Include Tamil schools in the mainstream education system
In Sept 2011 at the MIC AGM the party president Datuk G Palanivel made an announcement that 1000 matriculation seats will be offered to Indian students in private colleges and universities. When I raised this matter in senate the minister of higher education replied that there is no matriculation program in private colleges. My other two questions were:
1. Are this matriculation programs recognized by MQ&A; and
2. Why are these programs announced in political forums as a goody to attract votes and not provided as a right of Malaysian student
Both the questions did not get any response in the written answer sheet. The prime minister, in his speech at the Ponggal Festival celebration in Kapar, Klang on 26/2/2012, said the number of Indian students in matriculation colleges in the country would be increased from 559 currently, to 1,500 in the 2012/2013 session. MIC was elated and singing praises for the Prime minister.
From these announcements it is clear that offers to higher education centers to Indian youths are used as political bargaining chips in exchange for votes. This is in line with prime minister’s policy of ‘you help me I help you’. The more desperate the BN government is for Indian votes the more seats can be bargained. Therefore it is very important that Indian community or for that matter any minority community must stay relevant to the political development of Malaysia. Go for a political change to start new politics which is inclusive of us.
Building of Tamil schools are also announced in similar functions. There is no unit in the ministry of education that plans and implements any development or improvement for Tamil and Chinese schools. The information on the need for more new schools or relocation of existing schools is provided by NGOs who are concerned about mother tongue education. The ministry is only concerned about national type schools. Tamil schools are the unwanted orphans of ministry of education. The prime minister can announce the building of new schools but which units in the ministry of education that will ensure the schools are built. Eventually MIC and MCA will be given the responsibility to coordinate with various ministries to built or repair the schools. This is how the politically irrelevant MIC makes Tamil school subservient and docile. In the UMNO dominated and controlled ministry of education Tamil school have no representative to turn to. There will be one coordinator for Tamil schools in each state but this person is a junior ranking staff equivalent to a clerk who will subdued and will never raise any matter. This is how UMNO controls vernacular schools.
Prime Minister can make announcements in political platforms championing Tamil schools for political mileage. But nothing will be done by ministry of education. Tamil and Chinese schools survive because of the political pressure and voluntary work provided by NGOs. Tamil schools are here to stay and nobody can remove that. But Tamil schools must be more vocal, progressive and open minded to produce students who will do well in secondary schools. Therefore the greatest service Malaysian Indians can do to Tamil school is to throw out the BN government and get the new government to include Tamil schools in the mainstream education system.
Senator S. Ramakrishnan