Friday, April 29, 2011

English, zombie graduates and our education tragedy

English, zombie graduates and our education tragedy

Written by Not An English Teacher (From Harakahdaily.Net. English Version) 

Let us start by putting things into perspective. Prior to entering university, our children spend 6 years in primary school, 5 years in secondary school and 2 years in a pre-university programme (by the way, why do we have multiple pre-university programmes?). That is 13 years of formal pre-university education.

As most bachelor degrees are three-year programmes, university education constitutes less than 20% of our children's formal education.

Ask any educationist and he or she will tell you that the first few years of a child's life is the most critical because that is the period a child's character is formed. As the Malay saying goes, "Melentur buluh biarlah dari rebungnya".

Keeping in mind that university education constitutes less than 20% of our children's education, why are universities blamed for the many shortcomings of our graduates?

Take for instance, their proficiency in English. Given that they spent 11 years learning English in school, would it not be reasonable to expect that they are able to at least construct grammatically correct sentences in English?

Alas, this is not the case! I have come across many students who do not even know how and when to use present, past and perfect tenses correctly.

Unless the students are majoring in English or are in the TESL programme, the various faculties do not spend time teaching them basic English grammar, and assume that they would have already mastered this while they were in school.

If, say, one is an engineering student, the focus of his or her university education should be a sound understanding of engineering principles and the practical aspects of the subject so that at graduation, he becomes a good, competent engineer.

His lecturers and professors at the engineering faculty do not have time to teach him English – it is not their responsibility to sit him down and point out all the nuances of the English language. His English teachers in school were supposed to have done that already!

It is not the university's fault if graduates have poor command of English. The root of the problem is at school!

If after 11 years of learning English in school, a person is still unable to write simple, grammatically correct, sentences, then I'd say there is something very wrong with the way English is taught in our schools.

Do not blame the lecturers and professors for this problem.  It is no fault of their.

The joke goes around that a child asked her teacher how to pronounce the word "opaque" and the teacher answered, "oh-pah-kiu".  If that's the quality of our English teachers, little wonder then that our children cannot speak proper English. And don't get me started on how parents themselves set very bad examples with their pigeon English.

Then there are also other complains with regard to our graduates, such as their lack of communication skills, incapability for critical thinking, and poor interpersonal skills.

During the 13 years of education prior to entering university, are our children not required to think, communicate and interact with other people?

These are social skills that children should develop while they are growing up. Don't expect universities to teach them how to communicate and interact with people.

By the age of 19 (when most children enter university), they should already know how to interact and communicate!

As far as critical thinking skills are concerned, are our children not required to do any thinking at all in their schooling days? Are schools only teaching our children to memorise and regurgitate what is taught to them?

It certainly seems that way judging by how students behave in lecture halls and tutorial classes. The sad truth is our schools produce zombies that can't think for themselves and form their own opinions.

The root of the problem is not our universities but our flawed education system. We can bring in world famous professors from top ranking universities and the problem will not go away.

As the saying goes, garbage in, garbage out. Look at the entry requirements of top universities like Cambridge, Harvard or Yale.  What is the quality of the students that they accept?  

The students are not only required to excel academically but also in other aspects, such as co-curricular and community service. The students are already excellent – the universities then simply hone the talents and skills of their students to produce outstanding graduates.

Here's an analogy. You own a factory and want to produce top quality products to remain competitive in the market. How would you choose the raw materials you need to produce your products?  Would you use sub-standard materials or would you use high quality ones?  

If the former, you are compromising the quality of your end products. If the latter, you can rest assured that the end product will be of high quality.

The same applies to universities. The lecturers and professors can only work with what they are given. Even the best professors of Oxford and Yale will find it extremely challenging to undo within three years the 13 years of damage done to our children.

Having said that, while English plays an important role to remain competitive in an increasingly globalised world, it is not the determinant factor of success.

Take a look at the list of top 100 Asian universities. What language is used as medium of instruction at these universities?  If English were the determinant factor of success, these institutions would not be on the list.

While English plays an important role in science-based subjects, it might not be as important for other subjects.

That is why the vice chancellor of University of Malaya was so strongly criticised when he berated students at the Academy of Malay Studies and Academy of Islamic Studies over their poor command of English.

While his concern for the graduates' marketability is commendable,  arrogantly bragging about his supposedly superior command of English and other skills and belittling the students is not going to correct the problem. It is doubtful that Dato' Ghauth Jasmon is really concerned for the future of the students.

The videos of his meetings with the students are available on YouTube. Anyone who has watched them would be able to judge his command of English, mediocre at best. So who is he to berate the students?  

It was reported that he bragged that there was not a skill he had not mastered and one student bravely retorted that he had no communication and inter personal skils.   

What kind of example is he setting for the students?  That it is acceptable to belittle and put people down in public?  Is that the kind of skill he wants the students to master?  

If Dato' Ghauth Jasmon were a good leader, he would take proactive actions to address the problems, such as offering courses or seminars during the semester breaks for students who would like to improve their skills.

I am sure there is no shortage of ideas or input that he can garner from staff and students on what can be done to address the problems. Unfortunately, he is unable to see the bigger picture.

Watching the way he interact with the students, Ghauth Jasmon comes across as coarse and uncouth. He is a far cry from the kind of vice chancellors of high calibre in the past.

Not an English Teacher
Dr Azman
The Hague, Netherlands

Thursday, April 28, 2011

to ponder.....

History is important. If you don't know history it's as if you were born yesterday. And if you were born yesterday, anybody up there in a position of power can tell you anything and you have no way of checking up on it.
- Howard Zinn

Dr Ahmad Azman Mohd Anuar
The Hague
Tel: +310634028638

Monday, April 18, 2011

Berlin Germany

dr azman sent you a photomail

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your foto
Berlin Germany
Hari ini aku di Berlin Germany utk kali ketiganya. gambar ini diambil dari public phone, yg boleh digunakan untuk telefon, hantar sms, surfing web dan juga hantar email seperti ini. canggihnya teknologi disini utk keggunaan rakyat jelata.

It is not possible to reach the sender of this message using the "Reply" function.
To reply, please start a new message and address it to the correct recipient address.
This e-mail has been sent by a MultimediaStation of German Telekom. Number of position: 300004976248.

Sunday, April 17, 2011


Dr Azman
The Hague, Netherlands

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

PM’s Sandiwara in Sarawak!

PM's Sandiwara in Sarawak!

By Martin Jalleh

The PM has excused himself from his duties in Putrajaya (at the taxpayer's expense of course) and planted himself in Sarawak for six days till polling day to give the BN campaign a much-needed push.

He seems to be panicking for he has asked the whole Cabinet to park themselves in the Land of the Hornbill and endlessly praise the component BN parties there, whilst pouring scorn on the Opposition.

It appears that Taib Mahmud's campaign has been quite pathetic. After 30 years as CM there is little proof that the people have progressed! But, he now promises he will turn Sarawak into the richest state after the elections!

Najib believes that as PM his personality, popularity, position and plenty of "I-help-you-you-help-me" pledges, will lessen public preoccupation with Taib and successfully persuade the masses to vote for BN.

It was pure comedy though when Najib gave his assurance that Taib will step down as Sarawak CM "some time after the state election" and Taib responded he will – "in a few years"! Najib smiled, painfully…

Najib's first public meeting, a 1 Malaysia meet-the-leaders session which was plied with goodies in exchange for their attendance, degenerated into what Lim Kit Siang described as a "1 T-Shirt, 1 Tupperware circus".

Not to worry, the PM will fly to many more places to parade and preen on the political stage, promote his "Transformation" programmes and relentlessly pooh-pooh the Opposition's combat cry of "Ubah"!

Najib had proudly proclaimed to the Sarawakians that the BN not only promises "but we can deliver and we have delivered for the country". Pray tell, what has Najib delivered since he became PM two years ago?

His think-tank "Performance Management on Delivery Units" (Pemandu) has provided Bolehland with only a plethora of projections, programmes, powerpoint presentations, persuasive charts, and promising plans!

Indeed, it has been a prime "performance" by the Prime Minister, thereby making perfect his slogan "1Malaysia: People First, Performance Now", as he offers the rakyat a pipe-dream and a pie in the sky!

Sarawakians need to only look at last year to recognize the PM's play-acting for it was clearly a year of public relations, publicity stunts, political rhetoric, populist slogans and pure propaganda puff by the PM to win over public perception.

Najib's flagging image was re-engineered by Apco Worldwide, a global public relations consultant (paid RM77 yearly with taxpayers' money). He was portrayed as a premier who was ready and raring to redeem Bolehland with his purported radical reforms.

But all he has managed to achieve so far is to present to the nation his slew of acronyms, showcase of plans and pledges, and spate of potential privatised projects costing trillions!

His 1Malaysia slogan spun out of control when it was pointed out to him that it is a concept propagated by a Government that promotes and perpetuates a race-based party system – which is the main obstacle to our unity!

Since the introduction of 1Malaysia there has been unprecedented racist extremism and religious bigotry emanating from Perkasa and within Umno and in particular by Umno-owned Utusan Malaysia.

Whether it be human rights or civil liberties, the mainstream or online media, Najib's government continued to spin its illusory world and Bolehland's standing in international indexes continued to plummet.

When it came to the economy, Najib chickened out of reforming the "bastardised" NEP and relegated the "New Economic Model" (NEM) to merely a "trial balloon", as a very pleased Perkasa patted him on the back for giving in to their pressure.

Statistics in 2010 showed that our 2009 national debt rose to RM362.39 billion or 53.7% of GDP, its highest level in five years. It soared to RM407.1 billion in 2010 but the Government said it was no cause to worry!

There was an exodus of money from Malaysia on a scale which surpassed that during the Asian crisis. Malaysia's FDI plunged 81% and we were the only Asean country to experience negative FDI flow in 2009.

Najib's "transformation programmes" did not deter the damning diaspora data in Bolehland to rise to a level which he himself admitted has threatened his vision of transforming Malaysia into a high-income nation by 2020.

In 2010, in the midst of Najib's many pronouncements of transformation, the people (especially those in Sabah and Sarawak) struggled with soaring prices and senseless high cost of living while corporate giants and the PM's cronies escaped subsidy cuts.

By the end of 2010, the Father of Transformation had only farcical changes, fantasised figures, flip-flops, a frail economy, failing institutions and flawed policies to show, resulting in persitent public protests.

Hopefully, the people of the Land of the Hornbill will put a halt to Najib's hype, hypocrisy and hogwash by rejecting the BN component parties at the coming polls, thereby paving the way for genuine transformation in the next general elections!
Dr Azman
The Hague, Netherlands

to ponder.....

I have come into this world to see this: 
the sword drop from men's hands 
even at the height of 
their arc of 
because we have finally realized 
there is just one flesh 
we can wound.
- Hafiz of Persia

Dr Ahmad Azman Mohd Anuar
The Hague
Tel: +310634028638

Monday, April 11, 2011

to ponder.....

Education is learning what you didn't even know you didn't know.
- Daniel J. Boorstin

Dr Ahmad Azman Mohd Anuar
The Hague
Tel: +310634028638

Friday, April 8, 2011

Lebih Biru Dari Biru
Anak Muda

Lucah sana, lucah sini,
Terpampang sudah segenap segi,
Jelas terpapar dedahan asli,
Sekali tonton rasa nak lagi.

Siapa gerangan pelakon utama,
Perutnya boroi membuyut dada,
Bertuala panjang badan perkasa,
Namun identiti masih rahsia.

Wawasan 2020 semakin dihampiri,
Kini namanya wawasan pornografi,
Anak muda dihidang aksi,
sebelum belajar buat sendiri.

Zaman remaja mengenal dunia,
Belajar dari telunjuk yang tua,
Porno hadir hidangan utama,
Lazat dan bertenaga si anak muda.

Video merangsang darah si muda,
Yang tidak mengerti, tahu segala,
Yang jahil, peroleh idea,
Senyap-senyap intai tandas wanita,
Waktu malam pecah masuk asrama,
Rogol, sumbang mahram dan juga berzina,
Semakin bertambah 'permata' negara.

Inilah lumrah politik negara,
Kalau naik angin nak londeh semua,
Londeh sini dan londeh sana,
Yang penting kekal terus berkuasa,
Maruah negara belakang kira.

Dedah-mendedah dah jadi budaya,
Semua nak jadi berita utama,
Akhbar perdana dua kali lima,
Tanpa mengira sempadan agama,
Yang penting kami buat kerja.

Ya Allah Yang Maha Adil Saksama,
Tunjukkan kebenaran buat kami semua,
Yang zalim pasti Kau azab dan laknat,
Yang benar pasti Kau kurnia rahmat.

Kebenaran pasti akan tersurat,
Semoga yang bersabar beroleh berkat,
Di akhirat kelak beroleh rehat...

Perkasa chief tells why men like him cheat wives


KUALA LUMPUR, Apr 7: When was the last time that a woman was blamed for her wayward husband? In Malaysia's case, it was only today.

Only a few days after Kinabatangan member of parliament Bung Mukhtar - no stranger to chauvinist remarks - suggested that female drivers were the cause of road accidents, pro-UMNO independent MP Ibrahim Ali (pic) said today that wives are to blame if husbands commit adultery.

"There are times when husbands have desires, but when they come home to their wives, they will say, 'wait, I'm cooking', or 'wait, I'm getting ready to visit relatives'," said Ibrahim, perhaps offering an insight into his own marital issues.

But far from claiming that the comments were entirely his, Ibrahim even used Islam to back his claim, arguing that a wife is expected to "drop whatever she is doing to please the husband's (sexual) desire".

"In Islam, wives are supposed to stop everything to fulfil their husbands' demands," he was quoted as saying by online news site Malaysiakini.

Far from the modern adage that men come home to get a good night's sleep, Ibrahim sugggested that he would come home from with only sex in his mind.

"Husbands driving home after work see things that are sexually arousing and go to their wives to ease their urges," said Ibrahim, who went on to take a potshot at the pornographic video targetting Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim, by saying that men went to "private places" only to be later get caught in video.

"This is why I want a proper explanation as to whether wives understand their roles," he further remarked.

Predictably, Ibrahim's theory about sex and marriage sparked angry reactions from others, including Subang Jaya state assemblywoman Hannah Yeoh.

“BN men mock women drivers, maternity leave, bocor remarks and now Perkasa states it's women's responsibility to ensure men don’t stray. I'm boiling!” said Hannah on Twitter.

“Stop sending men like that to Parliament! They don't deserve the seat, the microphone and the honourable title. Nothing about them is honourable,” she added.

'A shade of his racist politics'

Meanwhile, Steven Sim, chairman of Penang DAP's Gender Justice and Social Development Bureau, said Ibrahim had gone against his earlier theory of why men married more than one wife.

“Previously, Ibrahim Ali has said that women have very strong sexual urges, which caused men to marry many wives. And now he claimed that it was because women failing to satisfy the urges of their husbands that the men commit adultery," he said.

Saying his remarks were "appalling", Sim wondered whether Ibrahim was competing with other sexist MPs.

He said the latest comments on women only reflected Ibrahim's own political understanding.

"Ibrahim Ali’s total disrespect for women only demonstrates his narrow, exclusive and xenophobic worldview, not least reflected through his involvement in the ultra-right wing group Perkasa.

“This is a total disappointment and does not represent the views of men in general,” he added.

Sim called on prime minister Najib Razak to immediately take action against sexist MPs, telling other BN male MPs to show their commitment to gender equality by condemning Ibrahim's statement.

Berkebajikan sebagai aset menghadapi akhirat | Blog Tok Guru

Berkebajikan sebagai aset menghadapi akhirat | Blog Tok Guru

Tips akhirat untuk blogger & facebooker | Blog Tok Guru

Tips akhirat untuk blogger & facebooker | Blog Tok Guru

to ponder.....

Those who begin by burning books will end by burning people.
- Heinrich Heine

Dr Ahmad Azman Mohd Anuar
The Hague
Tel: +310634028638

Thursday, April 7, 2011

to ponder.....

Scientific progress makes moral progress a necessity; for if man's power is increased, the checks that restrain him from abusing it must be strengthened.
- Madame de Stael

Dr Ahmad Azman Mohd Anuar
The Hague
Tel: +310634028638

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Had 50 penyokong untuk tutup malu BN

Dr Azman
The Hague, Netherlands

Dilema Melayu kerana tolak Islam | Blog Tok Guru

Dilema Melayu kerana tolak Islam | Blog Tok Guru

to ponder.....

There is no such thing as a "self-made" man. We are made up of thousands of others. Everyone who has ever done a kind deed for us, or spoken one word of encouragement to us, has entered into the make-up of our character and of our thoughts, as well as our success.
- George Matthew Adams

Dr Ahmad Azman Mohd Anuar
The Hague
Tel: +310634028638

Monday, April 4, 2011

to ponder.....

Who does not thank for little will not thank for much.  
~Estonian Proverb

know a couple of people who are not grateful and thankful with what is given to them.....

Dr Ahmad Azman Mohd Anuar
The Hague
Tel: +310634028638