Posted tagged ‘tamil schools’

Please fulfill your promises to Tamil schools Mr prime Minister

February 22, 2013

The prime minister may sound very generous to Tamil schools in political gatherings but the reality is the ministry of education has their own national agenda to adhere to. Prime minister may announce the building of 6 Tamil schools in 2010. He also announced 100 million for Tamil Schools in 2012 and 2013 budgets. But till date no new Tamil school has been built and very little of the first 100 million from 2012 budget has trickled down. In fact the prime minister must order ministry of education in writing instead of making political statements in public gatherings. After Datuk Seri Najib becoming Prime Minister nothing has changed in Tamil schools despite the many announcements. I would like to highlight one of the forgotten promises of ministry of education to Tamil community in Bandar Salak, Sepang.     

Lothian estate and Bute estate in Sepang was acquired to build KLIA in the late 1970s. To relocate the 2 Tamil Schools from these 2 estates, 6 acres of land near Salak town in Sepang district was given to ministry of education by the estate management. Lothian estate Tamil school was closed and the school children were transferred to SRJK (T) Salak tinggi. But the SRJK (T) Bute was not closed to accommodate the children from the nearby kg. Chincang, Salak.

Many estate workers have shifted to the housing estates (Tamans) in Salak town. This town’s proximity to KLIA has led to more housing estates in Salak town. Therefore there is a sizable Indian population to support a Tamil school. The parent teachers association (PIBG) of Ladang Bute Tamil School also supported the relocating of their school to Salak town. Since 1993 the school PIBG and the local MIC have been actively canvassing for the relocation of SRJK (T) ladang Bute to the land in Salak town given by estate management in 1978. The kg Chincang parents too willing to send their children to a bigger and better town school in Slak town. But the ministry of education is dumb and deaf to these calls.

In Salak town every housing estate has a national school (sekolah kebangsaan). There are 5 national primary schools and 2 more being built in Salak town. But the request for the relocation of one Tamil school since 1993 is not possible. The local MIC leaders themselves have given up and are now supporting the Pakatan Rakyat to relocate the ladang Bute Tamil School to Salak Town. Parents and the local Indian leaders are concerned that if nothing is done then that piece of land given by Genting plantations in Salak town may be transferred to national school. 

So Datuk Seri Najib may announce anything to make Indian Malaysians feel good but the ground reality do not match his words. The officers in district education department do not follow what Najib promises to Indian community.

The Member of Parliament for Sepang Datuk Seri Ir Mohd Zin Mohamad is busy finding fault with the Selangor government and recapture Selangor for BN. Appeals to him too fell on deaf ears. If he wills, he can solve with a stroke of a pen. Unfortunately they only want Indian votes but they couldn’t be bothered about Indians thereafter.

Mr. Prime Minister we do not appreciate all the birthday greetings and well wishes without delivering what you promised. Please deliver the basic necessities such as infrastructure for Tamil schools, more quality education in Tamil schools, education opportunities to those non Malay children who excel in studies, scholarships and job opportunities. The promises of Prime Minister should have been fulfilled in 1970s and 1980s. So it is nothing new. Will UMNO agree to these offers to non Malays Mr. Prime Minister?

Set up separate department to manage vernacular schools in ministry.

January 9, 2013

Fully aided Tamil schools are appealing for funds to build infrastructure in schools. One headmaster of a fully aided Tamil school in Johore appealed to the local Indian community for funds to build school sign board, repair toilets in dilapidated conditions, repair badly damaged badminton court and build rest area on the side of the school field. Why should a fully aided Tamil school appeal for funds? The local Tamil community cannot support the building of Tamil school infrastructure as seen in past 55 years. Do fully aided national schools appeal for funds to repair toilet and build school signboards? Why the double standards? In Selangor and Penang the state government has additional allocation for Tamil Schools managed by professionals. It is not the case in Barisan managed states.

All assurances that Tamil schools will be safeguarded by Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister seem voting buying gimmicks. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, in Budget 2012 and 2013, had announced an additional allocation of RM100 million Tamil schools. But ministry of education is totally cut from Tamil schools and do not know how much to allocate funds to each school. They have to depend on MIC and NGOs to find out the needs of Tamil schools. This situation clearly calls for setting new department to coordinate the building, repairing and maintenance of Tamil schools. Even if MIC is wiped out of the political scene, the Tamil department in ministry of education will have all information on which school needs what.

The current system is all appeals for repair, maintenance and up grading of Tamil schools goes to MIC and not ministry of education. Looks like ministry of education is only for national schools? They have many departments to coordinate, plan and implement many programs and improvements for national schools. But Tamil schools and Chinese schools don’t have a single department to plan, coordinate and implement programs and improvements for them.  There is one single coordinator in the huge ministry of education to coordinate programs for 524 schools. Is it workable? Will Tamil schools improve under this sidelined and politicized education system?  Gimmicks and rhetoric cannot save Tamil schools from disrepair.

Whenever there is political pressure on Tamil School, ministry of education will call on NGOs for information and to coordinate. All these piece meal and one off actions and measures must stop. That’s why whenever Tamil schools need any infrastructure improvement they will seek the local community support and not ministry of education. The local MIC leaders will see that no educated and informed person can approach the Tamil school. If it happens they will inform the local UMNO leaders. Local MIC goons ensure that Tamil schools remain impoverished.

If we scrutinize the 15-year period covered by the 6th to 8th Malaysia Plans, we can see that Chinese primary schools received as little as 3.66% of the total government funding appropriated to primary schools even though they account for 21% of the total enrolment including 60000 non-Chinese (mainly Muslim) pupils. Meanwhile Tamil primary school enrolment was 3.51% of primary school pupils but the SRJK (Tamil) only received 1.32% of the total government allocations for primary schools. National have an overall enrolment of 74.86% but they receive 95.04% of the total primary school allocation.

Ministry of education must accord equal treatment to all schools and allocate funds on equal per student basis irrespective of national or vernacular schools. There must a department planning improvements and to uplift Tamil schools headed by Tamil educationist just like national schools. This department is needed to alleviate the low morale along with the physical facilities in the 524 Tamil schools. 

If the ministry is sincere in wanting to improve the standard of education in both national and vernacular schools, more non-Malays must be appointed to the education policy making positions. Teachers and senior officers of calibre must be recruited and appointed in teaching profession and all policy making bodies. The success of primary school education will strengthen the student’s performance in secondary and other levels. No more excuse that Indians don’t like to join civil service. It is a lame excuse which no Indian belief.

Hunger strike for Effingham Tamil School has created much public interest

May 29, 2012

Last Saturday a group of concerned individuals called reflex organized a hunger strike to pressure MIC to return the land allocated for Effingham Tamil School. This hunger strike has attracted public attention towards land stolen by MIC and created awareness of the plunders of other lands allocated to Tamil Schools but quietly alienated to MIC leaders. Today is the third day of this severe hunger strike without any kind of food and water. Seven persons started hunger strike but 2 gave up after 1 day and 5 persons continued to the third day(28/5/2012). The health of hunger strikers must be monitored closely now onwards. We want these activist to live and the battle another day and not die of hunger strike.

The housing developer who converted the former Effingham estate to housing project gave 6 acres of Tamil school land to Selangor state government. Since Pakatan Rakyat is the state government, REFLEX was able to obtain a copy of the letter dated 30th june 1999 where MIC applied to previous BN government asking for half of lot 28814 which was broken up into 2 lots. One was given to school and the other was issued to Dato Seri Samy Vellu holding as trustee for MIC.

In 2007 one member of the PIBG made a MACC report alleging the 3 acres immoral and unethical land scam by MIC. After the mass media reporting on this land grab, the land legal owner Samy Vellu transferred it to MIC.  Since then the public and PIBG have been campaigning for the return of the 3 acres land to the school. The school can have better sports facilities and extra classes with land returned. There is a government policy that if a primary school has more than 420 students, they are entitled to 5.4 acres of land.

Dato G Palanivel and Dato M saravanan has responded by saying that as far as MIC is concerned the land has been given to them. They will not return it to the school. MIC has also siphoned off pieces of lands given to other Tamil Schools. In 2006 Bukit Raja Tamil School was given 5.4 acres of land. The then Selangor state exco Dato S.Sivalingam allotted 3 acres to School and 2.4 acres to private parties. Through the intervention of Dr Xavier Jayakumar, the current Pakatan Rakyat Exco the 2.4 acres of land was retrieved and given back to school. Similarly in Razak Tamil School Shah Alam out of 4 acres given to Tamil schools, only 2 acres given to school, in 1 acres there is petrol pump on it and another 1 acre no trace of what happened to it. In Selangor we can trace back the land allotted to Tamil schools. But how many of Tamil school land grabbed by MIC in other states, we don’t know?

Since the start of hunger strike 3 days ago MIC president did not issue any statement. Why the silence Dato G. Palani? Do not hide behind UMNO and be indifferent. Indian community is watching you and MIC leaders? PKR president Datin seri wan Azizah has said that should PR go to Putrajaya, they will ensure the return of this piece of land to the school. But BN leaders have not issued any statement.

Senator S. Ramakrishnan


SRJK(T) Bangi is riddled and strangled by MIC bad hats

March 21, 2012

Last Sunday (18/3/2012) the SRJK (T) Bangi called for its AGM at 9 am. The meeting started with price giving for students who performed well in studies followed by cash handouts to 30 parents and speeches by local UMNO leader and PIBG chairman Pannirselvam who is also MIC Pelangi branch Semenyih, chairman and then followed by lunch. The meeting proper started only at 1pm which infuriated many parents, as the AGM is used for BN goodies handout and propaganda event. The AGM was also attended by other local MIC branch chairmen.

When the meeting started, the PIBG chairman spoke on general matters and later handed over to the treasurer to read PIBG treasurer report. The treasurer was one teacher Puan Indrani who was present but teacher Puan Santhi who is not PIBG committee member signed the treasury report and was reading the report. This prompted some parents who was waiting to question the PIBG over some improper financial transaction to ask why Puan Santhi who is not a PIBG member reading the financial report when the treasurer is there at the meeting. Puan shanti explained that Puan Indrani has resigned as treasurer. One parent then pointed that the internal auditor who resigned is mentioned in your report but why was Puan Indrani’s resignation not mentioned. The PIBG committee apologized for the error. Parents expressed their dissatisfaction over other financial irregularities of PIBG. Parents reminded the PIBG committee that for the past 3 years PIBG have asked for apologies, the parents have apologized but the PIBG financial report is fabricated and not transparent. Meeting continued with arguments over the financial matter and later moved on to the election of new PIBG committee members.

The incumbent chairman Pannirselvam was nominated for re-election but was challenged by another parent whose children are studying in the school. Many parents voiced their dissatisfaction over Pannirselvam because none of his children studied in SRJK (T) Bangi or any Tamil school. The election was rigged and Pannirselvam was re-elected. This led many parents to walk out and the meeting stopped. Later Pannirselvam who is a livestock dealer went to the house of Santiran, the parent who questioned Pannirselvam in the PIBG meeting, for a physical fight which ended in cuts in Santiran’s hand. Santiran made police report but nothing happen to Pannirselvam and he is still walking with heads high in Bangi. Pannirselvam and other MIC local leaders seem to be above the law. Police go lenient over any report on them.

The parents, who complained about the conduct of PIBG chairman Pannirselvam, said that they have made several reports to district education department, regarding the management of finance in PIBG, no additional support for UPSR students, no headmaster and the poor condition of learning and teaching in school but no action taken. Pannirselvam who cannot read and write has police record and a former Emergency ordinance detainee. Ever since Pannirselvam became the chairman of PIBG 3 years ago, the school’s UPSR performance deteriorate, intake dropped and the former headmaster lasted only 6 months. Pannirselvam threatens and keeps the teachers and headmaster toe to his whims and wishes. Teachers are not supervised and no concerted effort to prepare for UPSR examination. Complains to the supervisor of Tamil School in Selangor education department falls in deaf ears.

Parents now do not know where to go. The state of affair in SRJK (T) Bangi is the result of unrestrained interference of MIC local leaders. To the local MIC leaders Tamil School is their political power base to intimate and show off their influence. MIC local warlords have made Tamil School remain primitive and keep it un-conducive and dilapidated conditions for studies. They are not interested in children’s education. The parents are held at ransom and helpless. The district education department and local police are not bothered at all over the bossing around of local MIC leaders, some them are criminals. This is how UMNO want Indians to be. All the mollycoddling of Indians now by UMNO is to get Indian votes.  This will last till the 13th general election.

Senator S. Ramakrishnan


Include Tamil schools in the mainstream education system

February 28, 2012

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


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


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