Vernacular schools won’t be abolished

February 5th, 2011 by poobalan | View blog reactions Leave a reply »
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This news came out about two weeks back. Obviously its reassuring to hear that vernacular schools won’t be abolished. This is provided for in the constitution (but yeah, I’m sure we know that how things are implemented is a different story altogether).

While the PM compares with neighboring countries, I think there’s a bit of difference. Indonesia did not focus on diversity or mutli-culturalism under the previous dictatorship. It was single language, single name (luckily not single religion). Their aim was different from the beginning. But things change as the world opens up. As for Singapore, I think their schools provides language classes and are secular in nature. No religions/racial discrimination (be it real or perceived). But here, we hear horror stories ranging from bringing food to racial remarks.

Secondly, the article doesn’t mention about steps taken to promote and encourage the growth of vernacular schools. That’s why we don’t see new schools, only those being relocated or rebuilt. The national education policy favors national schools, so the vernacular schools only receive minimal support to survive (can check the amount of fund allocated for each type of schools in the Malaysian Plans). Yeah, we should be grateful for that, I suppose.

I think vernacular schools (especially Tamil schools) will gradually be reduced due to non-action – no allocation of land, no political will to relocate, and no relocation fund. Aided by “brilliant” ideas to merge schools, we can expect number of schools to reduce.

The alternative is to set up language classes in national schools and to guarantee a non-racial/religious environment in school, which is impossible. You’ll need 45% of the teachers to be non-Malays, plus have more physical rooms to run a variety of religion classes. Not in the near of far future as far as things going now.

That’s why I think there’s no need to abolish vernacular schools, because in the long run, they will die a natural death due to various reasons.

The Government will not abolish the national-type school system and will continue to assist and recognise them as part of the national education system, said Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

The Prime Minister said Malaysia was the only country in South-East Asia which still defended the vernacular school system through the Chinese and Tamil national-type schools.

“If we look at our neighbours, there are no more vernacular schools although they existed at one time,” he said when declaring open the new RM9.3mil building of SJK Chung Hua Sungai Tapang Hilir here yesterday.

He said to ensure a fair policy for these schools, the Government allocated RM145mil in the country’s economic stimulus package for the development of Chinese national-type schools nationwide.

He added that the vernacular school system was recognised not only by the Chinese and Indian communities but also the bumiputras due to the advantage it provided in the learning of Mandarin and Tamil.

He said that since the Education Act was formulated, Chinese national-type schools have attracted 55,975 bumiputra students out of 612,000 students overall.

“The system provides an opportunity for students to learn three major languages – the national language, English and Mandarin,” he said. – Bernama

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