Tuesday, April 7, 2009
History of school history textbook
Just happen to find two old history textbooks for lower secondary school, published in 1960. I compared it with today's history textbook, the contents of 1960 books are more comprehensive, and with global coverage.
Their chapters for Book 1 (red color) which was for Form 1 students , included the following chapters:-
1. Early Malaya
2. The Indianized kingdoms of South East Asia
3. Ancient kingdoms of the Malay Peninsular
4. Ancient India
5. Asoka and the Maurya empire
6. The age of the Imperial Guptas
7. Early China
8. Confucius, Lao-Tzu and Shin Huang Ti
9. The Han and Tang Dynasties
10. Early Greek
11. Alexander the Great
12. Ancient Rome
13. The rise and fall of Rome
14. Beginnings of the Great Religions
15. Christianity(full chapter)
16. Islam (full chapter)
Book 3 in blue color(book 2 not available) for Form 3 students, included the following chapters:
1. The age of inventions,which covered on Industrial Revolution.
2. Europe 1789-1939, which have chapters covered French Revolution, Napoleon Bonaparte, Europe after Napoleon, Emergence of modern powers(USA and Italy, Germany, Russia;world War 1,the rise of dictators(WW2)
3. The East which covered India(1600-1947); China(1644-1949); and Japan(1603-1952)
4. South East Asia, which covered chapters on Malaya(1819-1909); Malaya II(1909-1957); Burma, Ceylon, Philippines, Indonesia & Indo-China.
When I looked at the textbook used today by my daughter's school, which are standard textbook used nationwide(in the sixties, school can choose their own text books).
The current textbook for Form 3 covered only Malaysian history, and the content is much superficial. The student should be having global perspective, to avoid them become narrow minder person, knowing only their own country without awareness of other countries' history.
Furthermore the text are not neutral, biased toward the author's personal views. It seems that the author may have using the text book to brainwash the young to follow their personal views. History should be based on fact and balanced views. In a multiracial and multireligion society, authors should be neutral and take the history from the actual fact or from different prospective. It is better to have a panel to handle the publication of school textbooks,to avoid personal bias.Otherwise the young students may be mislead to believe that the history in the textbook is the true story of the past.
Otherwise it is better to sent my children to private school or home schooling.
No wonder there are many students scored A in the government examination now, compared to sixties, seventies ; where A score are reserved for the best grade at least 80% and above. At that time few scored A. It was real "A" student ! Now the band for A grade is wide. You can find full A students everywhere.
(Note: This is the personal view of an ordinary concerned parent, not an education expert)