Maszlee resignation: Entering a new decade with a ‘bang’

Maszlee Malik

When I was in secondary school, there was so much hype over Vision 2020. So many things were expected which to be honest, seemed so far away at that time. And in the blink of an eye, here we are.

Indeed Vision 2020 was something I had looked forward to as a young girl. I had futuristic images like The Jetsons cartoon with flying cars and moving walkways.

Alas, our ‘flying cars’ didn’t take off and well, the conditions of our walkways are nothing to be proud of.

But, 2020 did start off with a “bang” when Maszlee Malik announced his resignation as education minister. Surprised? No, because since he took the portfolio, there were already many controversies surrounding him.

However, I was quite disheartened because the first thing that came to mind was, “What happens now. Do I have start looking for white school shoes?”

Maszlee held the post for just short of two years. During his tenure, the media had already questioned whether he was really qualified and highlighted his underperformances.

As a parent of primary school children, I have to take my hats off to him for making several changes to our 62-year-old education system in just 20 months.

While I do not agree to all the decisions, I admit that some changes were timely. For example, when he abolished the exam-oriented system among lower primary school children.

For the longest time, I had wished schools were not so exam-oriented and focused more on making learning fun. My oldest son was subject to the gruelling examination system, while my youngest son (who is currently in Primary 2) was fortunate to experience the learning process under the new changes.

Maszlee had in October 2018 announced the abolition of Year One, Two and Three students’ mid-year and final exams from 2019 to allow schools to focus more on teaching and helping pupils discover the joy of learning. Examinations were replaced with a more objective assessment system last year.

Under his tenure, amendments to three Acts (the Universities and University Colleges Act (UUCA) 1971, the Private Higher Educational Institutions Act 1996 and the Educational Institutions (Discipline) Act 1976) were passed at the Dewan Rakyat in December 2018, paving the way for full abolition of the Act. This was aimed at ending a ban on students of higher education institutions to be involved in politics on campus.

Students in higher education institutions are our youth votes. We need to look at our youth today if we want our nation to progress. Hence, allowing student unions and empowering our youth will benefit our nation in the future.

Maszlee, among many other changes, had also call for students to wear black shoes instead of white ones. While many criticised his decision, I was all for it.

Finally, I wouldn’t be judged as a mother whose son’s shoes were not sparkly white when they return home from school on Monday. Finally, I wouldn’t have to spend so much time trying to scrub those stubborn stains on his shoes.

As trivial as it may sound, I am just glad they are wearing black shoes.

Our education ministry is known for flip-flop decisions (and I really hope the black shoe is not one of them) which affects our children. It’s the constant changes in policies and systems that are failing our children. And it is no wonder why many parents are choosing to send their children to international schools.

As we enter a new decade in such complex times, I no longer know what the future holds.

Nevertheless, as any parent, I want what’s best for my children and that they will live in a society where everyone sees each other as Malaysians and not by race or religion – one where there is kindness and empathy.

That’s the real new Malaysia I hope for.

This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Twentytwo13.

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