(If we can unite all races in one school with standard and forward-thinking education system from the 1950s, then why we cannot maintain one school for all races now? Image source: The National Archives UK)
Tamil schools in Malaysia often suffer from a poor image, underfunding and poorly equipped infrastructure and despite the improvement of exam results over the years and promised assistance from the Government and political parties, there is doubt why it has not been merged into national schools
MIC may have gotten their 2nd Minister-ship back to entice Indian voters to back BN but here lies the danger of backing a race-based political party:-
Housing, jobs, education and socio-economic concerns were among the nine resolutions passed by some 4,000 branch chairman and delegates during MICs 65th general assembly.
However, they sought a fair distribution of benefits under the transformation programs, in particular ensuring that Tamil primary schools are properly equipped with pre-school facilities in line with the 87% target set by the Government for all primary schools to offer pre-school classes.
At present, only 17.5% Tamil primary schools offer pre-school classes with MIC seeking to ensure that the remaining schools are fully equipped by this year.
Does this mean MIC is going to be the sole champion of Tamil schools again?
Are they only capable of representing and fighting for the best deals for one particular race? It seems to be the case most of the time – MIC for the Indians, MCA for the Chinese and UMNO for the Malays. And at every general assembly, we will hear this year in, year out.
Surprisingly during the election period, the same blokes who pledge to fight for his race will turn around and tell you that they will do everything they can for the voters who no doubt will not be from one particular race. So, which is which now?
That is why the voters should be more vigilant and reject any race-based politics. If there is a true 1Malaysia concept out there, the last it needs is segregation of Malaysia by the colour of the skin, race, culture, religion and beliefs at primary school level (and if one goes by MIC’s latest resolution, at pre-school level).
Malaysians segregated by race when still young at primary school level will likely to face problems when they are united back during secondary school level. This is because it will take time for them to interact, understand each other and accept the differences more effectively.
Certainly, things would be different if we start off early – 6 years before, at primary school level – when the mind is still young and innocent. This is what “one school for all” strives to achieve.
Now MIC is resolute to ensure that Tamil primary schools are properly equipped with pre-school facilities in line with the 87% target set by the Government for all primary schools to offer pre-school classes.
But whilst it is good to have pre-school classes at primary level, this is the wrong way to go about it. Because this is how the old MIC would go about it. Besides, some of the existing primary schools are already in bad condition. Wonder how a pre-school class is going to improve the school as a whole?
If indeed MIC has truly changed, it should change its paradigm as well. It should do something unthinkable, something very drastic.
It should think at nation’s level – not at the community level alone. The first thing it should resolute to do and certainly it will do the community (if it still insists) a great service, in the long run, is to ABOLISH all Tamil Schools (or convert them all to national schools) and get all students to be enrolled in one school that unites all – fully subsidized, well equipped National Schools backed by highly qualified teachers.
And if MIC still intends to hold one for the community (for old time sake), it will resolute to ensure that the language Tamil should be part of the syllabus in all national schools and where one can take it as an optional exam paper (after all there is no harm having an option to learn an additional language other than English and Bahasa Malaysia – India and China will be the two biggest economy powerhouse in the near future).
Tamil primary school ends at Standard 6 – these students at the end of the day need to be integrated back into the national school environment and the unfortunate part is these students will not be integrated immediately – they will spend another year in “remove classes” before the start of a slow, painful process of being united back with fellow Malaysians.
Can we cut to the chase?