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Teacher Voices Concern Over Primary School Syllabus That Is "Too Advanced" For Students

Senior Education Minister Datuk Dr Radzi Jidin said that the ministry will look into the matter.

Cover image via Mohd Fadli Salleh (Facebook) & New Straits Times

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An education activist has taken to Facebook to express his concerns about the national primary school syllabus that he and other teachers believe has been too difficult for students to grasp

Mohd Fadli Salleh, a well-known teacher on social media, vented his frustrations in a Facebook post on 20 June after seeing a teacher try to bring up the issue with the Ministry of Education's (MOE) Curriculum Development Division (BPK).

In the photo Fadli shared, when the teacher brought up how students were unable to catch up with the syllabus, the department told them that they were giving excuses and had to be more creative with their teaching styles.

Fadli also said the syllabus created are concepts that students cannot achieve. When this matter was brought up by teachers who have years of experience and know their students' level of understanding, the ministry did not accept their reasoning.

Instead, teachers were blamed for their teaching ways.

"They still won't admit they are wrong. They say everything they curate is the best, the best, the most perfect," he wrote.

He added that students, teachers, and parents at home are victims to the ministry's "stubbornness".

Despite voicing out their concerns to solve this issue, he said the higher ups will still say that they are right and teachers are wrong.

Some netizens agreed with the teacher and commented their struggles and frustrations with the syllabus

One netizen commented, "Now only you know. This has been going on for awhile. I am one of those who have spoken up about this issue. The team behind the Curriculum and Assessment Standard Document (DSKP) are always fed up with me. The most cliché sentence is when those teachers find fault with other teachers. Everything we do is not right, only they are right."

Image via Facebook

Another added that teachers are constantly being told they are "lazy" and "give a lot of excuses".

"They keep telling us that teachers must uphold our trust but in reality our voices have no value to them," the comment read.

Image via Facebook

"I thought I was just a stupid mother who didn't really understand the questions sometimes. [...] But I'm not the stupid one, it's them," one user retorted.

Image via Facebook

On the same day, Fadli held a Facebook livestream to discuss the complexity of the school syllabus further

In the Facebook livestream, he said that he believes it is the district education offices' responsibility to bring the issue to the state education department, who should then raise the matter with MOE.

According to Free Malaysia Today, Fadli said, "It's (bad) enough that the district education offices don't champion this issue (of the syllabus being too advanced)."

He once again claimed that when teachers tried to raise these concerns and defended themselves, the offices silenced them instead.

"This type of attitude is hurting us. That's the reality of what's happening to our education."

Fadli also claimed that in 2019, three to four officers were called to challenge his questioning about the suitability of the Mathematics syllabus in the new textbooks.

However, he did not ignore the possibility of being called up by MOE in regards to the matter. He added that if needed, he would defend himself in court.

"If they take any action, such as transfer me to another school, prevent me from being promoted, or sack me, I will defend myself up until the Federal Court as I consider this to be an abuse of power," he said.

While some netizens commended Fadli's bravery in speaking up, others wondered why not many teachers or people are doing the same about the "advanced" syllabus

"Hahaha. I have spoken out...What happened? Six of the highest officials from the district education office came to attack me and gave me a warning," one said.

Image via Facebook

Another netizen added, "A lot of people are afraid to speak up when they need to provide their identification card (IC) and their school's code."

Image via Facebook

Commenting on the video, Senior Education Minister Datuk Dr Radzi Jidin said that the ministry will look into the matter

According to New Straits Times, in a press conference on 22 June, Radzi said that the ministry will review the syllabus, and during the review, see whether it is "complex" or if it was something that students were unfamiliar with. Therefore, it could be seen as difficult.

"I have gone through the Standard One text book... This is not new," he said.

He also said that the syllabus is widely used in foreign countries.

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