An Unfair Education
Pakale Kam Suara Anak Semporna (meaning “Semporna student voices”) is a series of essays written by our students in Semporna, expressing their opinions and experiences in education.
My name is Dayang from Semporna, Sabah. My father’s name is Mohammad who works as a labourer while my mother’s name is Hayati who is a housewife. I have seven siblings and I’m the eldest. I’ve been thinking about my experiences of the unfairness in education.
During the MCO
I wake up at 5 o’clock, take a bus from my kampung to school which is 4 kilometers away, go home at 12 o’clock and do homework. This was my daily routine. But during the Movement Control Order (MCO), I had to study online. Some teachers will give us quizzes to answer. With bad internet connectivity in my village, I have to go to my friend’s house for better network. I must walk there alone. Getting there is very scary because there are no houses along the road and it is quiet. But I need to face this challenge just to answer the quiz while other students can do it at home. This country is getting better with the development of hotels, luxury cafes and more, why is connectivity still so bad? The internet network needs to be improved not only in the city, but also in villages. As a student, I get stressed if I cannot participate in online classes just because of this issue.
My school has classrooms in concrete and wooden blocks. It is more comfortable studying in the concrete block classes than in the wooden block classes because wooden blocks cause distractions during class. For me, I want to sit and study at the concrete block classes so that I can focus. I think it is unfair that not all students can study in classrooms that allow them to focus. In terms of the school canteen, I’ve heard that some schools prepare different food everyday while my school doesn’t. In fact, I think the food provided at my school’s canteen is not very nutritious.
In terms of lessons, my school has an extra ‘special’ class only for students ranking in the top 50 in Form 3. This can affect other students as they have no chance to take this class for additional knowledge. Not only that, my class has one additional subject, Kemahiran Kelas Quran (KKQ). As part this subject, we will learn, understand and apply the knowledge of the Quran more in depth. Other students do not have exposure to these additional subjects as it is only offered to these ‘special’ classes.
Other than that, some teachers only focus on students with good grades. Teachers should focus on all students so that they get equal knowledge. There are also some teachers who show favouritism towards some students. For example, teachers will give more opportunities to certain students such as to be emcee for school events. Not only that, some teachers don’t care about some students who don’t attend classes or take care of students’ well-being.
In addition, I think students treat each other unfairly at school. I have experienced being looked down by other students. There was a presentation where I was asked to move to another group. I tolerated it to avoid fights or misunderstandings, but I feel stressed and cry when I am reminded about that. As a female student, sometimes when I ask questions or talk to male students, I will be ignored whereas when other female students do the same, there is no problem. I also have experienced being isolated along with another friend because we dislike gossip. Though I dislike gossip, they shouldn’t treat me like that. I have my own feelings! I have also experienced being bullied by older students. They shouldn’t do this because we’re from lower forms, as if they have power and the right to do this.
Honestly, I’m very disappointed that PT3 has been cancelled because all this while I have been studying very hard for it. However, I was given advice that “studying is not just to sit for examinations or PT3, but to claim knowledge”. I still want to sit for the exam as I had a goal to achieve 8 A’s. In my opinion, by having exams, we get to know our competencies and progress in our studies. For example, I know I’m good in Maths and weak in History. So, I keep it up for Maths while for History subject, I work hard on it. It’s unfair if Form 3 does not face the PT3 like students before this.
As a conclusion, I hope the education system can be improved and simplified, so that we all can have a good experience in school. It will have a positive impact on students like me.
Teach For Malaysia recruits, trains and supports Fellows to teach in high-need schools across the nation. Beyond the Fellowship, our Alumni continue to champion education in different ways. As of 2019, we’ve impacted over 111,000 students, working with the Ministry of Education and other partners. During the MCO period, TFM has worked to minimise disruptions in the lives of, as well as support the wellbeing and learning of our students, teachers, school leaders and parents.