Monday 24 February 2014

Back To School...

I have been aware of the Khan Academy for some time now and was expecting it to develop the way it has today. This is the great equalizer for whole generations of young Malaysians (since the early 70s) who have been marginalized by a secondary school education system designed to social engineer an "educated society" with more form than substance; a scheme of grand design that was to bring about "equality" albeit at a substandard level. A system that created whole generations of "literate illiterate" Malaysians as by extension, the standards in tertiary education suffered the same fate. Just take a close look at the "quality" of graduates in the last two decades who are expected to drive our K-economy!

An immediate effect of the system was the proliferation of students with double digit numbers of As never before heard of let alone seen. Certainly, the average IQ level of young Malaysians did not increase overnight! The obvious lowering of the bar eventually affected all races and this was only the academic aspect of schooling! Another major factor was and still is the downgrading of English as a medium of instruction. Socio-political factors which need no further elaboration here, drew clear demarcation lines that divided the races in schools. The fading of meritocracy put paid to any chance of the best shining through and I think the last nail is the vicious cycle that started when the very products of this education system became fodder for sprouting teacher training colleges which supplied substandard teachers back to the schools.   

My children were direct victims of this system as they learned virtually nothing useful from their years in so-called government school. It was frustrating to see how they "progressed" through the system yet their knowledge base was obviously way inferior compared to what my own generation gained from secondary schooling. 

Yes, they are computer literate/savvy but that was not acquired in school. I shudder to imagine what they would be today if as parents we had not given them access to computers and the internet at home. Parents with my same dilemma can now rest easy. Go check out Khan Academy. Alas, the medium of instruction is English which justifies the efforts of the Parents Action Group for Education (PAGE).

Personally, I believe the best thing I could ever give my children was to teach them to think and imbue the attitude that we can master ANYTHING if only we are interested enough to want to learn more. J.J. is an interesting case in point. Since the left-brain/right-brained theory is now considered a myth and outdated I cannot explain why he is so much like Jeannie; they learn so well through audio visual means. Thank goodness for You Tube!!!

I chose not to point J.J. towards Khan Academy in hope that he would discover it himself. And discover it he did! He can now begin his personal journey to "fill in the gaps" and his first subject of choice is biology which begins with "Evolution and Natural Selection". He just told us he refuses to be a "lesser ape"!

Krystyn on the other hand is not so into learning from You Tube but being gifted with speed reading ability, Google is her most useful source of knowledge although she too can gain lots from the Khan Academy.

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