Friday, May 29, 2009

WHY FORM 6 STUDENTS SHOULD GO HOME AT 1 PM.

Edited: Extra point to strengthen my stand.
I believe that most Form 6 students have been fretting about or probably cursing the new Form 6 system. All are not to blame because this so-called wonderful system comprises of several extra tedious hours of school, extending to the late afternoon at 4 pm.

Preposterous, I say.

My caseline stating that Form 6 should NOT be extended till 4 pm are as follows. (And we better hope some big shot up there is reading our grouses and hopefully, take a suitable course of action.)

1. Global warming. As we can see for the past few days, the weather is unbearably erratic - hot and rainy, but mostly hot. Of course, the Education Ministers don't experience this because they are cooped up from 9 to 5 in an air-conditioned room. We, on the other hand, study in open-air classrooms with barely enough fans to ventilate 45 students. Sure, the government can say, "Let's allocate several air-conditioning units per school for Form 6 classes." But, think rationally. Who's going to pay the electricity bills? This poses a problem for semi government-aided schools like ACS. And then, this hefty bill will be pushed to the students (who are still recuperating from buying the overly-priced text books). "RM 1 per month for air-cond!" Utter injustice.

2. It would be safe to assume that most of the people who suggested this ridiculous plan never entered Form 6. So, they would have never known that Form 6 is a mountain of a challenge. If 5 hours of heavy continuous studying in the morning is bad enough to get a elephantine headache, what more in the hot afternoon? STPM is no child's play like SPM. We could actually sleep in Physics class in Form 5 and get a top grade everytime. But, if you do that in Form 6, you might as well quit the rat race now. We still need time to revise and pore over every minute detail after lessons. With longer schooling hours, our revision time is greatly reduced and we would be mentally and physically exhausted. Do the math:

Current system:
12 waking hours - 2 hours for essential daily activities* - 5 normal school hours = 5 hours of individual revision

New system:
12 waking hours - 2 hours for essential daily activities* - 5 normal school hours - 3 extra hours of school = 2 hours of individual revision

* includes meal time, bathing, etc.

3. Extra curricular activities. IPTAs and even foreign universities put extra emphasis on ECA nowadays. They don't just want a booksmart kid who gets hit by balls and nosebleeds every PE lesson. They want all-rounders. Usually ECAs are carried out during after-school hours, but, now, there can be no ECAs for Form 6 students as they'll be sitting in their oven-like classes either a) day-dreaming, b) frying their brains trying to grasp Physics concepts or c) staring out the window watching the Football Club dribbling balls on the green field. So, where on earth, may I ask, can we procure ECA marks? Group all activities on Saturdays? Nonsensical. Here's the math:

Period of Time, t1, for uniformed bodies > 3 hours
Period of Time, t2, for clubs/societies > 2 hours
Period of Time, t3, for sports clubs > 2 hours
Total time, t > 7 hours

We already have no PE classes, give us our playtime too!

4. Tuition. Most Malaysian students (due to the inadequacy in the education system), attend tuition classes and I am one of them too. We have meticulously arranged tuition classes to suit our schooling time, ECAs and other commitments eg. religious events, family duties. This system will throw all our careful planning into a complete mess and what a hassle it will be for tuition centres and tuition teachers.

5. Put yourselves in teachers' shoes too, MOHE. Imagine dealing with a bunch of hooligans every single day, not only in the sense of teaching but also disciplining. All the experienced and excellent old-school teachers might just bail out on you guys by a) opting out early or b) not extending their services till they're 58.

6. Canteen food sucks. No offence, ACS-ians who actually think that the canteen food is great. Wait till you try MGS - 13 stalls. Extra expenses will be incurred on students daily as we'll have to eat the expensive food twice a day - mid-morning recess and lunch. Usually, we get to cut costs, moms cook, we eat. Besides, there's a higher chance of getting a mass food poisoning case. ^^

7. It is incorrect to say that Form 6 is the cheapest option of pre-university studies because unfortunately, it is not. If calculated, books, school fees, contributions to school development funds, food, stationery, uniforms, class fund and other expenses will total up to approximately RM 30, 000 for the entire period of one and a half years. With the new 4 o' clock system, extra expenses have to be included in the expenditure list. For example, food and not to mention, the extra compulsory air-conditioning fee. Money does not grow from trees. I do realise that there are many students even in the first class from families of 5 that rely on RM 800 from a sole breadwinner or just on a minimal pension. How unfair it is to throw a whole family which is struggling to just get food on the table into a mudhole.

8. WE ARE EXTREMELY FED UP OF BEING GUINEA PIGS. I think that this generation of students is a guinea pig generation. Let's see what tests have we been subjected to so far:

Experiment 1: To ensure no more leaping from Standard 3 to Standard 5.
Method: Cancel the obsolete PTS test.
Results: Probably worthwhile.

Experiment 2: To produce better and more competitive graduates in the global field.
Method: Indroduce Science and Math in English.
Results: A good step, but poor planning. And now they want to revert to Malay again?!

Experiment 3: To alleviate STPM results, probably.
Method: Lengthen schooling hours for Form 6 students till 4 pm.

Enough is enough. We're here to study and are not subject to political winds and your whims and fancies. We're human too. We need time for play, rest, family time, personal time. If you are thinking that this is just a mere grouse of a lazy and emotion-driven teenager, come over and see what we experience everyday. Come and taste the life of Form 6. Rethink your plans, Minister of Higher Education, sir. I dare say that this is a futile effort to alleviate the nation's STPM results. You want better grades in STPM, upgrade the secondary education to a higher level. If India's education system is such that 13-year-olds study Biology, Chemistry and Physics, why can't Malaysia do so too? I stand firm that the schooling hours should not be lengthened, because it's just a waste of effort, energy and resources. Just stick to 1 pm, please.

Yours truly,
Guinea Pig.

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