Welcome address by M.Kula Segaran MP Ipoh Barat at the Parliamentary Round Table on the need to chart a blue print on the future of Tamil schools at Parliament House on 27/6/11 at 11.30am.
Hon Minister Dato Seri Mohd. Nazri, Hon Deputy Ministers Dato Sarawanan and Dato Devamany, Hon Senators, MP's distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,.
The need to chart a blue print for Tamil schools is long over due
Tamil schools has been in existence in our country for over a century.
Initially all were located in estates when Indians were employed and working as labourers. Officially in 1957 we had 888 Tamil schools but it has now dwindled to 523 schools only.
.Among the main issues we need to focus and study should be:
1) The situation of Tamil schools located on private land and the issue of partially and fully aided schools;
2) The need for new schools and expansion of schools in the urban areas;
3) Inadequate allocation of financial assistance for both students and schools;
4) The danger of closure of nearly 50% of Tamil schools and the loss of employment of nearly 4000 teachers in 5-10years from now;
5) Any teacher or administrative and support staff send to Tamil schools must be proficient in Tamil language;
6) Setting up of a steering committee to prepare a final blue print for adoption.
Partially aided schools should retain its status?
There is now a strong opinion that the community should resist the Government taking over partially aided schools to be made into fully aided ones .
Of the 523 Tamil schools only 152 are fully aided and 371 are partially aided. It must be observed in partially aided schools the community has a strong say in the running of the schools other than salaries of staff which is paid by the government. Similar system as practiced in mission schools. So should partially aided schools remain intact?
Tamil school teachers days may be numbered.
In total for the 523 schools nation wide we have a total teacher population hovering around 9000. Will this number increase or decrease in the next 5-10 years? Indication is and the reality is the number of teachers is expected to decrease.
The danger is in Tamil schools which has less than 50 students and the number of schools of this situation is 50% of the 523 schools. The problem with these schools is that they are all located in rural and estates areas. These areas were the traditional places where Indians were residing. But over 80% of Indians have moved to urban areas where there is a demand and need of these schools.
But Tamil schools are still in rural areas. A mismatched which can be easily addressed but lack of political will hampers the relocation. Unless new schools are relocated in urban areas we can soon see the numbers of Tamil teachers dropping to less then 4000. Thus a potential loss of 5000 teachers jobs! In less then 5-10years
In the last 30 years 68 Tamils schools were closed down. Mean while between 1997-2007 , 70 Chinese schools were relocated out of which 9 schools are new schools. This speaks volumes’ of the predicament of Tamil schools.
We need to act swiftly and to chart a blue print for Tamil schools to further prosper in our country