National schools in Malaysia have come under severe bashings lately. Over-islamisation has been cited as the core reason for the poor patronage from non malay as well as some malay parents. In discussing the emotive subject of education, another emotive subject has been introduced: religion.
Remember missions school? Muslims and non Christians, have been sending thier children to mission school for one and only reason: quality education. They did not mind the crosses,the hymns, the bible study, the images of jesus and mary, and the many visible insignias and forms.
Religion would not be a major issue as long as universal values and principles are promoted and as long as it is non imposing. Present day parents are no different with the exception of the chauvinists and the racists. We are presented with choices and what is better in our opinion will obviously be our choice.
Politically, the honorable minister of education carries the responsibility to push the national agenda, to make national schools the schools of choice amongst malaysians. The primary competition for the hearts and minds of malaysians is the competition between National schools and chinese schools. In the affluent neighbourhood of Petaling Jaya, two schools , SRK taman Megah and SRK yuk Chai, sited next to each other, exemplify the reasons why the honorable minister is not winning.
Physically these are schools of contrast. The Chinese SChool, has a big playing field, a beautiful and big Hall, a few badminton and basketball courts, a beautiful compound an imposing building with character.
The National school SK Taman Megah occupies a standard Government Design building and has none of the above facilities. Recently reported was the opinion of the honorable prime minister that school buildings are buildings, there is no need to build schools which is architecturally pleasing and with character.
Aaah, I know, justifying the posh settings of Putra Jaya and the “abu Nawas” bridges has been diificult for you. So, out is the policy for all national schools are to have standard, design, basic facilities in order to produce “first class” minds, as you put it in your parlimentary address. THese two schools are perfect examples of the outcome of your policies. Imagine, and fast forward your thoughts on the products of the two school systems.
But honorable minister, The physical differences is so glaring that puts you and the prime minister in poor light and one that will not be able to win the hearts and minds of the populace in affluent PJ. Isn’t this an opportunity honorable minister to show your seriousness in making national school the scholl of choice? This is a real bonus, for a racially charged education and political system that you practice. SK TAman Megah has the following racial statistics; 60%chinese,30%Malay, and 10% others
I would capitalise it if I were you. I would also be worried. I think the bashings are due to the mediocre state of the education system, and the physical state make it visibly so. Over islamisation may not be the real issue. We just need quality education for our children and if we could get it from chinese schools or religous schools so be it
More on the successes of SK Taman Megah and how you should ride on success to breed succeses in my future jottings