children are not able to maximise its usage?
We need a wholesome education transformation that is best for the children. The National Education Blueprint is still plagued with political agenda no matter how much the Government denies this. In addition, expenses incurred in the name of education need to be checked against wastages, leakages and overcharging.
Most importantly, every contract for equipment or services must go through an open tender.
To the ruling Government: It is not in what you say but it is in what you do. So STOP politicising education, race, religion and language. Hasn’t General Election 2013 given enough warning signs of what the voters want?
* Tunku Munawirah Putra is the Honorary Secretary, PAGE Malaysia.