On the 22nd of February 2021, I had sat for my first Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia(SPM) paper, Bahasa Melayu(BM). Sitting at my desk with my face mask intact, I remember clearly the disappointment I felt towards the dysfunctional education ministry, as I flipped through the BM paper with a heavy heart. This feeling was not born from inadequate studying, but instead, it stemmed from thinking about all of my friends, SPM 2020 candidates, across Malaysia. For days on end, I would receive messages from my fellow friends who were going through difficult times amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. It was heartbreaking reading every single one of their stories. We had urged the government to look for an alternative assessment for SPM, yet our voices were only able to fall onto deaf ears. Truly disappointing.
Now, 2 months later, I would like to ask the ministry. Where are our SPM results? Why haven’t the ministry given us any insight for when our results would be ready for collection? The ministry, has decided to proceed with SPM 2020, should have been ready to take responsibility and turn out the SPM 2020 results as soon as possible. We are closing in on the usual 3-month waiting period yet nothing is to be heard. Whilst we are still clad in uncertainty, my friends across Malaysia are continuing to suffer. When will they get their results? When can they begin to further their education? You are killing their time with uncertainty.
The day before yesterday, 20th of April 2021, I read on the news about the closure of 19 schools in Selangor alone. I understand that this is a preventative measure to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, I would like to ask the ministry if they had considered that this year, 2021, there will be another batch of candidates waiting to sit for SPM. Some of them are already anxious to go to school during this pandemic but they are still willing to do so for their SPM. Yet, one day they were headed for school, and the other, stuck at home, either doing self-studying or attending online classes. Where are we headed with this?
We have to remind ourselves that this particular intake, SPM 2021 candidates, have effectively spent their entire Form 4 at home, with the fortunate students being able to attend online classes, which were not so effective anyway, and the students who were stuck at home without an internet connection or device to attend online classes, being left out with not much progress in their education.
On the topic of devices, I would like to recall a moment from the Belanjawan 2021 announcement in November of 2020, where the government had promised to provide laptops for school students. “RM 150 Million for 150,000 students across 500 schools,”. Now as of April 2021, I do not recall any laptops being distributed for students. Another government promise- forgotten and unfulfilled.
If the Ministry of Education were to shut down schools to curb the spread of COVID-19, why hasn’t the government, at the very least, supported these students by fulfilling this promise of theirs? Many of these students are on the verge of giving up just because they were not able to be provided with proper education for the whole of 2020. Are we going to just let this continue in 2021? Where is the empathy of the government towards these students? Will the government continue to let these students down and let them continue to be left out?
Despite this pandemic, education should remain a top priority for the government. If we fail the education system, we will be failing the future of our own country. The development of a country should not be measured according to how many super-tall skyscrapers we can build if our own education system was not fixed first. It is a shame that our leaders and politicians only value things that can be bought with money, but not with wit.
The youth of our time continue to be suppressed with the delay in the Undi18 implementation by the ruling government. Excuses given by the government, “Not enough time”, they said, but is that really the case? Or are they afraid of us, the youth, and the influence that we have on the political future of the country?
They are afraid of us because we are unchartered territory to them, unpredictable to them, an unknown variable to them. They are afraid of us because we as the youth are more politically aware than the seniors of our generation. They are afraid of us, because we, the youth, are able to drive them out of power. I believe what the government truly meant by “not having enough time”, was not for the administrative work, but instead is the time required for them as politicians to survey us and figure out a way to “buy” our votes.
I believe that this suppression by the government is unjust. I, and the rest of my friends, we, the youth, will never forgive the government for robbing our rights from us. Our right to choose. To choose the best future that we believe in. And whilst we sit here restricted in our homes, the issues and problems out there are still running wild. Can we really trust a government like this? They claim we are the future generation, yet they have stolen our future from us, our human right to vote for our own future.