INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLS: Ensure divide doesn’t get wider

Monday, June 04, 2012

By K.T. Maran, Seremban, Negri Sembilan 0 comments

ACCORDING to statistics by the Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu), about 27,800 students are enrolled in 71 international schools, with Malaysian students making up 43 per cent.

The Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) seeks to establish 87 international schools in the country by 2020, with an overall enrolment of 75,000 students. This is a positive sign as well as a message for Malaysians that quality is paramount if we are to survive in this competitive global world.

We cannot run from the fact that English is the lingua franca of the world and Malaysians should not be in denial that we can survive without English, simply because the Japanese and South Koreans are able to do so.

This is a fallacy which some politicians seem to propagate to mislead Malaysians.

With the floodgates opened for Malaysians to study in international schools, children of the well-off will sign up.

Here begins the ugly, envious competition as the majority will not be able to afford to study in these schools. Pupils from poor backgrounds will be disillusioned and it will translate into another battle between the haves and have nots.

Before this happens, and there is more social and economic inequality, the government should streamline its education policies in favour of the majority.

Policies must not create further divisions and gaps between the people.

Though the policy on international schools is welcomed, the government is also responsible for bringing up national schools to be on a par with international schools.

I hope the government will not allow a situation where the majority, and those who cannot afford to go to international schools, have to contend with a lower standard of education.

Read more: INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLS: Ensure divide doesn’t get wider – Columnist – New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnist/international-schools-ensure-divide-doesn-t-get-wider-1.90666#ixzz1wsxx1F5u