YOURSAY | A more pressing matter would be making the UEC proposal into black and white.
Hplooi: I am really puzzled with the white-to-black shoes decree. In my mind, white shoes are the iconic image of the schoolboy and schoolgirl.
One of the first lessons of school, experienced by every school kid, is the "responsibility" of taking care of one’s shoes, or the whiteness of them.
The morning school assembly often includes an inspection of shoes. For Education Minister Maszlee Malik to take away such an iconic life experience is unimaginable.
Black shoes only came later, when and if you joined the army or uniform forces, in which case the shoes are again a symbol of discipline – the black shoes must be polished and kept shiny at all times.
But for schoolkids up to the primary level, learning to keep their shoes white and in spic-and-span order is a simple iconic-constant of school life. What is the minister thinking?
Jasmine: I agree with Malaysiakini columnist Fa Abdul’s point about responsibility and discipline. Taking ownership must start with everything, however small, and from a very young age.
Wearing uniforms and white shoes are the means of trying to instil important values amongst school children. Changing to black shoes might not serve this purpose, especially for younger students.
Also, I can’t help wondering how this decision is going to help improve the quality of our education system.
Rupert16: School shoes are now mostly being washed by the parents or the maids. Hence the parents' request to change to black shoes.
But I think the education minister has missed the point. The school shoes should remain white, and it is for the parents and the teachers to use the “white shoe” situation to teach the children about responsibility and accountability.
Perseides: There are better ways to teach one’s kids about responsibilities than keeping their shoes white.
The change to black shoes is what was requested by a majority of the parents and reduces the need to keep the shoes clean. It is a good policy.
Education policies need proper long-term planning and research. I would be much worried if Maszlee announces huge changes to the education system soon.
Drngsc: Maszlee, you have good reasons to ask that black shoes be used. However, what is the problem if students wish to wear white shoes as they already have white shoes to begin with?
And some may also be hand-me-downs. Poor families cannot afford to change shoes every year.
Isn’t it reasonable to instruct that either white or black shoes be used in schools so that the poor can still go to school with whatever shoes they have?
Fairplayer: I agree with Fa here. Changing the colour of school shoes does not serve to improve our standard of education. To me, it is not even a priority. Besides, white shoes are cheaper and easier to find.
I hope Maszlee isn't succumbing to the voice of the elite few within his circle. I would rank the academic curriculum rolled out for schools as the top priority.
Next, I would be concerned about the standard and quality of teachers delivering their lessons in class, as well as their performance in handling extra-curricular activities (ECA) - how equipped and responsible they are, especially whether they see teaching as a calling, or just purely as a job or career.
Dedication, love, responsibility, charity, and effectiveness in carrying out their service and discharging their duties must be the distinct trademark of caring and qualified teachers.
Teachers must be well-informed and very knowledgeable in their own fields of academics and ECA. They must also possess good public relations skills.
Lastly, the destructive disease of racism, bigotry and favouritism must be banished from our schools and colleges.
Zzz: By this time, our good education minister would have gotten the message. But his job is difficult.
He has to please the parents, worry about their children's education, worry about the Chinese Malaysian lobby clamouring for recognition of the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC), worry about the enraged Malays, worry about the status of Bahasa Malaysia (not Bahasa Melayu, please), and worry about the English-speaking Malaysians wanting our fellow Malaysians to speak better English so that we can trade and communicate with the rest of the world.
So you see, our education minister is a busy man. But please allow the issue of shoe colour to be decided later. Just ask the ‘makcik’ at the school entrance. Don't sweat the small stuff.
Looking On: It's time for the education minister to come down from his ivory tower.
Please leave the highbrow stuff of tertiary education and the trivialities of clothing, and come down to the primary and secondary school levels, which are the fundamentals in the education of our young minds.
Over the years, the curriculum and syllabus of schools have been messed up really badly by unqualified and undiscerning political personnel, and gravitate towards the narrowing of minds and augmenting the drudgery of learning.
History in particular needs a total overhaul. It has been politicised and constricted. We have kids who do not know about the two World Wars and the great civilisations. Geography has been relegated to dusty shelves; kids are oblivious to causes of haze or tsunamis.
I suggest you bring in old timer teachers to your committee to advise and bring back meaningful and mind-liberating education. There is a whole lot of crucial things to amend in our schools, Mr Minister.
CHKS: Turning white shoes into black is only a trivial matter; surely the minister of education can do better than that; a more pressing matter would be making the UEC proposal into black and white.
Truthseeker: Is this the first "major" change in our education system since Independence?
The above is a selection of comments posted by Malaysiakini subscribers. Only paying subscribers can post comments. Over the past one year, Malaysiakinians have posted over 100,000 comments. Join the Malaysiakini community and help set the news agenda. Subscribe now.
These comments are compiled to reflect the views of Malaysiakini subscribers on matters of public interest. Malaysiakini does not intend to represent these views as fact.