Monday March 21, 2011
WE refer to “Khairy also proposed that the Integration of Students for Unity Plan ‘be revived and given a bigger allocation’ as these two concepts needed to be inculcated during one’s formative years” in Parliament (The Star, March 17).
It is timely that YB Khairy Jamaluddin brings up this subject of unity.
Of late, there has been an explosion of views about our education system, the use of the English language and keeping it together as 1Malaysia.
The Parent Action Group for Education Malaysia (PAGE) would like to ask a simple question.
How will unity be achieved if our children are subjected to either race-based or income-driven divisions at school level even before they can even read or write?
The Malay children go to national schools, the Chinese to Chinese schools, the Indians to Tamil schools, the rich to private or international schools and the rest are split up among home schools, Islamic schools and residential schools.
Right under our noses, our children are separated by colour and status.
Is it because it is easier for the political powers to conquer the rakyat under the guise that mother tongue and culture are more important than knowledge?
Once our children are boxed up at a young age, their suspicion of each other would have been inculcated.
They are then expected to integrate in secondary schools and as a last resort at national service camps. By then it is too late.
The fact that 80% of the population is educated until SPM only, which may be seen by the public as political design, is done in order to tame the masses.
Unfortunately, the long-term impact is when the uneducated masses, instead of becoming resourceful, innovative and independent, begin to depend on and burden the government for jobs, contracts, subsidies, discounts and the like.
The teaching and learning of science and mathematics in English is the force that brings all the races into the national schools.
When properly and effectively implemented, national schools will be the school of choice.
With this in place, 60% of subject hours in national schools are in Bahasa Malaysia, and everybody in national schools will have a good command of Bahasa Malaysia unlike most students from Chinese and Tamil schools who, even if they manage to pass their Bahasa Malaysia exams, fail to communicate in it.
If the government is truly concerned about unity and raising the standard of education among the young of 1Malaysia, then return the teaching of science and mathematics in English as an option in primary and secondary national schools.
It will cut through all racial divides and we will witness its natural yet positive impact of complete integration before our very eyes.
Integration and inclusiveness is crucial and vital for peaceful sustainability.
Tengku Razaleigh had this to say as the Finance Minister in 1978: “We cannot progress in a situation of polarisation and tension among communities. Peace and progress must be based on political reason, wise decisions and tolerance; let us live together in diversity, let us fight on to forge unity from this diversity,” which is taken from ‘Viewpoints’ by Tunku Abdul Rahman.
DATIN NOOR AZIMAH ABDUL RAHMAN,
Parent Action Group for Education Malaysia (PAGE).