CHILDREN are born with a blank slate while adults assume the role of taking these innocent beings to the journey of maturity and adulthood.
Undertaking the roles of the caretakers, adults have the tendencies to overstep their role by taking control of almost every single aspect of the children's life including education, playtime, diet and health.
In this article, the discussion will only revolve on the education of the children. Playtime, diet and health of the children will not be part of the discussion despite being considered as the other integral parts in the children’s life.
Children begin their life by experiencing their emotion. In fact, psychologists attribute the adulthood condition and behavior to childhood experience.
Howard Phillips Lovecraft, a writer, once said that “unhappy is he to whom the memories of childhood bring only fear and sadness.”
On this basis, what the children experience during their childhood can haunt their adult life. Consequently, the planning and structuring of the children’s life, especially education, has to be conducted meticulously.
Yet, adults appear to think that they know what the children need, probably to a certain extent because they were once children, or perhaps they have been studying or observing children all their lives.
Though it is true that adults were once children, but that was probably years ago. Didn’t they realize that what they have gone through was much different?
Ali bin Abu Talib, the 4th Caliph of Islam, once said, “Do not raise your children the way your parents raised you, they were born for a different time.”
The issue is how can we teach children the way we were taught? But how can we determine and decide what the children need? Who shall we turn to, to assist us in this matter? Are we supposed to turn to the professors who happen to be between 40 to 60 years old 'children'?
Of course, they were once children but that was a very long time ago. Although they may have conducted a lot of researches on children, they are no longer children. Furthermore, what plays in the children’s mind is rather mysterious as children are known to be ultra-species. Consequently, how should the education of the children be like?
Malaysia has been very dynamic as far education is concerned. The national education philosophy was formulated in 1988 with the belief that: "Education in Malaysia is an ongoing effort towards further developing the potential of individuals in a holistic and integrated manner in order to create a balanced and harmonious individual intellectually, spiritually, emotionally and physically."
The effort is designed to produce Malaysian citizens who are knowledgeable, honourable, responsible, competent and capable of achieving well-being and contribute to the harmony and prosperity of the family, community and country."
What actually transpired from this philosophy, however, has been haphazard implementations of endless curriculum reconstruction most probably from a political purview.
The common practice and expectation that the newly appointed education minister should be proactive in overhauling the education system has to be reconsidered.
Is our education at its lowest state that it requires a major overhaul? There is no denying that some modifications may be required to meet the present and the future demand, but to demolish the existing system and replace with a new one is something that need to be reconsidered.
The need to reconstruct education can only mean that the existing education is failing. It may require some twist and turns, but that's about it.
The fact is the maturity of an education policy can only be seen more than 20 years after it was first implemented. This is when the product of the policy begins to strive in the world.
Although there is no immediate result of education, a single mistake can lead to a devastating effect on the whole generation.
We have been highlighted in the success story of the education in Finland which has been acclaimed to have the best education in the world.
The Malaysian government has been dynamic in sending delegates across the globes, including to Finland to benchmark the education systems so that some elements, if not all, can be adopted or adapted in the country.
One thing that should be noted is that the education in Finland or any other countries is meant for the people of the countries to cater the needs of the respective countries, while Malaysian education is meant for Malaysians to meet the needs of Malaysia.
Alas, there is little need for Malaysian education system to be like other countries.
No matter how much we try to adopt the education system of the other countries, we will never be of equal standard as the country that we try to be like.
In deciding on this matter, the basic question that should be asked is “where are we taking our children”.
Dr Mohamad Fadhili Yahaya is Senior Fellow of Ubiquitous learning and teaching SIG. He is also senior lecturer at the Akademi Pengajian Bahasa, Universiti Teknologi Mara Cawangan Perlis.
The views expressed here are strictly of the author's and do not necessarily reflect Astro AWANI's.