It is to in­cul­cate char­ac­ter-build­ing, val­ues in stu­dents, says Dr M

New Straits Times - - FRONT PAGE -

THERE is a need to change cer­tain as­pects of the school cur­ricu­lum so that ed­u­ca­tors can in­cul­cate char­ac­ter-build­ing mod­ules and val­ues in stu­dents at a young age.

Prime Min­is­ter Tun Dr Ma­hathir Mo­hamad said there was a pos­si­bil­ity that re­form would take place in the cur­ricu­lum used for early child­hood ed­u­ca­tion to make room for im­part­ing of val­ues, such as hard work, na­tional pride and pride in qual­ity of work.

He said this was im­por­tant as the ways that val­ues were im­parted now were dif­fer­ent com­pared with the past, as the hec­tic pace of mod­ern life did not give par­ents enough time to teach th­ese val­ues to their chil­dren.

“In the old days, of course, val­ues were im­planted in chil­dren by the par­ents.

“But nowa­days, par­ents are too busy. Mother and fa­ther are work­ing, no qual­ity time spent with their chil­dren…

“So, the im­ple­men­ta­tion of val­ues must be done at the kin­der­garten-level be­cause they are more re­cep­tive when they are young.

“If we have a good pro­gramme to in­cul­cate good val­ues in our chil­dren, they will grow up to be morally cor­rect.

“They will show re­spect to old peo­ple, to their par­ents and all that, and I think they will be­come peo­ple of good char­ac­ter who are most likely to suc­ceed,” Dr Ma­hathir said in an ex­clu­sive in­ter­view with The Third Age Me­dia As­so­ci­a­tion and Ber­nama News Chan­nel at Per­dana Lead­er­ship Foun­da­tion in Pu­tra­jaya re­cently.

He said a per­son’s val­ues de­ter­mined his or her suc­cess in life, and by ex­ten­sion, a so­ci­ety’s value sys­tem would de­ter­mine a coun­try’s suc­cess.

In cit­ing Ja­panese so­ci­ety as an ex­am­ple, Dr Ma­hathir said their hard work and abil­ity to man­u­fac­ture qual­ity goods stemmed from their great sense of na­tional pride and their sense of shame if they did some­thing bad or fared poorly in things they set out to do.

He said Ja­pan re­cov­ered very quickly af­ter World War 2 be­cause of its so­ci­ety’s val­ues.

“So, they want to avoid bring­ing shame upon them­selves, which means that when­ever they do some­thing they want their prod­ucts to be recog­nised by peo­ple as good qual­ity prod­ucts. Then they will feel proud.

“But if they pro­duce things that are of poor qual­ity, they feel ashamed of them­selves. So, th­ese are val­ues that we have to im­plant in our chil­dren at a young age. Since par­ents can­not do that any­more, we have to do this at schools.

“We are go­ing to change cer­tain parts of the cur­ricu­lum to in­clude shap­ing of char­ac­ter at a young age.”

He said im­part­ing good char­ac­ter and val­ues dur­ing the early stages of a child’s ed­u­ca­tion needed to be done as it worked hand-in-hand with the learn­ing process.

“We have to in­clude (el­e­ments on) the mould­ing of char­ac­ter.

“You see, you give knowl­edge to some­body but (if) you don’t shape his char­ac­ter to use his knowl­edge, he uses that knowl­edge for bad things.

“The knowl­edge can be used for good or bad (things).

“I al­ways com­pare (the sit­u­a­tion) with a knife... If the knife is in the hands of some­body of bad char­ac­ter, his us­age of the knife will be bad.

“But if you teach him good char­ac­ter, he will make full use of the knife to carve beau­ti­ful things and to do good things.

“So, that is what shapes a per­son.”

Dr Ma­hathir, who ad­mit­ted at be­ing con­cerned over the val­ues prac­tised by Malaysians, said a per­son could reach greater heights of suc­cess when he or she worked hard and up­holds good char­ac­ter.

“I be­lieve that peo­ple are the same, ca­pac­ity-wise they are the same, but it is the value sys­tem.

“If peo­ple are hard­work­ing, they are go­ing to suc­ceed.

“But if they are laid­back, lazy and post­pone ev­ery­thing, they are not go­ing to suc­ceed in their lives.”

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