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Friday, January 26, 2007

Is Basic Common Sense So Rare these Days?

I wonder why the Education Minister himself has to invite parents who were outraged by schools demanding details of parents’ income and other personal details to “go to him”.

I remember in the mid 90s when my eldest daughter was studying in Malaysian schools we used to get a similar form but we always signed the form with the remark, “not applying for any financial assistance” and we were not bothered anymore until the following year when the same exercise was conducted.

It appears that school authorities in various states have been allowed to exercise their own creativity to extract information from parents for questionable reasons.

Information on income is sensitive and many parents prefer to keep it private even from their own children. Children being smart will always know which end of the wealth continuum their family belongs but some wealthy families practise a frugal lifestyle to inculcate good money values in their children.

There is also the security factor as some smaller children may boast about their wealth and invite extortion attempts from school bullies or even worse, kidnap attempts from criminals. No one can guarantee the privacy of your information as Malaysia does not practise within the scope of any data protection laws.

Just a few years ago, I used to get unsolicited mail from companies that had been given my details by the Board of Engineers. How did I know? The reference number on the address had my BoE registration number.

But back to the school info problem. I suggest the following to the Minister of Education.

At the beginning of the year all students will be given this form letter:

“Dear Parent
In order to qualify for financial assistance and other aid, we need personal details like family income in the attached form.

If you do not need any financial assistance, please return only this form for our school records.

Education Ministry

Name of Parent:

Name of Pupil:

School year:

This is to certify that I do not require any financial assistance:____________________
(signed by parent)"

If the MoE orders all state offices to use only an approved standard format I am sure there will be no more complaints from parents.

Maybe then the Education Ministry will be able to fully focus on the important tasks at hand to improve the quality of education in Malaysia.

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1 comment:

Meng said...

Its not a matter of not getting the right letter out...its just poor adiministration of a ministry run by an idiot!
I have 3 children studying in primary school this year and the forms came to me. I being the rebel refused to cooperate. Parents were frantic and some complied.
The education ministry is in shambles. We play and experiment with our kids education after obliterating a whole generation of english speaking graduates. Now, they want to wait to see what happens to this next batch of guniea pigs.
The education in Malaysia has gone to the dogs. It is a foretaste of what we can expect in Malaysia 20 years on.