Professor Faridah Abdul Manaf

STAYING ALIVE: CAN WE SAVE LITERATURE IN MALAYSIA?

Abstract

Literature as  subject both at school and university is slowly losing its importance. In some universities, the number of students enrolled as a literature major has dropped so much that there are universities which stop offering it as one of their programmes. At school, only certain  number of schools are courageous enough to offer it as an exam subject.

Can we save literature in Malaysia? By that, I also mean literature in other languages: Malay, Tamil and Mahua. 

This paper wishes to explore why students are not attracted to study literature (with special reference to English literature or even literature in English). It also wishes to offer some recommendations how we can save the subject and have fun for both teachers teaching it and students learning it.

The paper also wishes to highlight how the cause of students disinterest in literature could be due to them having to choose between reading printed texts or watching action-oriented materials via their digital tools and gadgets. 

The question the paper wishes to pose is this: do we need to compete with technology or do we use technology to help us communicate better? How do we find the balance to ensure humanities and technology do not kill each other and help improve the world we live in?