On 20th November 2020, I was invited for a discussion session with the MOE. The goal of the session was to gather the perspective of private education service providers that are completely online on the online education scene in Malaysia.
The MOE is of the opinion that online education has only taken root during the MCO. Its stay is temporary and merely a passing cloud. A few providers made it clear that there were a demand for online education in Malaysian even before MCO. That some of us existed well prior to COVID-19 plus had students from around the globe and Malaysian students who have been studying with schools/tuition providers from abroad for a long time now.
None of this is news. What caught my attention was the line of questioning employed by MOE officials. When I said I was impressed that some providers were able to educate primary school children online (since it requires a different skillset to engage young children in classes especially virtual ones), the officials decided to reframe my statement as, “So you are saying that it is not possible to do online education for primary school children?”
I clarified that I am not saying that. The best person to answer that question would be the service providers who conducted classes for primary school students. I am merely saying that I have not done primary education online and don’t know how to do it still.
When another service provider said the demand for his online kindergarten picked up during MCO, the officials were quick to quip, “So most of the parents came due to COVID? Which means they would return to an offline provider once this is over?”
I think the winner question from the whole session was this, “Should we implement online education in Malaysia?”
At that point, I was reminded of what Tony Robbins frequently mentions in his interviews and seminars, “The quality of your life is a direct reflection of the quality of the questions you ask.”
I believe an apt question at that juncture would have been, “How can we implement online education in the most effective manner in Malaysia?”
The officials could have taken it further by asking a few more questions :
- What are the shortcomings to implementing nation wide online learning?
- What are the low hanging fruits that we can immediately grab in online education?
- What can be done to handle the low quality of broadband in Malaysia that disrupts online education?
Sadly, we did not venture into that direction at all. Sometimes I wonder how did we, as a nation, end up with the inability to even question correctly.
There is immense power in asking the right questions. We make sure each student in our school is coached on this. It may sound ludicrous to be teaching students how to question but I assure you the ability to ask the right questions is pivotal in a world where all answers are available at the click of a button.