At the forum on Tamil school and challenges held at DAP National Hq , Kuala Lumpur.. 3 prominent personalities spoke. They were:-
1) Main Streaming of Tamil Education S.Pasupathy -by President Tamil Foundation Malaysia.
2) Education Act 1996 - Contradiction n Confusion.- by Dr. Anbalagan USM Penang
3) Our communities role and responsibility in the future of our Tamil Schools.-by Dato Hj. Thasleem
Moderator- Sdr.A. Sivanesan
I was asked to start the forum with a welcome address. My main speech was as follows:
Government has the constitutional responsibility to accord fair treatment to Tamil schools
Today, there are 523 Tamil schools in Malaysia and in 1957 we had 888. Of the 523 Tamil schools only 152 is fully aided and 371 is partially aided Although the number of Tamil schools has dwindled but the number of students going to Tamil have been increasing over the years. The interest to learn and master Tamil language has grown of late.
Mother tongue education is picking up. Many children are not able to get places in Tamil schools in urban areas and are forced to go to National schools. We use to have less than 50,000 students in 1957 but now it has surpassed 100,000 in Tamil schools.
In fact most urban schools are filled to the brink. Almost 70% of the Tamil schools in the country are in the rural area where the Indians were living. But with trans migration to urban area we have over 70% of Indians living in urban areas. As most Tamil schools are found in rural areas there is an urgent need to relocate these schools to urban areas.
In Kajang there is only 1 school for about 1800 students in about ½ acre and whereas in Bandar Mahkota Cheras there are 3 parcels of land measuring about 5 acres land kept vacant and belongs to the Education Ministry. Why can’t this land be given to Tamil schools?
It’s the duty and obligation of any Government to provide its best to all communities irrespective of race.
But the figures revealed by the Ministry of Education are far from it. The figures are as follows:-
In 1949 -
1) English school - 187.88 dollars per student per month
2) Malay school – 67.88 dollars per student per month
3) Tamil school--- 55.84 dollars per student per month
4) Chinese schools – 8.72 dollars per student per month
Before Independence, the colonial policy was to provide for the best to English schools but discriminated heavily against the vernacular schools. The discrimination was most severe against the Chinese as they were perceived to be supporters of the communist movement. Thus by denying financial support to Chinese schools it was thought they would crumble.
How wrong! Today they are the best run and managed schools in the country.
Let’s now compare with the monetary allocation to our children under the 9
th Malaysia plan
1) National schools - RM 33.30 per month per student
2) Tamil schools - RM 10.55 per month per student
3) Chinese schools - RM 4.50 per month per student
It was bad the colonial masters discriminated against vernacular schools. But how can the Independent achievers are no better than the colonial master!!
There is no rationale and acceptable reason for this disparity of allocation to Tamil and Chinese school going children. These children all born under the Malaysian sun and being citizens must be treated equally. In fact the provision of equality is clearly spelt out in the Federal Constitution.
On 27th June, 2011, DAP hosted a Round Table Conference in Parliament which was attended by Deputy Ministers Dato Davamany and Dato Sarawanan from the MIC, opposition MPs and NGOs. A steering committee was formed where Lawyer and President of Tamil Foundation was elected its Chairman. Even Minister Dato Subramaniam and Dato Seri Nazri have been appointed as advisers to this committee.
This was a historic achievement as never before both the Government and Opposition MPs dispensed with their own political agenda and decided to see and work for the larger picture of the community.
The expectations of the Indian community are very high. With this in mind the steering committee which has representation of all walks of life is expected to play a major role in the future direction and growth of the Tamil schools in our country.
We hope the committee will chart a very clear blue print for the future of Tamil schools.