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Aja B.
  • Aja B.
  • New York, NY
  • United States

Online Community Manager, TED


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For non-US TEDizens: Can you tell us about your country's education system?

This week's special on American TV, "TED Talks Education," focuses on problems in US schools.

So here's the place for non-Americans to share: What's an issue in your country's education system that you'd like to see a TED Talk about? Who would you ask to speak? Do you have any success stories to share?


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    May 8 2013: An issue in Malaysia is the presence of vernacular schools. In Malaysia, there are private schools, national schools, religious schools, and then there're the Chinese and Tamil vernacular schools. They're a source of discontentment for the majority Malay population, who think they promote racial segregation and disunity. But the Chinese argue that the quality of education and teachers in government schools are sub-par, which I think is also somewhat true. If you probe deeper, the issue is actually intertwined with politics (The Chinese are mostly pro-Opposition now). Anyway, I'm just scratching the surface... I don't really know the details...
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      May 9 2013: Thank you for sharing that. It's such an interesting issue that's cropped up so many times around the world throughout history. I'm curious to know in the case of Malaysia -- are the same government institutions responsible for regulating the curriculum of the vernacular schools and the other public schools? Is the curriculum regulated at all? I feel like that's one of the biggest questions: Are the kids not only learning in different languages, but also learning different material?
      • May 10 2013: I went to a private religious primary school and state-funded religious secondary school (as opposed to national school) (1997-2005). We followed the same curriculum but not for religious subjects- the religious curriculum is designed by the state or by the private institution. It is sginificantly different (more in-depth knowledge) as compared to standard religious syllabus by the central govt.
        I'm not sure about vernacular schools curriculum but I think they also follow the same curriculum.

        The edu. system is fraught with issues at the moment (but since when it wasn't?) I mean after the govt. revoked the decision of teaching Science and Match in English (back to Malay the national laguage), some vernacular schools go on to teach in English. Some boarding schools (considered as prestigious schools) also choose to teach in English. The freedom they enjoyed is envied by certain parents who send their children to national schools but prefer their chidlren to be taught in English.

        And regarding the issue of vernacular schools caused racial segregation etc.,I don't think you can blame vernacular schools entirely for that- because the Malays who majority are Muslims also have religious schools and what not. So not allowing vernacular schools also mean not allowing religious schools- so BOTH Malay and non-Malay won't be happy with that.

        One of the initiaves to mitigate racial segregation without eliminating vernacular school is "Vision School"- where 3 (Chinese, Indian, National schools) are built closed together and the schools share sides like field and school canteen. I think it's agood idea, but it wasn't implemented well.

        There is also govt. effort to teach vernacular language in national schools as to encourage non-Malay sending their chidlren to national schools, but vernacular schools do not agree with that idea because they themselves are suffering from the lack of vernacular language teachers (so how can they supply teachers to national school?)

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