A 23-year-old Malaysian made history on May 29 when she became the first Malaysian woman to graduate from the prestigious US Naval Academy.
Not only that, Janushaa Balakrishnan Muthiah, a senior cadet officer from the Malaysian navy, graduated with a double degree in computer engineering and electrical engineering after four years at the academy.
He got grades of A in the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia exam in 2016 before going to Universiti Pertahanan Nasional for his tertiary education.
Janushaa appears to be an up-and-coming citizen, but how far will she go in Malaysia?
Barring some racial or religious hurdle, or the unwritten quota in government departments and services that might deprive her of what she deserves, she should easily become a top officer in the Malaysian navy. We can only hope, following previous records.
This is an outstanding student that we need to keep an eye on, to see where she ends up. We hope that this talent does not disappear like many others.
Last week, the 2021 SPM results were announced by a jubilant education ministry, which said a total of 9,696 candidates had achieved A grades.
This meant that these students had achieved the highest grades in all of their subjects despite not attending real classes for almost two years. Indeed, a remarkable feat, some say.
Looking back, the number of outstanding students has been growing steadily each year. In 2018 there were 8,436 of them, then 8,876 a year later, and 9,411 in 2020. If you go back several years, the number has been steadily increasing each year.
The ministry said the results were encouraging because the candidates were the first cohort to follow Form One’s Standard Secondary School Curriculum (KSSM) in 2017.
He said these candidates had been through a challenging learning experience while at Form Four and Form Five due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
There are two sides to the pattern of a brilliant number of top scorers. One view is that the quality of Malaysian education has been improving. On the other hand, some may interpret this to mean that the exam union is lowering the cutoff mark.
Some say that the quality of students coming out of schools and colleges these days doesn’t seem to reflect the results we see on paper. Employer groups have also been questioning the level of education for some time.
Based on the annual increase in the number of outstanding students, we should have already produced thousands of these top scores. But where have they all gone?
In a recent discussion, one of my friends commented that the bright students are definitely not the ones from the political parties that run the country now. Nor are they the technocrats in charge of government agencies or departments.
teachers? Nah, there have been many complaints about the poor quality of the teachers. In addition, outstanding students do not receive scholarships to obtain degrees in education, most of them belong to the second tier of the best SPM scores.
No one knows where the brightest really ended up. I am told that the cream of the crop has been attracted by companies abroad after completing their studies there.
An outstanding Malaysian academic in the United States did so well that an engineering company took him there shortly after graduation, and he even paid the hefty fine for breaking ties with the government, amounting to about RM500,000.
Now he is a happy American citizen leading a team of inventors. There are tens of thousands of Malaysians like him out there.
Many of these top scorers are likely to remain in the country working for the private sector and stay away from government service as their talents will not be fully utilized.
They can hardly be blamed because serving the government under its current policies, unwritten or not, would mean working under incompetent managers on many levels.
They fear being blatantly passed over for promotions or rewards, especially in a racially biased civil service.
We can only hope that genuine efforts will be made by Keluarga Malaysia to ensure that talented people like Janushaa get their rightful place. We have bled enough talent to developed countries like the US, Australia, Singapore and the UK.
Source : FMT