Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Our Younger Generation

The US Presidential election has just been over and Obama was returned to office with a narrow margin over Romney. It was commented by CCN that Obama won in most of the States with a large voting population of youths and Latinos. Over in Malaysia, many had also commented that in the forthcoming general election, the younger voters would have a primary role in deciding who will be returned to power.

Let's not ignore the fact that even the youths who are below voting age have a great influence on how the forthcoming General Election will turn out. How come? They have a great influence over their parents - the voters. Children nowadays have as much influence over their parents as they do in determining what is to be cooked for lunch or dinner, or whether the family will just eat out. They also in many ways influence the furnishing, the decorations and the electronic equipment that you can find in the house.

The children and youths of today are the adult citizens of tomorrow. As such their education and nurturing, in and out of school, must be given a very special attention. Our concern must not only be centered on their getting as many As as possible in the examinations they have to go through, but must be focused on the total development of their character and personality. That includes the physical, mental and spiritual or moral aspects of development.

In terms of physical development, I don't think we in Malaysia face much of a problem today. Aside from a few cases of undernourishment, the more widespread danger today is of obesity among the children.Overfeeding and over pampered? Probably, but the parents love doing that. Mental development through the education system and at home, has faced a number of controversies, especially in regard to the school curriculum and syllabus, while expensive tuitorals at home have caused considerable worries to the lower-income parents.

School curriculum and syllabus in as much as the education system as a whole need to be constantly reviewed and the Ministry of Education claims to be doing that all the time.However, many feel that some of the so-called innovation and revamp in the system had led to less desirable results than the old 3R system manned by Kirkby- Brinsford Lodge- and even Normal-trained teachers. We still don't know whether its the curriculum, the syllabus, the system or the teachers who are at fault but the victims are the children of today, the citizens of tomorrow.

The ethical, moral and spiritual development of today's children and youths has of course been severely criticized by many. But there's nothing much that the schools can do except introduce some civic and religious classes. The ethical and moral standard of our society as a whole must be reviewed in the light of today's materialistic values and reverence for money and wealth.

After years off expanding higher secondary and tertiary education in Malaysia with several colleges and universities coming into being, we are rocked again with the realization that more children and youths now opt for the arts rather the sciences in furthering their education. Only 20% of the secondary school students opt for the sciences, says one report. Why so? For an easy answer one has only to ask how many high paying jobs in the market today require a science degree? You'll find a great number of science degree holders holding administrative and general management jobs.
The requirement to pursue a degree in computer science is also not too stringent to bar students from the arts stream to go it. So, where is the incentive to take up science? Giving some allowance to parents to encourage their children to take up science is certainly not the answer to the problem.

Only a good job market for science degrees will do the trick. How a switch to science will affect the development of our children and youths in terms of their ethical, moral and spiritual development is another issue to be dealt with.


abdulhalimshah said...

I have the gut feeling that one of the likely reasons for the low figures on youngsters choosing science based courses is due to the propensity of people for instant rewards. The obsession or the inclination to get rich quick is the main preoccupation of many young people now and science is not something that can do that. Our bias towards science and technology which was implemented in our education policy has lost its momentum and now the policy makers are in a quandary with the new blueprint coming out from the Ministry. People wants to get rich quick regardless the ethics and the underlying priciples of honesty and integrity. This is the outcome of a policy that has gone haywire and it takes a herculean effort to remedy it.

norzah said...

Probably the policy to encourage the young to take up science was never backed up by job opportunity and better income incentives, Akhi. As you rightly pointed out, you get more instant rewards with an arts degree.
Even in India outstanding scholars with PhD in science serve in NASA, MIT etc. Malaysia will have to creeate more jobs in the R n D field to encourage the young to become scientists.