Sunday, March 29, 2009

English and Racism in our public universities

English and Racism in our public universities
29 Mar, 2009

After 13 years Malaysian public education, I have come to realise that the majority of our students will never be able to stand on their own later in a life. Since primary one till form five, we were not really guided to become good thinkers, leave alone great ones. We were spoon fed entirely.

After achieving excellent results in my STPM, I managed to get into the top university in Malaysia that is University Malaya. Being at the top of the world, my perspectives of the medical faculty has really taken a turn. It is not about the academic staff which is no doubt excellent. The worrying issue here is the students of the faculty in particular the medical students. The standard of our students are no where compared to any top University in the region. We are so called the top achievers in pre-university exams, which by the way is split between STPM and matriculation even though the quality and standards are a world of different.

Leaving the difference in pre-u exams alone, we have at least one common exam, which is MUET (Malaysian University English Test). I was told that in order to get into course such as medicine, one will need to obtain band 5 and above with 6 being the maximum. However that was not the case when I arrived here where there are students pursuing medicine with a band 3. Band 3 represents a modest user of the English language on the score sheet. That is the capability our so called top students. I question why have the double standards? Why push a form six students to get a minimum of a band 5 and matriculation students get in with 3, or is this result not considered during the admission process? Lately, the standard of our English is deteriorating and vital resources have to be spent on English classes for medical students. English classes are important in order to improve the student’s proficiency; however it is definitely avoidable if they were to meet certain requirements before being accepted into the university.

In the light of the Science and Mathematics in English controversy, I would like all those people who are pushing so hard for the policy to be abolished to look at the standard of our English. These individuals whom have absurdly nothing better to do than criticize the policy rather than help meet its objectives. Besides the NGOs which have been opposing the policy , yet the biggest surprise to me was when there was circular by PIMUM(society in UM) in which our recently elected head of student council called it a ‘jenayah’(crime) for this policy to be implemented. First of all, I doubt he can read and write in English satisfactorily but is all out to prevent his younger brothers and sisters the chance of proficiency in the language. His statement by all does not represent the students in University Malaya and is definitely not why the people elected him. I guess he better buck up and stay with his responsibility of upholding the student affairs and needs.

Besides the English scenario, the medical faculty has an extremely racist orientation where everyone is segregated into their racial backgrounds. This is due to the fact of fear of failure and the overdependence of the undergraduates who cannot fend for themselves. The tradition of this racist orientation has been long ongoing and slowly being spread to other faculties and universities. The racism is so bad that even during eating hours you see the people sitting according to race. Books, elusive past-years, information are only shared between a particular race. After class stay backs for the Malays, meeting outside lecture for the Chinese and many more. I did not mention the Indians as their numbers are too small that a sms will do. Pre-exam prep for the Malays or Chinese or Indians only. They are also against briefing a person from another race and threats to scare those who want to. Mind you that these people are going to be future doctors, and what stops them from being the same when treating patients as they are brought up in this manner.

There is much more stuff to be mentioned but I think if those issues mentioned do not get any attention, what is stopping us seeing separate lecture halls for the different racial backgrounds in the years to come. Those in medical faculty can deny all you want to but that is the truth and to be honest doctors we should start a change to see through all these menace.


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