Education Is a Cause and Solution to Social Inequality in Itself

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What a doctor without a tool? What a scientist without a laboratory? What an astronaut without a spaceship? That is an analogy of, what a student without a good education.

Every kid is born with their own uniqueness and strength. Every child has their unique character strengths and abilities which allow him or her to express their individuality in their own way. It is what makes them 'special'. As parents, we begin to notice differences in our children since they were quite young. In life, they became a musician, a mountain climber, or an architect. And with proper education, they can thrive beautifully. The idea of intervening in the student culture and helping kids to develop the culture they want in their school is because they already have the right values. What they don’t have is the social opportunities to live out those well.

However, what the real problem is, they didn’t get to choose their parent, or which neighborhood to live, or which country they want to be born. Some of them might be lucky to have a rich parent, who can provide them with a various kind of educations, apart from formal education in a wealthy suburban private school, such as martial art and ballet class with a fully equipped athletic facilities, or a library with good vast reading materials, or fully resourced biology or chemistry lab.

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How about the others? Meanwhile, in inner-city lacked-of-wealth-schools, other kids might not even have a music class. They just get to read from second-hand books, and sometimes from a donation nationwide. Sometimes the syllabus is two to three years behind the current syllabus. They only get the second-grade facilities for their education, and sometimes they didn’t have anything to eat and have to work to earn extra money and leave school. These are the same kids who should have the same good future ahead.

Why is only high-quality education is only exclusive to the rich? The number one situation that Malaysia needs to reform; how these rich kids perform well while those poor kids don’t. How to get an equal education and a solution to inequality when the system itself isn’t equal. The rich nowadays are not sending their kids to government schools because they want to provide more for their kids, what a government school couldn’t give, which is quality. And the poor don’t have other choices but to send their kids to whichever schools that are affordable.

Number two is the separation according to the races; Malays, Chinese, and Indians. Everyone thought that separate means okay, but it is not okay because sometimes when things are separated, they tend to be unequal. Although the government says that the system is equally right, we can hardly see a Malay student in Chinese or Indians schools, and vice versa. So there are small chances the integration of culture and knowledge is done and being transferred from one to another.

The stigma has thickened over time, and the government must do something to heal this problem. A national curriculum must be seen strong and reliable to the people, so that there is no comparison between schools, in sub-urban on inner-city, or in races-based schools. All products from all schools must share the same mission and vision, and fully equipped classes with high facilities must be prepared for all schools so that everyone can run the same match and in the same field.

The quality of education is directly proportionate to the kids’ future. It reflects their access to the college, their access to job and income, and their access to the future. If we really want to solve the problem, education must be fair to all, regardless of their skin color, or their neighborhood, or their wealth. Education may be the key to solving broader Malaysia inequality, but we have to solve educational inequality first. All those things are mitigated by equalizing the skills that education produces, not only the academic skills, but also the minds and the consciousness so that knowing someone’s race, skin color, or neighborhood shouldn’t have any significant connection to their test score or occupation. It is time to focus more on education itself rather than the outcomes.

There is not just one challenge when we talk about achievement gaps between suburban schools and inner-city schools. The work that needs to happen is to figure out how in each of these contexts we can make the changes necessary to produce the outcome that we all aspire. If we can work toward that, we can have much less poverty in the next generations and society with regard to race that we want.

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