Senator S. Ramakrishnan, 15/11/11
UMNO youth leader Encik Khairy jamaluddin says that children are segregated by race with a parallel schooling system and thus proposed a single school system which would provide mother tongue education. Sounds very logical and appealing that we are all Malaysians therefore our children must study in the same school to foster better relationship and understanding. The UMNO representatives think that Tamil and Chinese schools are the root cause for racial disunity in this country.
I wonder whether Khairy Jamaluddin ever wondered why vernacular schools have become very popular alternative to many Malay parents and non Malay parents of late. I was told there about 70000 Malay students in Chinese schools. Khairy Jamaluddin should meet these parents and find out why they are sending their children to vernacular schools. But these UMNO leaders who are like the frogs in the well think that their thinking is the best, just cannot understand why the non Malay parents insist on vernacular education.
The Chinese and Indian parents send their children to Tamil/ Chinese school because they are worried that the quality of teaching and learning in national schools is not comparable with that of the Tamil/Chinese schools. There are lots of elite Malay students who now study in international and private national schools. There are also Malay parents who have initiated organized campaign for the return of PPSI and bilingual school system. It shows that all is not too well in national schools. UMNO which holds the power steering of education ministry must put the national schools in order before opening their mouth. Don’t always find fault with others. Many times the faults are their own. So if the non Malay parents and some Malay parents don’t patronize national schools, it is time to introspect and find out the root cause.
The teaching and learning in Tamil and Chinese schools encourages and promotes the students to learn mathematics and science. They are given a lot of homework and school work. Practice makes perfect is the motto. The teachers in these schools are concerned about the welfare and performance of their students and the Indian and Chinese parents and also some Malay parents feel from their experience that the environment in the national school is not comparable with that of the Tamil and Chinese schools. It is just like if one product is not selling well and the customers not coming, we must re-examine and improve our product and not find fault with customers. That is the way we can succeed.
In addition, from the parent’s experience, national schools are not serious about teaching POL. Usually in national schools, POL is taught after school session or on Saturdays. This shows that the national schools are not serious about the teaching of Tamil and Chinese languages and the parents are worried that if they send their children to national schools, their mother tongue is lost. In Singapore, there is no Tamil/Chinese school. But the students in that country can speak and write their mother tongue well. This is because their national school takes this task seriously and makes the learning of vernacular language compulsory to all students in their national schools. The government has proven that it is serious about the learning of vernacular language in the national schools. Therefore, no one wants Tamil/Chinese school. But in Malaysia, the parents of Indian and Chinese students do not trust the government because for the last 50 years, they have not shown any sincere effort in teaching vernacular languages in national schools. Can the Minister of Education layout the plans to improve the teaching of vernacular languages in national school?
Moreover, the national schools have become very lslamic in character with total disregard for the feelings of non Malay children studying there. This is one of the reasons why Indian and Chinese parents refuse to send their children to study in national schools. Can the Minister of Education address this concern and fear of Malay, Chinese, and Indian parents? The following activities in national schools drive away non Malay children from national schools.
1. While reciting prays in morning assembly the Head Master/mistress should remind the non Muslim students to pray to their own God. Do not ignore them. Do unto others what you want others do to you.
2. There are lot of signboards written in Jawi surrounding the school, especially in the rural area. Does the HM expect the non Malay children to read these signboards?
3. There are a lot of prayers during school duration – when the Muslims pray, can the HMs or teachers remind the non Muslims to prayer to their own God. Do not ignore. The teachers treat them as though the non Muslim children do not exist in the school.
4. The teachers entering classes only acknowledge and greet the Muslim students and straight away start teaching without greeting the non Muslim students as though they don’t exist in the class. Teachers are gurus and therefore they must like behave like one. If this is the attitude of teachers, why blame non Muslim parents?
5. During festival or religious celebration – there are only programs for Muslims but don’t have any class or programs for non Muslims students. These non Muslim kids waste the whole day doing nothing but lazing around.
6. When quoting or showing examples, the teachers just quote from Muslim scripts or Islamic books but do not even mention about the non Muslim leaders. The contributions of non Muslim leaders in the field of politics, social, science, and so on are ignored. May be the teachers themselves don’t know. But they should be aware of this if they want the Indian and Chinese parents to send their children to national schools.
7. During the JQAf – the non Muslim students go to QI class and they are allowed to do their own work because the teachers don’t know what is the syllabus if QI.
8. Name tags of the teachers are also in Jawi. How can the non Muslim students read Jawi?
9. Canteen – there are non Muslim students who don’t eat beef and some are even vegetarian. There are no tags that indicate what meat is served. Not bothered about the sensitivity of other races. During the Hari Raya Haji festivals, cows are also slaughtered openly in schools. Speaking up against this act is sensitive.
10. The numbers of non Muslim teachers are very minimal in the national schools. Why can’t the ministry increase the non Muslim teachers in national schools to attract more non Malay students so that they can handle the QI classes, moral classes etc.
With all these practices in national schools which are totally incompatible with the expectation of non Malay and some Malay parents how do Encik Khairy jamaluddin and other proponents of national schools expect national schools to be overflowing with non Malay students. Encik Khairy jamaluddin and his supporters must put their house in order before preaching others.