While blogwalking, I came across this post from a noted Indonesian blogger, ms. Indah Julianti. In her post she discussed the latest plan from the Education Ministry of not including English in the latest Indonesian Elementary Education Curriculum. Apparently the reasoning is so that Indonesian kiddies would have better Indonesian language skills.
Obviously this caused an uproar. Many thinks this is just the latest among the many hare-brained scheme the powers that be in Education Ministry can hatch of. Many reasoned that Indonesian kids would be left behind if they are not taught English in elementary school. “We’ll be left behind in these globalised world!!!” or so they screamed.
Drama much people?
The reason Indonesian kids are ‘left behind’ is not because they don’t know English. It is because the education system sucks. Period.
Yes, it would be better if you know English, but fostering curious, academic, scientific, and industrious mind + nurturing them and giving them due appreciation is what would elevate the kids in the global world.
We have bright minds. We have geniuses. They’re just poached to other countries because we can’t give them the environment, respect and acknowledgment they deserve. It is no secret that the best minds of Indonesia are scattered globally, their works credited to the institution that employs them rather than the country of their origin.
Putting English into the Elementary School Curriculum means jacksh*t if we can’t keep them here. Go visit Paris. Hardly anyone will speak to you in English. Oh heck just go to the neighbouring Singapore. I can hardly understand what they’re talking about with their heavy Singlish accent. Yet look where they stand globally.
It’s not that I’m against learning English. It’s just that if the goal is to make us competitive, then that’s the least of our worry. As long as we don’t change the current education system, where end-results matters more than the knowledge acquiring and understanding process, we’ll never be competitive. We’ll just end up with a bunch of youngins who has mediocre comprehension of both language, unable to think independently and creatively. We’ll continue being consumers instead of producers, totally at the mercy of others.
So yeah, I guess I’m in the tiny minority that’s not worried if English is taken out from the curriculum. I’m more concerned that Indonesian kiddies have a firm grasp of the Indonesian language. Able to string and write coherent thoughts, able to explore the language to the fullest so they are able to speak and write Indonesian, formally and informally, knows the difference between business Indonesian for work and colloquial Indonesian for friends. Can you imagine if a whole generation of Indonesian kids growing up not knowing how to do those?
And yeah, the irony is still not lost on me how I write this whole post in English…