Be Honest With Our Leaders

When I was in secondary school, once in a while we would receive a visit from a representative of the local education ministry. We call him “nazir”. He would visit our school (and other schools) to see how we were doing. I would imagine that he would report back to someone higher up, to know the current status of our education.

I believe this is a good practice, since we need this constant revisiting of our system to see if it really does what it claims to do i.e. to educate the students. If there are shortcomings along the way, we can fix them as we go. This is better than implementing a system without any follow up.

However, that is only true if the nazir could observe the true reality of the schools he visited, and not the constructed reality showcases to him in order to impress him and the individuals he work for. I remember that whenever we would have a nazir visiting, prior to his visit we would be informed of it and all of a sudden the whole school went into this frenzy of tidying ourselves up.

One of the things that the nazir will do is he will check our practice books and see our works and progress. The thing is, we would handpicked which books to give to him. We wouldn’t choose the “last kid” in the class, get his book, and give to the nazir. Why? I would imagine the reason would be to safeguard our school’s image.

I understand the desire to save face, but isn’t that detrimental in the long run? If the nazir doesn’t see the true face of the current education system, then he will hold on to a false belief that everything is fine. It gets worse, because he will then pass on this false belief to his superiors who will then continue to believe that there is little to no problem with the education system, when in fact the reality might be very different.

Hence, the people up stairs might decide to continue with the current practice, oblivious to the fact that there are flaws in it because the people whose job are to tell them about the flaws, well, are not doing their job.

Who is the victim in the end? It is the students, because they have to live in this system and endure it, rather than enjoy it.

But we do have sessions where we listen to the complaints from the teachers, right?

Well, ask the teachers about how many of their complaints are actually heard. Among those who are heard, how many are being fixed? Is the complaint-listening session a formality stunt, to shut people up and tell them that “we are doing something about it”? Or is it sincerely an effort to do something about it?

These are questions which I don’t have the answers to. But in the meantime, I will keep an open mind and a positive thought about what is being done.

What I illustrated above is a mere example of a much deeper issue. When we are not honest with our leaders, they don’t get the necessary feedback they needed to improve their ways. When we are too busy sugarcoating the actual situation and too busy bootlicking them so that they like us, they might become complacent with themselves.

Remember, these leaders are the ones who will determine the direction of the system we all live in. So they need to know from us, with all due respect, the actual reality. If they are kept in the dark about the actual reality of the situation down here, they might be falsely celebrating the success of their plans, up there.

When in fact, there is nothing to celebrate.