‘What is the point of obtaining straight A’s in SPM and PT3 if you can’t even flush the toilet after using it?’
‘Why bother enrolling into higher education if you can’t even clean up after yourself after eating at fast food restaurants?’
‘He is uneducated, that is why he acts impolitely’.
‘What is the use of being highly educated if you can’t even be polite?’
Statements such as the above imply an ideal proposed by the majority of the public. Most people expect that if we are highly educated, our attitudes and mannerisms should reflect our education level. The higher up we are in the education ladder, the more we are expected to be polite, considerate, respectful, and any other ideal values advocated by the majority of the people in a society. The question here is, is there a relationship between our education levels and having the awareness to practice those ideal values & attitudes?
What has our education system provided to produce such ideal attitudes and mannerisms within our citizens? At the primary and secondary level of education, at least in Malaysia, none of these ideal attitudes and mannerisms are being taught in the school syllabus with perhaps the exception of ‘Pendidikan Moral’. But even if it does, it will be taught in the manner of ‘touch and go’ without really inculcating such ideal attitudes with the right pedagogical approach into the heart and mind of the students.
It’s not wrong to have these ideals and expectations regardless of one’s education level, but our education system does not implement the tools and approach to impart these ideals into its citizens in order to make the ideals become viable.
However, hope is not lost. When certain aspects of formal education have failed, there is always informal education. What can be done is that (and personally I’ve already seen it being done) we can promote these values through social media (below is an example done by ‘mgagmy’ on their Instagram account). Since it is the type of medium that reaches individuals the fastest, it is a useful tool to educate the public and raise awareness. Other than that, not to forget, the conventional way to informally educate individuals is through constant verbal reminders. This can be done not only within family institutions but also within a school setting. Teachers could give the students constant reminders to the students regarding these ideals with hopes that the students would apply them in their lives. Although this is done in a formal setting, the approach is informal as it not through any particular school subjects for the attitudes and values to be taught. It’s just been told casually from a teacher to his/her students. Maybe this is why some people of lower education level act more politely than those who are of higher education level. It is through informal means that they’ve been taught certain values, and not through formal approaches.
Does having these ideal values and attitudes have anything to do with our education levels? Education is just a tool for these values to be imparted but it does not guarantee an education system to implement it. Therefore, an individual who has high level of education isn’t a guarantee that the person would have inculcated these values within him/her since they weren’t taught directly and explicitly through formal means. In a society where such ideal values and attitudes aren’t being taught formally, it is illogical to assume that an individual’s education level would result in such ideals to be acted out and practiced.
p/s: Malaysia’s Education System is currently being renewed by implementing the value-centric approach (starting from 2019). My arguments above are based on the previous system. Let’s see how the Malaysian Education System will fare with its new implementation.