Changes in our education sector are long overdue

I welcome the ongoing radical reforms in the education sector being championed by the Ministry of Education, the Commission for University Education and all education stakeholders.

This is crucial and significant as every level of education serves as a formidable foundation to the next level.

The majority of us find it easy to understand how higher education contributes to the development of primary education by fuelling and driving it as teaching staff, policy developers and implementers, as well as motivators.

But little is known of how primary education contributes to the development of higher education. It is the end products of primary education that feed higher education with the prerequisite resources - the students.

This means if primary education produces half-baked graduates, then higher education will have a difficult task shaping these products into the ones that society needs and can easily accommodate; meaning more resources will be required to achieve this.

Everybody agrees that the changes in the systems, curriculum, infrastructure, teaching, grading and research methods, as well as funding and policy development are long overdue.

For quite some time now, our education system has been notorious for producing half-baked graduates regardless of the level of education year in year out, as it is based mainly on competition as opposed to the development of knowledge and skills.

As a result, our education system has become synonymous with the massive failures and near collapse of the country.

The system and its implementers have literally killed innovation, critical thinking and creativity to the extent that we, its products, have become copy-and-paste kind of individuals.

Today, students at all levels - from basic education to PhD - are well known for outsourcing individuals to sit for their exams, do their assignments and projects as well as research projects and other academic activities.

The most unfortunate thing is that this vice is usually transferred to the work place.

It is therefore not surprising that the brilliant brains of yesteryear are simply vanishing and what remains is a bunch of quacks; half-baked professionals who cannot even defend a simple proposal that they themselves have prepared.

I was recently surprised when a colleague who has a bachelor's degree in business administration (finance option) from a reputable local university as well as a CPA Section 5 shamelessly confessed that she did not know what an SME is.

She, like many other graduates out there, is obsessed with the accumulation of 'papers' at the expense of quality and development of the requisite skills.

I also happened to have witnessed first-hand the inadequacies of the current system of education during my days in school - from primary to university.

For instance, we had teachers and lectures that hardly showed up and when they did, all they did was either scold everybody in the classroom or sit and appoint one student to teach the others. Sometimes they simply slept at their desks.

Some of them, especially in primary school, had very little understanding or knowledge of the subjects they were teaching yet they could clobber you like a snake if you failed to answer a question correctly.