I was shocked of course because there was no indication what-so-ever that his teacher was leaving. I told Juliette as much and then she sighed.
“Kesian dia lah….” She said. “She has a family problem lah, that’s why… Her son had a mental breakdown, 2 – 3 weeks before SPM or PMR, I cannot remember…” She confided.
I was so surprised. And upset for the family. “Kesian kan ?” Juliette agreed.
Apparently, Abang’s teacher didn’t realize things we were wrong with her eldest child until she saw him talking to himself. He had since expressed his hate towards his mother and had threatened to harm himself. He had abandoned his studies altogether. She of course couldn’t concentrate on her work, with the worrying and the crying and trying to find a solution for her troubled son.
Is it caused by exams pressure ? If it is, and I suspect as much, then what a waste, to loose your mind because of the rigidity of our schooling system. It is really high time for Malaysia to re-evaluate its education system. I couldn’t compare our system to anywhere else in the world except for the UK because I am familiar of how they work.
In the UK, some doesn’t even believe in university education. Work experience is more prized. In my university course itself, 40% of the students were part-time students, where they started as engineering apprentice with manufacturers like Boots, Walkers and Cussons. And by far, they are the smartest in class because they actually understand the mechanism we learnt as they have encountered it on a daily basis. We novices looked at a stroboscope and wondered when am I going to use this ? What is this thing, really ? But they know the why and the hows. Their understanding makes them first class degree holders during my year.
In England, you can start from the very bottom and literally climb up the corporate ladder to be at the top. One of HSBC’s top gun in London is a lady who has only A-Levels to her name, not even a diploma. She got there because of the experience and acumen she accumulated over they years. Something that you cannot get through book learning.
In Malaysia, you need certificates every step of the way. I remember a friend whose husband only has a diploma but is doing managerial work. However his pay and designation doesn’t match the work he is doing, just because he lacked the certificates. He can’t even ascend to the top because of that reason.
I am not saying that we should do away with universities but what I am saying is learning is not for everyone. Create more opportunities for those who just cannot do learning as their brilliance could be undiscovered or worse become totally lost. The Education Ministry should work with business owners to create apprenticeship program for school leavers who aren’t interested to continue studying but interested to learn a trade. Maybe there are companies who offered that sort of programme in Malaysia (like MAS) but it is not common knowledge. Many people are unaware that sort of program exists. Plus, they usually cost a bomb. Make it accessible to everyone is another thing to consider.