Saturday, February 20, 2021

Didik TV???


Viral Didik TV clip exposes flaws in our system

Let me start by saying that the viral video showing a Malaysian teaching the cycle of life in English over the newly launched educational Didik TV channel is no laughing matter, although that is exactly the reaction of most people.

There are some who have sympathised with the teacher involved, saying she was giving her best. Absolutely true, but we should also worry about the clip creating a negative perception about our education standards. This just should not be allowed to happen again.

Many from the Malaysian diaspora called their relatives here, asking if it was fake or doctored. The clip has obviously made its rounds globally, giving a terribly wrong impression of our educators.

If we are not careful about drawing up policies and implementing them in the right manner, today’s social media will punish you in real time. And by the time we recover from the attack, the damage is already done.

Thus, it won’t be wrong to say that a perception has already been created about the quality of our education all because of this one video. It is definitely not fair but that’s what it is when it comes to social media. You are guilty until proven innocent.

To be fair, one can actually see the amount of effort the teacher was putting in, trying very hard indeed. She was very focussed on what she wanted to do but unfortunately, the clip viralled out of focus.

Of course in the process some mistakes were made, with a couple of them standing out. Most Malaysians while being sympathetic agreed that the presentation style, too, left much to be desired.

Now, this brings me to those who planned and produced this clip. I remember seeing a broadcast journalist once doing her piece-to-camera 20 times as asked by the producer when recording a show. Even a slight error was not tolerated.

Coming back to the controversial video, when the teacher mispronounced and made grammatical errors, wouldn’t it have been normal to have a retake? Did the producer not know that it will be watched by hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of students and their parents?

By having gone ahead with the broadcast despite the flaws just points to two things – either the producer himself was inept or it was just a rushed job to meet a ridiculous deadline set by the government. Or probably both.

But what it inadvertently exposed were past claims that our system has many flaws, one of which is the selection criteria for teacher training. Many had said that the selection criteria and entry requirements were tweaked to meet certain national needs. Many slipped through the net.

We have a large number of talented teachers and retired educators out there who could have done a better job. Obviously the producers did not hold an audition or make a public call for those interested to be teachers on TV. Because if what we saw was the best they could get, we are in some serious trouble.

If there had been a proper audition and selection process for both the presenter and script, surely we could have saved this teacher from major embarrassment. More importantly, Malaysia could have saved its blushes from this episode as it has painted a completely distorted picture of our actual strength in the English language and teaching skills.

So, the relevant department at the education ministry that coordinates or gives out this contract must also be held accountable. This is a business of educating our future generation and there is no such thing as trial and error.

The ministry official assigned to overseeing this production should be more responsible and ensure quality is not compromised. Nobody knows the ministry’s budget for this but I guess our children deserve only the best. So if there is a huge allocation needed, it’s the government’s duty to get the funds.

It was heartening to note a fellow teacher who was involved in another episode defending her friend in the clip. On her Facebook account, Rachel J W Lim emphasised that they were volunteers whose main aim was to gain experience and at the same time contribute something meaningful to the country.

She said they had to write their own scripts of about 20 to 25 pages, prepare their own slides although they were not trained to do such things.

“We did this while juggling between running online lessons, preparing them, sending in daily reports, grading students’ work and keeping up with whatever other additional tasks we have to run plus meetings.

“Yes, you’re right on how the language/grammar could have been given more attention and someone could have edited it. But there was no need for harsh comments or ridicule towards this teacher.”

I am in total agreement with Lim that Malaysians should not ridicule or insult the clip or laugh at the teacher for her flaws. But I also want to point out that there were no professionals involved in the planning and writing of the clip. This is certainly not acceptable.

However, as all Malaysians will be impacted by any shortcomings in Didik TV be it directly or indirectly, we have a right to question poor performance or any delivery which is below par. And we must, as a check and balance action.


  1. FIVE Education Ministers and Deputies, one of which is MCA's Mah Hang Soon and this is all they can come up with after a year of school closure.

    How about vernacular education on TV....? UEC.....?

  2. apasal tv itik mahu cakap bahasa ayam?

  3. OK lah... Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam English lessons even worse.
    Good enough for the purpose.

    When they need to have more"polished" presentations in English , they get someone trained from Cambridge or Harvard up on the stage.
    Otherwise, OK lah