Monday, January 21, 2008

Dumbing Down the Syllabus?

Machinist tipped me off about this in the comments to another post:
Pak Samad's reaction to the KOMSAS (Malay Lit Component) issue, yesterday, at the Kata Suara event at RA Gallery.

Don't know much about it to comment beyond translating the sources, but apparently his works are to be excluded in the revised reading list for the Malay Lit Component (KOMSAS), in favour of more popular literature i.e. trash-fict (see here and here).

The governing committee, PPK defends this decision by saying that the Laureate's works are too difficult to understand and teach in school.

Pak Samad moves to disassociate himself with KOMSAS as Sasterawan Negara, saying "the national literature is actually not respected."
Here's Pak Samad telling us in his own words. (From on Firdaus' blog.)

I stand outside the argument not being a competent reader of Malay, but it seems to me that there is a shameful dumbing down of literature involved in this move. When are Malay readers going to be exposed to the best their language has to offer?

Postscript (28/1/08) :

Blogger Nik Nazmi also speaks out against the dumbing down of the syllabus:
Saya agak terkejut dengan langkah Pusat Perkembangan Kurikulum Kementerian Pelajaran untuk menyingkirkan karya-karya Sasterawan Negara dan pemenang SEA Write Award dalam pengajaran di sekolah rendah dan menengah dengan alasan pelajar tidak memahami karya-karya tersebut.

Ini merupakan langkah paling nyata bagaimana kerajaan memperbodohkan anak-anak kita di dalam usaha menghasilkan sebanyak mungkin A!

Sistem pendidikan sesebuah negara seharusnya menekankan usaha mengangkat martabat pemikiran anak bangsa. Memang karya-karya mereka tak semudah dihadam karya Ahadiat Akashah, namun ia menggalakkan kita berfikir dan menggemblengkan daya kreativiti kita untuk memahami karya tersebut. Itu sesuatu yang amat berguna bagi para pelajar. Selain itu, ia juga menggalakkan kita menghargai khazanah bangsa kita.


dreamer idiot said...

This is utter rubbish. How could they? I have read Pak Samad's sajak and puisi, and they are wonderfully crafted, showcasing the beauty of Bahasa Melayu.

And what is this nonsense about his work being too difficult, don't they know they themselves are now worsening the poverty of the language and literature that they so loudly decry in the media, while hypocritically blaming it on all manner of other reasons like the use of other languages? If students don't read literature like his, when are they going to start thinking seriously? Removing Pak Samad's works from the syllabus only exacerbates the shallowness and narrow mindedness of the students. As Pak Samad said, he had to read serious literature like Shakespeare during his time. Reading and studying literature helps people to develop and grow mentally and emotionally. Not surprisingly, being unable to find better ways to express or channel their thoughts, ideas and emotions (eg. frustrations), we now see the rise of anti-social behaviour among some groups of young people, like mat rempits, or worse, as snatch thieves and gangsters (as reported in the papers, of how some caught in such activities are now secondary school students).

What a disgrace, these so-called guardians of the language.

Yusuf/Martin said...

It is indeed a pity that Education seems to want to kowtow to the lowest common denominator in society.

A SHAME indeed that poetry and fine literature - such as that created by A Samad Said, who is, let us not forget, the National Laureate, is edged out of the curriculum.

I too have not read Pak Samad in Malay but have collected as much translated into English as I could.

Having met with him, in Penang, he comes across as someone devoted to the love and furtherance of literature and literary education.

I urge the guardians of educational curricula to reconsider for the sake of Malaysian culture, which is constantly being threatened.