Effort in Penang to improve Tamil Schools

August 11th, 2011 by poobalan | View blog reactions Leave a reply »
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If state can find the land (either acquire or get developer/plantation company to provide free),  and then if the federal government can come up with money to build a proper school, we can solve the Tamil school problems in a faster manner. The examples below highlight the very few success cases. Most of the time, its the sad news that hits us via online and print media for example SJKT Ladang Jeram, SJKT Ladang Bukit Jalil, and SJKT Sg Salak to name a few.

In the case below, I think the school cost RM1.8 million to build.

As for the maintenance fund, RM1.75 million for 28 schools is about 60k++ per school. I think this would be insufficient. Should double it.


FOR many years, 11-year-old V. Megasri used to attend her Tamil primary school by walking to a private clubhouse in Penang and going down its steps into a dilapidated basement.

She was among scores of pupils of the SJK(T) Azad which ignominiously conducted its classes in a cramped and decrepit underground space of the Indian Association building at Jalan Bagan Jermal. Conditions were so unusual and bad that snakes were said to enter the classrooms from surrounding drains.

Starting April, the pupils and teachers of the school finally moved into a much more conducive and permanent site they could call their own. This was after the state government had allocated a plot of prime land at nearby Waterfall Road that had come under the Penang Island Municipal Council.

The upshot of it all is that some 84 pupils of Azad are now attending classes at a spanking new two-storey block with a new library and science laboratory. Enrolment is now expected to rise as the building can accommodate some 200 pupils.

Azad is not the only impoverished Tamil school to be given hope for a fresh lease of life. The state government has approved lands for SJK(T) Valdor and SJK(T) Batu Kawan, both located in ramshackle estate areas of mainland Seberang Perai, with a few more cases of schools with similar problems being looked into.

Interestingly, in the case of Batu Kawan, the new land for the school was acquired by the state. “This is the first time in the history of the country that a state government has acquired land for a Tamil school,” said Deputy Chief Minister (II) Prof Dr P. Ramasamy.

Certainly, the controversial issue of lands for Tamil schools has not been an easy one for the state administration. This is because the lands that many of the schools are using are not owned by them. In many cases, the authorities did not even know who the owners were.

Last year, the state appointed a lawyer and a senior official from the property sector into its Special Committee for Tamil Schools to conduct a study to help overcome the problem. Chaired by a respected academic from Universiti Sains Malaysia, Datuk Dr K. Anbalakan, the committee has been wading through records and collecting data to find ways to help all 28 Tamil schools in the state, for long plagued with shortcomings and problems.

One of the main moves undertaken by the state has been to set aside annual funding totalling RM1.75 million for all the Tamil schools, for repair and upgrading of their infrastructure. The allocation programme, which began in 2009 with RM1.5 million before it was raised to the current figure the following year, is also complemented for the first time with funding for two Punjabi schools in the state.

Schools that had been mired in problems for years – from shoddy toilets to poorly-stocked libraries – were suddenly provided with much needed injection of cash to overcome such deficiencies, and upgrade their facilities.

There have also been a few cases of needy Chinese and religious schools that have been similarly allocated state lands.

With such fresh lease of life, an important feature in this affair is also the cooperation of the federal government, which is responsible for building the schools on lands provided by the state.

One may remember that in April 2008, then education minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein had challenged the new Pakatan Rakyat state governments to disclose how much land they were setting aside for vernacular, mission and religious schools. Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng responded by writing to Hishammuddin that the state was ready to provide lands for the needy schools.

With new lands now being delivered, the cooperation of both federal and state parties is essential in enabling schools that have been beset with problems for years, to finally have the buildings and lands that they are only entitled to.

source: http://www.thesundaily.my/news/108052


Another source is below.

SJK (T) Azad is anticipating an influx of students after moving from a dilapidated two-room site to a brand new building.

The school, which was operating from the basement of the Indian Association building on Jalan Bagan Jermal, Penang, was moved to a 0.36ha site on nearby Waterfall Road in April.

Special Committee on Tamil Schools in Penang chairman Datuk Dr K. Anbalakan said since the opening of the school building, 10 new students had already joined the school bringing the total number of pupils to 84.

“Before this, the condition of the school was such that no parent would want to sent their students there.

“The school was very noisy and cramped but with the new building, we are expecting many parents from Teluk Bahang and Tanjung Bungah to start sending their children here,” he told reporters during a visit to the school by Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Engrecently.

Dr Anbalakan said SJK (T) Azad was currently the nearest Tamil school to Tanjung Bungah and the northern tip of the island.

“SJK (T) Ramakrishnan (on Scotland Road) is the next nearest and many parents (living in the northern part of Penang island) send their children there.

“We are expecting that with this new school building, enrolment into SJK(T) Azad will almost double to about 150 students next year,” he said, adding that a kindergarten at the school would also start next year.

Dr Anbalakan said the current capacity of the 13-room school building was 250 students, although the school could fit some 300 pupils if rooms like the resource centre were converted into classrooms.

The school building, reported to cost RM1.81mil, stands on land leased by the Penang Municipal Council (MPPP) at a nominal charge of RM120 per annum.

Lim, who was accompanied by Deputy Chief Minister II Dr P. Ramasamy, said the school was located on prime land.

“We are pleased to see that the land has been put to good use for the students. The land value estimated at RM4.8mil in 2008 and had ballooned to at least RM13mil this year.”

source: http://thestar.com.my/metro/story.asp?file=/2011/8/10/north/9260351&sec=North



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