Posts Tagged ‘Education’

Summary of PM Najib goodies during Unity Ponggal concert

February 3rd, 2013
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I watched the Unity Ponggal event (organised by MIC and an NGO) via TV. The HD version was good. The performances were OK, but the theme of event totally spoilt by the speeches, especially by MIC leaders. Disgraceful comes to mind. Saying unity but talk about politics.

Anyway, the most anticipated moment is PM Najib’s speech as he is expected to announce goodies (remember last year event at Kapar?). The list below is what he had mentioned today:

1. He will discuss with Education Minister Muhyiddin on possibility of converting those partially-aided SJKTs, who agree to be converted, into fully aided ones in stage.

2. TAFE college to be upgraded to technical university college

3. funding for pre-school education to be provided in SJKTs

4. funding to upgrade 15 crematoriums and community centres in areas where Indian community population is high.

5. to focus on reducing crime among Indian youths, increase equity to 3% and improve access to higher education.

The goodies were quite general in nature (and some like 3% equity is stale news), so expect the details to arrive…probably after GE13. I’m always wary of the (yet-t0-be-seen)  fine prints. The upgrading of TAFE is something MIC asked for, during the AGM.

Myself quite disappointed because PM (i) didn’t declare holiday for Ponggal, (ii) didn’t lift suspension on Vishvaroopam, and (iii) didn’t announce that places in matrikulasi and asasi IPTA will be open to all.

Oh yeah, he also mentioned something about “Indians, including Indian Muslims” when talking about money changers business. Struck me as odd.

Interestingly, PR also held a Ponggal function today in Klang, and yes, it was also politically-toned.

Abusing our festivals.

 

SJKT St Joseph’s plight highlighted AGAIN

January 21st, 2013
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I searched my own blog and found that SJKT St Joseph was in the limelight way back in January 2011. Its been 2 years since then, and we just at the stage of  “identified land for relocation” and “waiting for decision”. Aren’t we ashamed to say such things? By now the new building should be under construction lah!

The school boasts of high achievers who had gone on to be politicians, newscasters, businesswomen etc, but their alma mater is still like this.

This school is took the best SJKT award for best UPSR results and percentage of “cemerlang A” for 2012 (refer here). In my books this is a high performing school. Nothing much given, yet able to get some good results.

I hope we don’t read about the same problem in another 2 years time!

 

Stuffy: The store room doubles as a library but because of the lack of space, the pupils have to take their books outside to read them.

Stuffy: The store room doubles as a library but because of the lack of space, the pupils have to take their books outside to read them.

THE Tamil primary girls school in Sentul, Kuala Lumpur may be sitting on prime land in the bustling new township with modern facilities, but there is nothing modern or new about the school which still stands on wooden stilts.

Old, rickety and leaking, the 89-year-old SJK(T) St Joseph, like the proverbial grandfather’s clock, is still ticking, but barely. And parents are pleading for a new building with proper facilities for their children.

Built in 1924, the school does not have a canteen, field, library, science lab or computer room.

Termite-infested: The original facade of the 89-year-old school sits on stilts until today.
Termite-infested: The original facade of the 89-year-old school sits on stilts until today.

Its pupils sit under trees to eat their lunch and have been using the roadside for sports activities for the past nine decades.

What’s worse, matters have come to a head now because the owner of the land has told the school authorities to relocate.

“We are in limbo,” said the school’s parent-teacher association (PTA) chairman Alice Fatimah.

“The land belongs to the St Joseph’s church and they had allowed us to stay here all this time.

“Now, we have been told to move. We have been asking the government for a new site but nothing has happened,’’ said the 42-year-old.

The situation has made the school’s predicament worse as it is unable to even upgrade its faciltiesnow.

“We received some funds from the Education Ministry last year to repair the leaking roof and termite-infested building, but we do not know what to do now,” she said.

PTA deputy chairman Kobi Subramaniam said there was also talk that the school may be shut down for safety reasons.

“This has led to a drop in enrolment. We used to get 190 pupils per new intake but now, the number has dropped to 135,”’ he said.

Former student Parameswary Thanapal, 48, said she was disappointed that her daughter, Sanjena Kumari, nine, was suffering the same fate she did almost 40 years ago.

“There were no basic facilities then, no canteen, library or a proper toilet during the 1970s when I was schooling here. To see my daughter having to go through the same situation is just not right.’’

Sharing Parameswary’s sentiments is Vijaya Letchumi, 53, whose daughter had studied at SJK(T) St Joseph and now, her granddaughter is a pupil at the school.

“It breaks my heart that my daughter had to suffer such discomfort just to get an education and now, it’s my granddaughter. Things must change,’’ she said.

A check by StarMetro showed that the school is in a dilapidated state, with leaking roof and toilets.

The stilts that hold up the structure are termite-infested.

An old steel cabinet is the “Kedai Buku’’, while a storeroom has been turned into a mini library.

“As you can see, there is hardly space for the pupils to read here. They have to take the books outside and find a place to read them,’’ said Alice, adding that as there was no science lab, experiments were conducted in a classroom, posing danger to the children.

The school also does not have a computer room and the teachers staff room is cramped.

Despite these problems, school headmistress B. Valarmathi said the pupils were doing well in their examinations.

“We have produced high-achievers,” she said proudly, adding that some had even become politicians, newscasters and businesswomen.

“We have been judged as the best Tamil school in terms of academic results for several years in a row now,’’ she said.

“Imagine what these girls can achieve with better facilities.’’

The partially-aided school has five classrooms, 135 pupils and 15 teachers.

Meanwhile, Deputy Federal Terri-tories and Urban Wellbeing Minister Datuk M. Saravanan said the government had identified a three-acre land near the Batu People’s Housing Scheme (PPR) in Kuala Lumpur to relocate the school.

He said the land belonging to the Education Ministry would be ideal for the school and could also accommodate a football field..

“We are waiting for a decision and hopefully, it will be positive,” he said.

source: http://thestar.com.my/metro/story.asp?file=/2013/1/18/central/12586487&sec=central

RM50 billion suit for discrimination against Tamil Schools

January 15th, 2013
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Not sure how many readers know about this. RM50 billion suit has to be the largest so far in the country. Usually its in millions only.

RM50 billion! Imagine what can be done with such a huge amount. Probably the country will go bankrupt if lose this case. Anyway, even if they win the case, I doubt the award will reach billion ringgits.

Let’s have a look at Article 12 (1):

Without prejudice to the generality of Article 8, there shall be no discrimination against any citizen on the grounds only of religion, race, descent or place of birth –

  • in the administration of any educational institution maintained by a public authority, and, in particular, the admission of pupils or students or the payment of fees; or
  • in providing out of the funds of a public authority financial aid for the maintenance or education of pupils or students in any educational institution (whether or not maintained by a public authority and whether within or outside the Federation).

And here is the famous Article 153:

  1. It shall be the responsibility of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to safeguard the special position of the Malays and natives of any of the States of Sabah and Sarawak and the legitimate interests of other communities in accordance with the provisions of this Article.
  2. Notwithstanding anything in this Constitution, but subject to the provisions of Article 40 and of this Article, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong shall exercise his functions under this Constitution and federal law in such manner as may be necessary to safeguard the special provision of the Malays and natives of any of the States of Sabah and Sarawak and to ensure the reservation for Malays and natives of any of the States of Sabah and Sarawak of such proportion as he may deem reasonable of positions in the public service (other than the public service of a State) and of scholarships, exhibitions and other similar educational or training privileges or special facilities given or accorded by the Federal Government and, when any permit or licence for the operation of any trade or business is required by federal law, then, subject to the provisions of that law and this Article, of such permits and licences.
  3. The Yang di-Pertuan Agong may, in order to ensure in accordance with Clause (2) the reservation to Malays and natives of any of the States of Sabah and Sarawak of positions in the public service and of scholarships, exhibitions and other educational or training privileges or special facilities, give such general directions as may be required for that purpose to any Commission to which Part X applies or to any authority charged with responsibility for the grant of such scholarships, exhibitions or other educational or training privileges or special facilities; and the Commission or authority shall duly comply with the directions.
  4. In exercising his functions under this Constitution and federal law in accordance with Clauses (1) to (3) the Yang di-Pertuan Agong shall not deprive any person of any public office held by him or of the continuance of any scholarship, exhibition or other educational or training privileges or special facilities enjoyed by him.
  5. This Article does not derogate from the provisions of Article 136.
  6. Where by existing federal law a permit or licence is required for the operation of any trade or business the Yang di-Pertuan Agong may exercise his functions under that law in such manner, or give such general directions to any authority charged under that law with the grant of such permits or licences, as may be required to ensure the reservation of such proportion of such permits or licences for Malays and natives of any of the States of Sabah and Sarawak as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong may deem reasonable, and the authority shall duly comply with the directions.
  7. Nothing in this Article shall operate to deprive or authorise the deprivation of any person of any right, privilege, permit or licence accrued to or enjoyed or held by him or to authorised a refusal to renew to any person any such permit or licence or a refusal to grant to the heirs, successors or assigns of a person any permit or licence when the renewal or grant might reasonably be expected in the ordinary course of events.
  8. Notwithstanding anything in this Constitution, where by any federal law any permit or licence is required for the operation of any trade or business, that law may provide for the reservation of a proportion of such permits or licences for Malays and natives of any of the States of Sabah and Sarawak; but no such law shall for the purpose of ensuring such a reservation-
    • (a) deprive or authorise the deprivation of any person of any right, privilege, permit or licence accrued to or enjoyed or held by him;
    • (b) authorise a refusal to renew to any person any such permit or licence or a refusal to grant to the heirs, successors or assigns of any person any permit or licence when the renewal or grant might in accordance with he other provisions of the law reasonably be expected in the ordinary course of events, or prevent any person from transferring together with his business any transferable licence to operate that business; or
    • (c) where no permit or licence was previously required for the operation of the trade or business, authorise a refusal to grant a permit or licence to any person for the operation of any trade or business which immediately before the coming into force of the law he had been bona fide carrying on, or authorise a refusal subsequently to renew to any such person any permit or licence, or a refusal to grant to the heirs, successors or assigns of any such person any such permit or licence when the renewal or grant might in accordance with the other provisions of that law reasonably be expected in the ordinary course of events.
    1. (8A) Notwithstanding anything in this Constitution, where in any University, College and other educational institution providing education after Malaysian Certificate of Education or its equivalent, the number of places offered by the authority responsible for the management of the University, College or such educational institution to candidates for any course of study is less than the number of candidates qualified for such places, it shall be lawful for the Yang di-Pertuan Agong by virtue of this Article to give such directions to the authority as may be required to ensure the reservation of such proportion of such places for Malays and natives of any of the States of Sabah and Sarawak as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong may deem reasonable, and the authority shall duly comply with the directions.
  9. (9) Nothing in this Article shall empower Parliament to restrict business or trade solely for the purpose of reservations for Malays and natives of any of the States of Sabah and Sarawak.
    1. (9A) In this Article the expression “natives” in relation to the State of Sabah or Sarawak shall have the meaning assigned to it in Article 161A.
  10. The Constitution of the State of any Ruler may make provision corresponding (with the necessary modifications) to the provisions of this Article.

With my limited understanding, Article 12 seems to say that every student and school must be given the same treatment in terms of funding. So, you can’t be allocating RM5 for SK student and RM4 for tamil school student for extra co-curricular activities, for example.

I also wonder, recently Tamil schools were to be given photostat machines (as announced by MIC President) via an anonymous donor. Does it mean that things like photostat machines are not provided by Education Dept/Ministry, or do they only provide for national schools or fully-aided schools, or based on any other parameters? Does that count as discrimination? Other things like salaries are standardised, so no issue of discrimination (that’s due to Article 136).

This is going to be an interesting trial, provided it gets its place in court and not simply dismissed.

 

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his deputy Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin may soon be compelled to answer in court allegations they had discriminated against Tamil schools after the Court of Appeal today allowed a DAP lawmaker’s challenge.

Kota Alam Shah assemblyman, M. Manoharan and Indian politician P. Uthayakumar, were found by a three-man bench to have locus standi, Latin for the right to bring legal action, against Najib (picture), Muhyiddin, who is also Education Minister, and the federal government for what they said was a clear breach of constitutional rights on equality and access to education.

“The Court of Appeal allowed our appeal and said we have the locus standi… the case will go to trial,” Manoharan told The Malaysian Insider when contacted.

The High Court had last June struck out the civil suit, ruling that neither Manoharan nor Uthayakumar had a direct personal interest in the matter.

But the appeals court panel, chaired by Datuk Mohd Hishamuddin Mohd Yunus, said the duo could do so as their claims were premised on Articles 4, 8 and 12 of the Federal Constitution, which is public law and not private law.

Article 4 holds that the constitution is the supreme law while Article 8 guarantees equality in the law. Article 12, which Manoharan said was key to their suit, lays out the non-discriminatory rules with regards to access to education and its public funding.

“We want the PM to come and answer our claims.

“When the Constitution says education is equal, why is there a difference [in treatment] between Tamil schools and national schools?” Manoharan raised.

The lawmaker said he and Uthayakumar were seeking a declaration from the government that all 523 Tamil vernacular schools nationwide be fully-aided schools, and to be given financial assistance equal to that granted national schools.

Currently, only 370 Tamil schools nationwide receive any government funding, and even that is only partial, Manoharan said.

They also demand 10 acres of land be set aside for Tamil schools; a Tamil vernacular school for every district and in every state except for Perlis, Kelantan and Terengganu — the latter “because there are not many Indians there” according to Manoharan — and a Tamil educational institute, equivalent to the current junior science college set up for Malay students, built.

“And also a RM50 billion fund for 55 years of neglect of Tamil schools, to undo the injustices,” added Manoharan, who is also a lawyer.

He said the High Court has set January 29 for case management of his suit.

Despite Putrajaya’s various moves and initiatives, some Malaysians remain dissatisfied with the government’s role in helping vernacular schools.

In last year’s Budget 2012, the government gave a special supplementary allocation of RM100 million for the upkeep of vernacular schools.

source: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/najib-muhyiddin-sued-rm50b-for-discrimination-against-tamil-schools/

Tamil schools not allowed to take holiday for Ponggal???

January 9th, 2013
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Another ridiculous move by the MOE if the news below is true. Previously, Tamil schools can take special holiday for Ponggal which falls in mid January.  And surely no one in the right mind will put a day before Thaipusam as replacement class! What in the world are these guys having for food? Is this only in Kedah or nationwide directive?

THE Indian community is unhappy over the Education Ministry’s decision not to allow Tamil schools to take a day off as a special holiday for the Ponggal festival which falls on Jan 14, reported Tamil Nesan.

It quoted Sungai Petani MIC division deputy chairman T.H. Subra as saying that education officers did not understand the significance of the festival.

He was also unhappy that Jan 26 had been marked as a school day to replace additional holidays given for the Chinese New Year celebration.

“This is unsuitable as most Hindu children will be busy preparing for Thaipusam, which falls on Jan 27,” he said, adding that until last year, Tamil schools were given the flexibility to take three days off a year for religious festivals.

He urged education officers to be fair to all communities.

source: http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2013/1/9/nation/12549401&sec=nation

Level playing field needed for rewarding schools

December 28th, 2012
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Was reading The Star today and came across this letter from public. Its about the Education Ministry’s reward policy for schools that achieve excellence (for want of a better word). According to the writer, level playing field is important. I agree. Our national education policy should consider the uneven playing field especially for those sekolah bantuan modal (partially aided) ones which does not have rich folks’ or expatriates’ kids studying in them.  For these schools even getting one straight As student or 50% pass rate may be an Herculean effort.

OVER the last few years the Education Minister has been rewarding school heads and staff for achieving remarkable results in public examinations.

I fully support this as it will spur other schools to work harder to achieve better results.

One of the important components in any competition is a level playing field.

SMK Aminuddin Baki picks the best students in Kuala Lumpur. It’s a controlled school.

Under these circumstances, this school should score 100% straight A’s in PMR but unfortunately it only got 54% straight A’s.

What happen to the other 46%?

A private school in Kuala Lumpur which is not a controlled school obtained almost 80% straight A’s.

In my opinion SMK Aminuddin should be given a showcause letter and not be rewarded.

Achieving 100% pass is no big deal when you have the best in Kuala Lumpur.

Take a look at SK Methodist Sentul’s recent UPSR results. The school did not have any straight A’s students for the last few years.

This year not only did it have two straight A’s students but the school obtained 100% passes in all the subjects.

This school does not get much funding or support like SMK Aminuddin Baki simply because it’s a missionary school but yet it went on to do well and receives five awards from the Education Department.

This school deserves to be rewarded by the ministry.

I hope the ministry takes a good look at the various criteria before rewarding any school so that the rewarding system motivates and not demoralises the schools and staff.

S. ARUNANDY

Kuala Lumpur

source: http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2012/12/28/focus/12511402&sec=focus