One travesty of public education in Malaysia that truly irks me is the subject of moral education. Its inclusion in the curriculum is a horrid waste of resources and time, and all because parents have decided to abdicate their role in setting the poles of the children's moral compasses.
In the first place, why is the government the one who ought to tell our children what is right and what is wrong? Isn't this the role of the parent in the first place? Do we really want bureaucrats setting the definition of good and bad?
But even assuming that it is perfectly all right for the government to play this role, the government has been a complete failure at doing its part in actually inculcating moral values.
A true moral education subject would focus on discussions of the questions of morality and the philosophy of what is right and wrong. We would not need a syllabus to define an arbitrary number of moral values with arbitrary definitions that must be adhered to no matter what.
This subject need not even be examined; as long as the students' interest is maintained by an educator who knows how to guide and structure the discussion, the students will learn what is right and what is wrong without the incentive of a test to study for.
Obviously, this is not what is going on in our schools at all. Instead, what we have are teachers feeding students with arbitrary definitions of moral values — definitions so rigid that simply using the wrong word, even if it is a synonym of the right word, spells a loss of marks.
The result is a moral education subject that is neither moral nor education. Our students do not learn anything about morality or what is right and wrong; they are not being educated with any morals.
What we have in our schools is simply immoral education. And this immoral education should either be reformed, or better yet, abolished entirely.
What is the purpose of devoting precious hours of classroom time to a subject that is better taught by a parent than a bureaucrat or educator?
What is the purpose of diverting resources away from languages, mathematics, the sciences, history, geography, or anything else in the curriculum, so that we can waste the minds of our young on memorising meaningless words?
Our schools are filled to the brim with this subject of immoral education. We must either make this education moral, or return the role of moral educator to those best placed to play it — the parents.