Friday, April 23, 2010

Word to your Mother (tongue)

So now the gahment is considering letting kids who cannot manage a pass in their mother tongue to slide into (top) secondary schools without it.

Over the years the MOE has tweaked the education system in so many ways that students and parents sometimes don't recognize the syllabus by the time term starts anymore. This latest "consideration" though, takes the cake.

While I was not a bright student back in the days, I am glad that I went to a school with deep roots in Chinese culture. I took up Confucius studies, studied Chinese literature. Both of which I sucked big time. It did, though, expose me to a world where a few words put together, can summarize a whole passage.

Fast forward to present day. The Chinese language is being taken up in many parts of the world. It is not uncommon in my job to hear Caucasians, Japanese, Indians etc speak the language with some fluency. That they have recognized the economical benefit of grasping the language speaks volumes.

If people of non-Chinese decent are playing catch up to master Mandarin, how come our schools here are being made to dumb it down many levels? And if the "consideration" is taken up, why would anyone in school bother to learn the language since it holds little or no stake in the final assessment before they go onto secondary schools?

It just reflects the way society has placed emphasis on short term, often impatient, quick fixes.

I am also leaning towards the theory that somewhere on this island there are little white ponies who's influencing the decision making.

Do note that of course I am not referring only to the Chinese language, but our ethnic mother tongue at that. Malays should be able to master Bahasa Melayu, Indians -Tamil. Language is the link we have with our parents, and the older generation, of whom has many tales to share, recipes to life.