Email Print 23 October 2012 | last updated at 10:58PM
By Lim Bee Hoon, Batu Pahat, Johor | firstname.lastname@example.org 0 comments
I WORKED in a secondary school for 22 years. Whenever we had an open day, Chinese parents would come to see me regarding their children’s progress, always voicing their concern that their children, who came from Chinese schools, lacked a foundation in Bahasa Malaysia and English.
As my own children were in national primary schools, I didn’t realise their problem. I even asked them why they hadn’t anticipated this problem earlier.
Only then did I know that these children from Chinese schools studied everything in Mandarin, hardly using BM and English in school, although there were tuition and extra classes.
In 1998, I was promoted to senior assistant at SJKC Pai Chee in Mersing, Johor. I had reached the peak of the non-graduate pay scale and there wasn’t any chance of an increment unless I opted for the promotion.
Reality struck when I landed in the vernacular school.
Everyone there would speak Mandarin and I was like a duck out of water.
When I reapplied to return to the secondary school, where I had been teaching English for 22 years, I was made to understand that there was no way I would be able to return as an English teacher.
From then on, I worked hard at learning Mandarin.
Fortunately, I had attended Mandarin tuition for a couple of years when I was young. I also watched Mandarin news and movies to pick up the language.
Ultimately, although I didn’t know how to write, I learnt to recognise and speak Mandarin at the vernacular school. And I am glad I persevered.
A word of advice to parents enrolling their children in vernacular schools: please make sure your children are exposed to BM and English, too.
My own children were enrolled in national primary schools.
Today, I am proud to say that they can speak BM, English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Hokkien and a smattering of other languages in their line of work.
Therefore, parents should think carefully before enrolling your children in any school for the sake of their future.
Read more: EDUCATION: Parents should choose schools wisely – Letters to the Editor – New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/education-parents-should-choose-schools-wisely-1.160644#ixzz2A5E2IKMO