Wednesday, March 17, 2010

On education again...

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Still been thinking about the ignorance of at least one small group of university students I mentioned in my post last Thursday.

Here is a Malaysian talking about censorship and the effect it has had on our education system. You can read the whole thing here: Silverfish* newsletter.

"In the sixties our universities were world-class, the pride of the developing world, among the best in Asia. Now, we struggle to be counted. Students, those who can afford to, go overseas. They don't even want to consider attending a local one if they can help it, whatever the quota. As for the quality of the graduates, one need only ask our employers. Since the eighties we have lost thousands of our skilled workers overseas, not for reasons of economics, but due to real or imagined sense of injustice and an intolerable climate of intellectual asphyxiation. We have lost the battle to attract the life saving FDI because our workers are no longer considered competitive. Our civil service is constantly in the press, fire-fighting the results of poor decision-making. We hear of police confiscating books from shops one day, and ministers promoting reading the next. Even our football team is languishing. It is as if thinking itself has been outlawed.

"Some may point to the eighties when civil servants were told to sit up, shut up, and punch clocks, when we sacrificed our young at the altar of Mammon for some to get unbelievably rich, when bad news was banned, when argument and debate ended, and when wisdom flowed from only one source. It was the end of dissent, the end of thought.

"Now the high points in our life include talking about roti canai tossing competitions in Subang Jaya and teh tarik experiments in outer space. Oh yes, we also have a committee for winning Nobel Prizes.

"Stupidification is not a condition, it is a process. We are not born stupid, but we can get there if we try hard enough."

Hear, hear...
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* (Silverfish is a Bangsar bookshop that leans towards the more literary (the Proprietor once refused to take my books even on no-prepay consignment!). He is also a brave man, never missing an opportunity to speak out on book related issues, particularly censorship and reading and education.)

1 comment:

Jo said...

I actually don't think the diminution of educational standards is restricted to Malaysia. I have seen a lot of instances in this part of the world, in our case a lot to do with lack of money (wars are more important) classes being way too big to handle and the general lack of interest on behalf of many students making it difficult for the ones who are genuinely interested.