REMOVE CLASSES NEED AN URGENT OVERHAUL
There have been calls to revamp and overhaul Remove Class for some time from various quarters but the ministry has not initiated any study on the effectiveness of this transitional classes. The ministry of education has brought about a sea change in the syllabus, pedagogy and medium of instruction in the schooling system but left out the remove classes untouched in the last 55 years. Parents, teachers and students have lot to say about the need to transform remove classes. But the ministry of education is not paying any attention to these concerns and grievances.
Students from vernacular schools who fail to obtain a minimum grade “C” for Bahasa Malaysia in their Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR), are put in remove classes for a year before moving on to Form One. Pupils in Chinese and Tamil schools take BM papers of a lower standard in their UPSR. That’s why their grades below “C” are considered not on par with the grade “E” obtained by pupils from national schools.
In SRJK(T) Bukit Beruntung, Hulu Selangor, out of 72 students who completed standard 6 last year only 25 entered Form one while rest to remove classes. That’s about 65% of standard six students entering remove classes due to poor proficiency in Bahasa Malaysia. I am surprised that this very high number of Tamil school students going to Remove Class due to poor proficiency in Bahasa Malaysia did not raise alarm bell among Tamil school teachers, Headmasters and ministry officers for the past 55 years. The dropout rate among Remove Class pupils is high. If a Chinese remove class student drops out, he has many options to come up in life. Imagine the Tamil Students who drop out of Remove classes, where can he/she go in this racially segregated country. Tamil School headmasters must take remedial actions in school so that students are proficient in Bahasa Malaysia and will enter Form one and not remove classes. Tamil Schools were the bastion of MIC from 1957. They messed up the education of Tamil school children for their political survival.
Another weakness in remove classes is the teachers do not know the students mother tongue thereby creating communication problem between teachers and students. The poor communication hinders the learning and teaching for weaker students thus making the whole transition process ineffective. This creates the frustration in students and they don’t know where to complain. From here begins truancy, no interest in studies, vandalism etc. The students will then be blamed. Parents too are unable to help. Students eventually may drop out and join thugs; drug pushers etc and ruin their life.
Remove classes lesson plans must be restructured to capture student’s interest. Students are the key stakeholders. Unfortunately they don’t have any say in this matter. Since Remove classes are for weak and slow learners, the teachers must know student’s mother tongue and be specially trained to handle weak students. The gross negligence this far on the part of ministry of education is the single most contributing factor for the ineffectiveness of remove classes in improving the proficiency of Bahasa Malaysia and high number of dropouts. Teachers and headmasters in Tamil schools are obsessed with get 7As and neglect the weaker students. Weaker students are larger in numbers and therefore there must be strong focus on this group. The community must wake up to this realty and do the needful. We must stand firm in demanding the ministry of education to transform Remove classes into effective transitional and probationary classes. The community must wake up. It’s now or never.
Senator S. Ramakrishnan