Posted tagged ‘Ministry of Education’

The roof collapse in SRJK (T) Serdang is another proof of Tamil schools being not part of education system

March 14, 2012

SRJK (T) Serdang a 50 year old fully aided school with 700 pupils is located near Putrajaya the administrative capital of Malaysia. PWD inspected the school in 2002 highlighting the leakage in the roof and the damaged wiring system. The school administration and PIBG sent several letters to the Selangor Education Department and Education Ministry seeking allocations for repairs. The appeal was ignored giving the standard reply of no more allocation. Then in February 2012 the ceiling in one of the classes collapsed and fortunately the fall was not sudden by which time the pupils in class were evacuated.

 

Even after the collapse, the Ministry of education couldn’t be bothered as to what happened. MIC deputy minister has to come and stand in for minister of education. Besides, there is no unit or department in ministry of education to handle the affairs of Tamil Schools. There is just one junior officer whose ranking is close to clerical level called organizer of Tamil Schools. He or she has no voice in the huge ministry of education. Tamil Schools are handled by MIC and not ministry of education. MIC which is the running dog of UMNO dare not open its mouth and ask anything that may irk UMNO. MIC leaders have no guts, wish and will to speak for Tamil Schools. The civil servants in ministry of education on the other hand are guided by National civics bureau (BTN) racial propaganda and the implementation and coordination Unit (ICU) of PMO’s bumiputra agenda. Tamil schools are outside the scope of their work. Where is the hope of improving Tamil schools? Penang and Selangor has banned BTN programs for their civil servants.

 

Each time the opposition MPs speak about Tamil schools, at least one UMNO MP will interject and question why Tamil and Chinese children want to study in Vernacular. UMNO MPs will say that we must all study under one roof to build national unity. Even after March 2008 election, UMNO backbenchers still sing the same rhyme.  Tamil Schools still exist because of the voting rights of Indians. A vote for UMNO is a vote against Tamil Schools and the Indian rights. Unfortunately vested interest of MIC leaders, blind their vision and they sacrifice the Indian rights and Tamil schools at UMNO’s altar. PM announces the building of Tamil Schools for political expediency not because the government cares about Tamil schools. Information on Tamils is given to PM by NGOs who care about Tamil language not by MIC or ministry of education.

 

PM announced that they have spent 440 million on Tamil schools between 2008 and 2012. PM must spell out how the money was spent if at all spent on Tamil schools. Why no allocation was made to the SRJK (T) Serdang? Only after the roof collapse, PM office decided to build new blocks in SRJK (T) Serdang. Who is following and implementing the announcements made by PM that 6 more new schools will be built. Definitely no one from ministry of education is listening what PM says. Eventually the building of Tamil schools will be passed to MIC who has no authority and allocation.  MIC should be honest enough to admit that Tamil schools are the unwanted orphans in ministry of education. PM office will only spend money to attract Indian votes. Unless Indians vote wisely, their fade will remain the same.

 

Senator S. Ramakrishnan

14/3/2012

 

 

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REMOVE CLASSES NEED AN URGENT OVERHAUL

February 14, 2012

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

14/2/2012

Tamil schools need to transform to remain relevant

February 13, 2012

A friend of mine who is the chairman of SRJK (T) Bukit Beruntong, Hulu Selangor visited me and we were talking about a few things and our conversation straddled into Tamil schools. He was telling me that the district education department sends officers to check on the teaching and learning in schools. The officers are all Malays and they are sent to inspect and check on the teaching and learning in Tamil schools. It is puzzling as to how these PPD officers will know the quality and effectiveness of teaching in Tamil medium schools. I came to understand that these officers will talk to the teachers and browse through the teacher’s record book and glance at the students exercise and work books and make their recommendations. Teachers too know how to comply and get good recommendations being long in their trade.

The PIBG chairman spoke to these PPD officers about instances where students work book looks good with all the pass ticks but students don’t even know how to read and write. But it fell on deaf ears. No follow up and further inspection to verify the inconsistency. Last year out of 72 students, who completed standard 6, only 25 went to form one and the rest to remove class from that school. The Tamil School students who go to remove classes are supposed to improve and strengthen their Malay language skills. But they just end up wasting their time away because the secondary teachers who are all non Tamils don’t put in the extra effort. These students mostly come from poor or illiterate homes, where they don’t have the support at home. These remove class students are potential drop outs.  What surprises me is that nobody from Tamil Schools is complaining. Even complains about this sad state of affair to the organizer/chief inspector at the state level received hostile reaction. Looks like all are blissfully happy that they can receive their pay checks at the end of the month.

Tamil School students when they enter secondary schools face cultural shock due to the new Malay environment. It takes quite while to adjust to the new surrounds. Tamil Schools are oblivious and not bothered about this dilemma of students. Only those who come from educated homes or background adjust well. NGOs and many concerned citizens are doing some remedial work on this predicament. But Tamil school administrators, ministry of education and the ‘protector” of Tamil schools MIC are quite and still have ‘nambikai’ that the UMNO government will rectify the situation.  The MIC influence and traits must be wiped out of Tamil Schools to redeem the dignity and pride of Tamil education. In the past most Tamil School heads were MIC branch chairmen. They made Tamil Schools an extension of MIC patronage.

Tamil schools need to transform from its current form and must wake up from its complacency if they really care for their student’s future. Passing rate of Tamil schools students still hovers around 45% to 50% for even urban schools in smaller towns. Imagine the results in estate schools.  There must be more English and Malay taught and students must be able to speak sufficient Malay to be able to cope in secondary schools. Tamil Schools need to inculcate soft skills, speaking proficiency in Tamil as well as Malay and English. Unfortunately those who are passionate and mean well for Tamil schools are outside the education system.

One of the biggest setbacks of Tamil school is the non involvement of parents. Tamil Schools must find ways to get parents involved. Host more gatherings with parents with light refreshments and improve communications between schools and parents. Have prizes for parents who attend the most meetings and taking active part. Do what it takes to get mom/dad active in their child’s school. Now the problem in parental involvement is that in poor schools the parents are often working every waking hour just to survive. They have no idea what is happening to the children. That makes the matter very complicated. Well the great schools are those that make the student proud and come back to serve their alma maters. Headmasters must take this into consideration and make it happen.

Senator S. Ramakrishnan

13/2/2012

MINISTRY OF FLIP FLOP

January 13, 2012

The decision to teach mathematics and science in Bahasa Malaysia (MBMMBI) continues to haunt parents and the government despite assurances by the minister of education that all parties were consulted before the decision was made. Those who supported the teaching of mathematics and science in English (PPSMI) are still not convinced that the ministry carried out a fair survey to find students and parents’ preferences of the language. There is a general feeling among parents that the ministry carried out a sort of guided survey to achieve a certain results.

The ministry of education has carried out a random survey for those enrolled in form one this year on the usage of medium of instruction for mathematics and science. The Students supporting MBMMBI is 34%, supporting PPSMI is 11% and support for both languages is 55%. With this result the ministry feels that the decision to switch to MBMMBI is the wish of the majority. Therefore the others just follow and stop questioning the majority. But the rambling and discontent continues since the majority 66% did not support MBMMBI exclusively. Today the majority of elite and middle class families are Malays whose discontent, the government will find difficult to brush aside. So, what is the way forward?

Education ministers are potential and future prime ministers. The ministry is highly politicized with hardliners and extremist dictating the term and conditions of education policies. This has lead to flip flopping on its policies for the past 30 years with no proper system in sight. Many educated and professional parents migrate to other countries because of low quality of our education system. Demand for Private schools is increasing. Thousands of students cross over to Singapore every day for schooling purpose. Tuition centres are mushrooming all over town and big business. Ministry education gets the highest budget allocation of RM29.3 billion in 2011 and RM32.6 billion in 2012. After all this expenditure, any hope?

Why are the policy makers very against the existence of English medium schools? Why not let the parents make the choice? If they can allow Chinese schools and Tamils schools to exist, why not allow English schools to co-exist with Malay schools too? Malaysia had one of the best English education systems in Asia. Frequent changes for race and religious purpose have brought irreparable damage to the education system.

Yesterday I read in the newspaper that one principal in Malacca ordered the school Buddhist society to dissolve all because it is Buddhist. Such is the level of intolerance and narrowness of our educators. Majority of our teachers cannot teach in English. You can imagine the calibre of teachers they must have recruited to teach and mould the young and tender minds. Do we have any hope? If we don’t change we are doomed.

Senator S. Ramakrishnan

12/1/2012