Saturday, February 20, 2010

Malaysia's top 20 schools

Today, we shall analyse the "top 20 schools" vs Australia's latest move. Two weeks ago, it was hotly debated in the Letters to Editor section of The Star.

Do you know that we once had "Program Sekolah Bertaraf 5 Bintang, 4 Bintang, 3 Bintang" ? I remember hearing from educationists that schools also had a classification called Sekolah Premier.

Now, at the national level, we have 20 Sekolah Terbaik di Malaysia. Does it help to improve our education system and competitiveness among students or schools ?

The star ratings of schools did not, the Sekolah Premier status did not. I have more questions in fact.
  • How will justifications of budget allocation to schools be done ? Do we give a large chunk to the best schools or do we give a large chunk to the under performing schools ?
  • Do we go all out to focus on the creme de la creme - i.e. best teachers, best allocation funding, best facilities, best programs, best rewards ?
  • Or do we trade our focus away from the elite schools and spend time nurturing or developing The Last, The Least and The Lost (I think we should) ?
  • Will there be proper monitoring systems on the 20 best Malaysian schools so that the PTA, the Board of Governors and the School administration do not abuse their status for higher school fees, "expedition of application", membership fees for co curriculum activities or use of facilities ?

I once heard that some Premier school(s) encourage "donations" to be made to the school funds if the Parents want to enrol their children there.

But browsing through the list of top 20 schools, 10 of them are full residential schools !

Aiseh Tan Sri Muhyiddin, this is not right. The list has so many residential schools which are not accessible to all students - only the creme de la creme with quota policy as well.

We aren't sure if it is because of the school, the discipline, the commitment, the environment and the teachers that contributed to the successes or is it due to the fact that the pool of students are already the best among the rest ?

I was surprised to see VI or SJI not among the list, to be honest. Come on.

Victoria Institution, Catholic High School, St. John's Institution (Najib's alma mater) are also elite schools who have produced CEOs, Directors, Ministers, Politicians and Academicians.

Year after year, they produce top folks you know ?

Having said all these, I heard that the Japanese education system ranks their schools too. I was told that La Sallian schools are among the best in that country when I was studying in Japan.

My only worry is that The Last, The Least, and The Lost will not receive ample attention if the hype surrounds the elite schools only.

Now, there are plans to extend the list to "100 best schools".

Just a suggestion, the Education Ministry should take a look at this - My schools : Private vs Public by Australian Government (Julia Gillard).

The latest news article explains Rudd's plans to expand the My Schools Website. Read it HERE.

We should do the same to compare the academic and non academic achievements of private and public schools, or something similar.

I think Rudd Government's guidelines and regional comparisons are better. And someone should read TSMY's KPI by Syed Akbar Ali - PM must change team


katdog said...

Our education system going backwards.

First we reverted science and maths back to Malay. Instead of at least allowing schools to opt for english if they wanted so.

Next, we limited the number of subjects one can sit for examination via the new 10+2 system. Why? Because allowing certain students to take more subjects was unfair to students that are not able to take those extra subjects. Ridiculous.

Then there are the news floating around that school budgets this year have been slashed. (Has any MSM reported on this yet?) So we allocate more money for the 20 top schools but we slash the budgets for the hundreds of other schools all over the country? This has got to be a joke right?

katdog said...

Oh and i read the article by Syed Akbar Ali.

But his comments about dropping MCA-Gerakan-MIC ministers again serves to highlight the ignorance and arrogance of the UMNOputras. Dropping these ministers will mean alienating the party. (even more insulting would be if an independant non-Malay was selected. MCA/MIC would be truly redundant then)

Despite their dismal states, these smaller parties can still bring with it about 30% of the non-Malay votes. UMNO still needs to split the non-Malay votes simply because UMNO itself can only secure 55% of the Malay votes which is too close for comfort.

And you can only toss out/alienate those UMNO ministers that have no strong factions to contend with. If Najib steps on the wrong toes...well just recall what happened to Badawi. Badawi's administration was sabotaged by disgruntled UMNO men from within.

Reforming UMNO-BN is quite literally a herculean task. Overlooking incompetence and poor performance, rent seeking, cronyism and politics of patronage...these have all been deeply entrenched into UMNO-BN for the past 20 years.

I seriously can't imagine how ANYONE would be able to reform UMNO-BN. Try taking the cake away from the UMNO warlords and you will be tossed out faster than you can say 'reformasi'.