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Tuesday, October 12, 2004


Who Said What

::He listed three factors preventing Malays from excelling in education. ::

  • 1. The absence of a culture which encourages a love for knowledge.

    "Many of our youth," he said,"do not like to read. When they do read, they only pay attention to what is given to them in school."

  • 2. The "couldn’t-care-less" attitude.

    "In a Chinese school, if a hall was needed, parents, teachers and students would work together to raise funds to build the hall. But this does not happen in our community."

  • 3. The unwillingness to learn English. He said many Malays seemed to have developed a phobia or "allergy" towards learning English.

    "At the recent Umno general assembly, some delegates said countries such as Italy, France, Japan, Korea and Germany were economic giants, despite the fact that many of their people did not speak English.

    "This is true but I am sorry to say this is a bad excuse. Their economies and technologies are way ahead of ours. It is not a fair comparison. Of late, even countries like France have began encouraging their people to learn English," he said.

    The above was said by a new UMNO luminary at a recent seminar entitled Melayu Dalam Bahaya which was organised by Secretariat Melayu Muda. Who is he, who said all that.

    At a recent Debat Perdana which was entitled "Perpaduan: Melentur Buluh Biarlah dari Rebung" (Unity: Let It Begins Right From The Young Age), a DAP representative said something to the effect that the Chinese community was particularly concerned about education and would want their children to be in the best school. A well known figure in the education community retorted something to the effect that all communities would want the same. Now isn't her view dissimilar to that of the abovementioned. When reporting on this debat, Bernama said that a social activist said that National Schools or Sekolah Kebangsaan is the best means to forge and enhance inter-racial unity in the country. he even suggested that incentives be offered to the Chinese and Indian communities to encourage them to send their children to National Schools.

    Among other stuff, mention was made about those Pupil Own Language [POL] classes. From personal experience these POL classes were at the best half-hearted effort and at the worst, non-existent in many schools. At the beginning of the year there maybe some enthusiasm in registering those interested, POL classes were held outside regular school hours and the teachers were either retirees or recruited from nearby schools. Often classes were cancelled with minimum or no notice given. Usually by the 2nd term, fewer pupils would turn up for these classes for reasons like irregularity of classes, disinterested teaching, difficulties of attendence by pupils and by the 3rd term, the classes would stop completely on its own.

    Recently Pak Lah was thought to have hinted in Parliament that vernacular schools won't be around in the future. This was reported by Malaysiakini under the heading :: PM sends ‘shockwaves’ on education reforms. Obviously the signs are there, vernacular schools have no future as they are being blamed as one of the many reasons for racial polarisation in this country. But will abolishing them, abolish or reduce racial polarisation? The Debat Perdana series may be a prong being used to get the idea through that only National Schools can forge unity. The idea is to have the races mixing as early as possible, someone even said as soon as they are born. But will early mixing turn into even earlier realization of the uneven or not level playing field? This may eventually lead to earlier and more severe polarisation. If Pak Lah is serious about National Schools being made the schools of choice by all Malaysian parents, he must be serious about looking into all aspects of the present situation and as often said by many, the reality of thhe present situation. Serious and careful research must be carried out to find out the actual and the perceived reasons why vernacular schools are so popular and why National Schools, not so. All communities and all interested parties in civil society should be involved in eventually coming out with a truly Malaysian School system for all. There should be no hasty measures taken.



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