Stop Blaming Vernacular Schools For Disunity By Norman Fernandez
"Thus calling for abolishing vernacular schools and in particular Chinese schools is premised on jealousy and hatred, unable to accept that despite so many limitations and restrictions Chinese schools can still provide quality education to both Chinese and Malays and even offer an examination certificate which fulfils admission to some of the world’s top universities. Thus, under the false excuse of national unity, every devious attempt is now made to close down vernacular education and Chinese schools" - Norman Fernandez.
I really hope the opinion leaders, the elites and the influential among Malay society as well as all other Malaysians will read and understand this article - plus also my comments.
This following article has been written by my friend Mr Norman Fernandez, a senior lawyer in Johor Bharu. (My comments are in blue - within brackets).
Stop Blaming Vernacular Schools For Disunity By Norman Fernandez
An all too familiar and recurring accusation is that vernacular schools and in particular Chinese schools are the cause of national disunity and as such vernacular schools should be abolished in favour of a single school stream.
No surprise that at the recently concluded Malay Dignity Congress, one resolution was the abolition of vernacular schools by 2026, alleging that “vernacular schools cannot unite the races for the sake of unity.”
What a load of bull-crap !
It’s well worth repeating and reminding the ignorant that national schools or sekolah kebangsaan were once schools of choice for all. Even the Chinese and in particular the middle class Chinese chose and preferred national schools over Chinese schools for their children. In fact some Chinese schools had falling enrolment and were on the verge of closing if not for Chinese students from Phuket and Medan.
Chinese student enrolment in Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan China (SJKC ) went from 92% in 2001 to 96% in 2011. Even the enrolment of Tamils students had gone from 47% to 57% during the same period. This means that today 97% of students studying in national schools are Malays.
Sadly, national schools have changed and become Malay mono-ethnic and Muslim centric schools. Those demanding the abolition of vernacular schools and closure of Chinese schools, never ever ask what really caused the exodus of Non-Malays from national schools and why Malays are abandoning national schools in favour of Chinese schools.
Also the mushrooming and growth of tahfiz schools provides further proof that the preferred choice of schools for Malays is no longer national schools.
Based on the statistics by the Education Ministry, the percentage of Non-Chinese students and in particular Bumiputera-Malay students in SJKC has reached 18% out of the total 520,000 students. In numbers, almost 90,000 non Chinese of which the overwhelming majority being Malay parents prefer and have made Chinese schools the school of choice for their children. What is certain is that year on year, the Chinese schools are going to see the growth of non-Chinese and particularly Malays in Chinese schools. There are already some Chinese schools where the the majority of the students are Malays while in some schools almost half of the students are Malays. Thus, Chinese schools have transformed and have become the real “national schools”. Those making spurious allegations against vernacular schools alleging that vernacular schools and in particular Chinese schools are the cause for the disunity and polarisation are simply making a false narrative premised on fallacious arguments.
Worse, they offer no empirical evidence to prove that national schools which have become Malay-Muslim centric play a better role in promoting national unity.
The fact that parents of 90,000 Malay students send their children to Chinese schools debunks the myth that Chinese schools are a cause for disunity.
The Swiss education system is multilingual - yet Switzerland is united
Switzerland debunks the myth that multiple education streams cause disunity. In Switzerland, education is largely decentralised where each of the 26 cantons are responsible for developing 'language-region' curricula for compulsory education.
Thus, depending on the ethnic predominance of a canton, the language of education can be in German, French, Italian and Romansch. Additionally, every student has to also study one of the other four languages taught in the schools and also another foreign language. Despite the multiple education streams, there is no issue of national disunity.
Pakistan and Arab countries prove that single language system still causes disunity
If studying in a single school system instils unity, then Pakistan and many Arab countries in the Middle-East have proven otherwise and failed miserably.
Despite a single language school system - Urdu in Pakistan and Arabic in Middle East countries, despite a common religion and common culture, school children have instead grown up hating each other and living in enmity to the extent of waging wars and killing each other. So much for the “national unity“ in Pakistan and the Arab countries.
The proponents of single education system always give the example of Singapore and claim that Singapore has just a single education stream. However, they are ignorant of the fact (or perhaps intentionally hide the fact) that even in Singapore there are exclusively Chinese schools. The Special Assistance Schools (SAP Schools) were established in 1979 to preserve the learning of Chinese language and culture. Today, there are 26 SAP schools in Singapore -15 Primary and 11 Secondary SAP schools. So, it is a fallacious argument to provide Singapore as an example.
Added to the “exclusively Chinese schools”, for Muslims students there are the Madrassahs in Singapore.
As at 2017 there are six full time Madrassahs all offering a dual education system. The blue-ribbon Madrassah Aljunied in Singapore now even offers the highly acclaimed International Baccalaureate Diploma.
For Muslims, post high school there is the Institut Pengajian Tinggi Al-Zuhir offering Diploma in Islamic studies which is recognised by 11 universities in Malaysia.
Another institute in Singapore offering the same is Muhamadiyyah Islamic College. So, with the different education streams, is unity in tatters in Singapore?
So, in Malaysia are (vernacular) schools causing disunity or perhaps it is just the politicians and political parties who are causing disunity?
The role of a school is not only to create a learning atmosphere but importantly to provide quality education. In multi-cultural and multi-religious Malaysia, schools have an added responsibility in that it ought to also be a place where students are taught to value, respect and celebrate diversity.
Students should be taught to acknowledge and respect each other’s culture, language and religion and to be imbibed with a sense that each other’s cultural, language and religious diversities are part and parcel of our national heritage and this uniqueness should be treasured and protected. Schools must inculcate multi-racialism, multi-culturalism and multi-religionism.
The exodus of Non-Malays from national schools and now Malays also abandoning national schools in droves, would not have happened had the government acknowledged the problems at the earliest, been farsighted and been quick to arrest the problem.
Sekolah Cina are now the new 'national schools'.
Why did the government wait until 96% of Non-Malays exited the national schools and more than 90,000 Malay children made Chinese schools their school of choice before waking up and realising that vernacular schools and in particular Chinese schools are now the new national schools.
The exodus of Non-Malays and now the Malays abandoning the sekolah kebangsaan is a testament of the failure of the sekolah kebangsaan to create a one school system for all and acceptable to all.
Having changed the character of the national schools it’s no use now to yearn for a return to the past or race-bait demanding for closure of vernacular schools premised on false fallacies and skewed reasonings.
In 2002, Tun Dr Mahathir gave a damning verdict of national schools when he said without mincing his words that the national schools system had been hijacked by obscurantists interested in Islamic practices that emphasise form over substance.
While Razak Baginda then the executive director of Malaysian Strategic Reserach Centre was quoted in the International Herald Tribune on June 6, 2005 as saying that religious teachers inculcate very negative views of other religions and that they always have a “them” and “us” attitude that is very destructive. For Non-Malays, what was said by them forthright is what Non-Malays lament in private.
What is required is an honest introspection to find out where did it all go wrong for national schools and why did the government allow such a situation to grow.
Thus calling for abolishing vernacular schools and in particular Chinese schools is premised on jealousy and hatred, unable to accept that despite so many limitations and restrictions Chinese schools can still provide quality education to both Chinese and Malays and even offer an examination certificate which fulfils admission to some of the world’s top universities. Thus, under the false excuse of national unity, every devious attempt is now made to close down vernacular education and Chinese schools.
However all is not lost for the national schools.
If the government can take the necessary steps to
overhaul the standard of national schoolsenhance the quality and standard of teachingensuring schools are free from zealots and racistsemploy teachers who teach and not preach and school administrators have no covert agendas but truly subscribe to multi-racialism and multi-culturalism
then national schools could revert to their old glory.
There are schools and colleges set up exclusively for a single race, religious schools for a particular religion, universities exclusive for a single race and universities with religious orientation - all of this are not objected to by anyone, especially the Non-Malays. They are part of the education system.
Likewise the vernacular schools and in particular Chinese schools are also part of Malaysia's education system. Learn to acknowledge our wonderful multiculturalism and not succumb to hatred, jealousy and weaving falsehood.
OSTB Comments : Terima kasih sdra Norman Fernandez.
Serupa juga dengan pendapat yang mengatakan bahawa segala kepincangan yang dialami usahawan Melayu boleh diatasi dengan menghapuskan "orang tengah".
"Get rid of the middlemen" will solve all the problems of the budding Malay usahawan.
Who told you this? Di mana tuan-tuan belajar bahawa 'orang tengah' atau 'middlemen' menjadi masalah pun?
Buku ekonomi yang mana satu atau Management textbook yang mana satu yang mengatakan bahawa 'middlemen' itu menjadi masalah dalam urusan ekonomi manusia?
Where did you learn this type of crap? Ataupun where did you crapheads learn this crap?
Orang yang tak tahu niaga, tak tahu ekonomi, tak tahu finance dan tak tahu apa pun tiba-tiba boleh menemui solution ajaib untuk mengatasi masalah ekonomi Melayu dan ekonomi seluruh dunia sekali - just get rid of the middlemen.
Serupa juga dengan pendapat kuda liar bahawa sekolah kebangsaan Cina dan Tamil mengakibatkan perpecahan kaum atau mengurangkan perpaduan rakyat.
Sepertimana disebut oleh Sdra Norman Fernandez apakah buktinya bahawa sekolah Cina dan sekolah Tamil menyebabkan perpecahan kaum? Atau memberi kesan negatif kepada perpaduan masyarakat?
Jika sekolah Cina menyebabkan perpecahan kaum apakah jawapan ajaib untuk menyelesaikan misteri peningkatan bilangan murid Melayu di sekolah Cina?
Sekarang ini lebih 90,000 pelajar Melayu Islam menjadi pelajar di sekolah kebangsaan jenis Cina. Oleh kerana kerajaan selalu suka menipu saya rasa angka yang sebenarnya adalah lebih daripada 90,000 pelajar Melayu di sekolah Cina.
Sekolah Cina sekarang mempunyai pelajar daripada berbilang kaum yang peratusannya jauh melebihi sekolah kebangsaan.
Juga sejak lebih daripada 20 tahun, bilangan pelajar Melayu di sekolah Cina melebihi 50,000 orang setiap tahun. Maksudnya sejak 20 tahun ini lebih daripada SATU JUTA pelajar Melayu telah graduate daripada SJKC atau sekolah jenis kebangsaan Cina.
Mereka tidak mengakibatkan sebarang perpecahan kaum atau mengancam perpaduan rakyat.
(Sebaliknya) Hakikat yang sebenar adalah seperti berikut :
Kita tidak pernah dengar sekolah Cina dan sekolah Tamil memaksa sesiapa pun anak murid makan dan minum dalam tandas atau dalam bilik air pada bulan puasa.
Kita tidak pernah dengar sekolah Cina atau Tamil memaksa sesiapa pun anak murid mendengar bacaan doa agama Hindu atau Buddha sewaktu perhimpunan pagi Isnin.
Kita tidak pernah melihat sekolah Cina atau Tamil menulis ayat-ayat berasaskan agama Hindu, Buddha atau serupanya pada dinding dan papantanda sekolah.
Kita tidak pernah mendengar kes guru sekolah Cina atau Tamil tidak menggalakan murid berbilang kaum daripada bergaul dan bercampur dalam bilik darjah, di padang bola, sewaktu acara sukan dsbnya.
Kita tidak pernah mendengar guru sekolah Cina atau Tamil melarang murid sekolah, terutama sekali murid perempuan, daripada mengambil bahagian dalam sukan, musik, bermain volleyball, berenang dsbnya atas sebab 'keagamaan'.
Jadi pandangan bahawa sekolah Cina dan sekolah Tamil mengakibatkan perpecahan kaum adalah tidak tepat dan tanpa bukti yang jelas. Sebaliknya itu hanya pandangan emosi, sentimen perkauman, prejudis dan mainan politik bankrap.
Pada zaman ini sekolah kebangsaan menghadapi masalah yang sangat besar di mana kualiti tenaga pengajar (guru sekolah), guru besar, pengetua sekolah, sistem pendidikan (terlebih fokus kepada agama), tidak cukup waktu pelajaran sains dan matematik - semuanya dhaif dan tidak mampu menghasilkan pelajar yang pintar dan berkebolehan. Inilah masalah besar sistem sekolah kebangsaan.
Dalam masa yang akan datang ini, sistem sekolah kebangsaan akan menjadi lagi mundur dan terkebelakang.
Contohnya sekolah kebangsaan tidak lagi menyertai sistem penilaian sains dan matematik seperti PISA International Scores sebab sekolah kebangsaan selalu menduduki tangga yang rendah. Posted by Syed Akbar Ali
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