TAMIL SCHOOLS: Focus on maintenance of estate schools

Friday, July 27, 2012

By Samuel Yesuiah, Seremban, Negri Sembilan 0 comments

THE move to relocate Tamil vernacular schools with fewer than 25 pupils to more urban areas to boost enrolment and to upgrade quality needs to be seen in the correct perspective. There are 69 Tamil schools nationwide with fewer than 25 pupils.

Most of these vernacular schools are located in the estates and plantations. There are 14 schools in estates with fewer than 10 pupils each.

These schools once enjoyed good enrolment when the estates had many local workers working in the rubber plantations. Over the years many of these workers migrated to suburban and town areas in search of better jobs.

These estates are now mostly deserted and have foreign workers — Indonesians and Bangladeshis. The vernacular Tamil schools in the estates are therefore facing student shortage.

The motion to relocate these schools in the estates that are under-enrolled should be considered carefully.

Firstly, many of these schools are in the estates and the children are living in the estates. And these schools cater to their schooling needs. The children are able to walk to school.

Relocating the schools out of the estates will create transport problems for the children. Even with the schools located in the estates and within walking distance, many estate children do not attend school regularly.

Though some of the estate schools are old and in a dilapidated condition, they are situated on a large piece of land. The estate management has given quite a lot of land for the use of the school. Many have good football fields, a large compound and a few buildings.

Instead of relocating under-enrolled estate schools to towns, it would be better to maintain these schools.

The Education Ministry and the Malaysian Indian Congress need to negotiate with the estate management to develop the infrastructure of these schools. Though these schools are under-enrolled, children should not be marginalised in the quality of education.

Read more: TAMIL SCHOOLS: Focus on maintenance of estate schools – Letters to the Editor – New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/tamil-schools-focus-on-maintenance-of-estate-schools-1.113424#ixzz21mOZDEA8