Study: Remove class should be phased out

Sunday July 1, 2012

http://thestar.com.my/education/story.asp?file=/2012/7/1/education/11540750&sec=education

TAMIL education groups are calling for the Remove Class to be phased out in stages.

A recent study showed that pupils from Tamil schools who were in Remove Class failed to master Bahasa Malaysia, said Prof Dr N. S. Rajendran, the coordinator of the Action Plan for the Future of Tamil Schools from the Prime Minister’s Department.

“Pupils in Remove Class are placed in an artificial situation where they have no opportunity to fully speak and interact in Bahasa Malaysia. They also feel segregated and discriminated against as they are categorised as under achieving pupils,” added Prof Rajendran. The study which involved 414 pupils from Tamil schools, parents, teachers and other stakeholders was carried out by the Education, Welfare and Research Foundation Malaysia.

Wee says students who do not have a strong foundation in Bahasa Malaysia will suffer if the Remove Class is abolished.

Pupils from vernacular primary schools are required to attend Remove Class for a year if they fail to secure a minimum Grade C in the Bahasa Malaysia reading comprehension and writing papers in the Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR). About 30% of pupils from vernacular schools did not achieve a minimum Grade C in both papers in the UPSR last year.

Prof Rajendran said parents and teachers were also concerned that pupils were denied the opportunity to learn core subjects such as Science and Mathematics during the year they spent in Remove Class.

He said the study recommended that an intervention programme should begin at primary school level.

“The weaker pupils can be sent for the intervention programme in Year Four,” said Prof Rajendran, adding that a report on the study had been submitted to the Education Ministry.

Other recommendations highlighted in the study report include reducing the class size and having qualified teachers to teach the subjects.

“Pupils in the Remove Class have special needs as they are required to improve their Bahasa Malaysia and English in a short period of time.

“Therefore, it is important that they are taught by teachers who are well-trained and the class should not have more than 25 pupils,” said Prof Rajendran.

Deputy Education Minister Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong said there are varying views on the relevance of Remove Class in the education system. He added that the ministry has introduced the Literacy and Numeracy Screening (Linus) programme since 2010 to help provide a strong foundation in basic literacy and numeracy skills within the first three years of primary school.

“It is not possible to ensure 100% success in the Linus programme within a short period of time. If the Remove Class is abolished, pupils who do not have a strong foundation in Bahasa Malaysia will find it very difficult to cope in secondary school,” said Dr Wee. — By KANG SOON CHEN