‘MAKE NATIONAL SCHOOLS GREAT AGAIN’
Date : 20 April 2019
Reported by : Roslan Bin Rusly
Category : News
By: Audrey Vijaindren And Teh Athira Yusof
KUALA LUMPUR: Educationists say there is a very urgent need to forge greater racial integration among schoolchildren, but feel the best way may not be through the sharing of school compounds and facilities.
The most effective measure is to ensure parents of all races choose to send their children to national schools, and make it the school of choice for all Malaysians again.
Parent Action Group for Education chairman Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim said there were many approaches to promoting unity, but the best way would be to ensure quality of education, especially in national schools, as this would make these schools the first choice for parents.
“The government must make national schools great again by returning the Malaysian identity and the national spirit to them.
“School managements have to be stricter in assessing teachers on their knowledge to ensure subjects are taught correctly, and that a structured and relevant continuing professional development programme is developed for every teacher, just like in the private sector.”
She said the sharing of facilities and compounds would only be feasible for new schools, as those factors would need to be reflected in the construction plan.
On Thursday, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said since many people were against the idea of a single-stream education system, the government was thinking of maintaining the multiple-stream system and instead have all three types of schools — national schools and Chinese and Tamil vernacular schools — in one campus.
Under the idea, all three types of schools would use their respective medium of instruction and syllabi, but certain activities, such as weekly assemblies, would be conducted together.
The idea, Dr Mahathir had said, was for students to integrate more effectively. International Islamic University of Malaysia’s Department of Social Foundations and Educational Leadership Associate Professor Dr Suhailah Hussien said while the sharing of school fields and exchange of expertise among teachers was good, there would be many challenges faced by the schools sharing a complex.
“It is not easy to monitor a large number of students from a combination of two or three schools.”
For retired headmaster William Doraisamy, 76, it was important to ensure quality.
“Why do Chinese parents and parents of other races clamour to send their children to Chinese schools? Is it because they want their children to be proficient in Mandarin? Definitely not.
“It’s because in these schools, there is no discrimination and most teachers are very hardworking, competent and they produce the best students. Students get excellent grades.”
Malaysia Unity Foundation trustee Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said previously, when a similar concept called Sekolah Wawasan was discussed, there were suspicions that this would take away the schools’ identity and the administration of the schools would be negatively affected.
“But I believe we have broken down a lot of barriers in recent times, and what better way to start tearing down racial barriers than in schools, with the young.
“The fact still remains that this is something that is workable and prac tical. I t’s achievable. And there is no better time to start integrating than now.”
Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia’s Faculty of Major Language Studies senior lecturer Dr Hayati Ismail said existing programmes, such as Rancangan Integrasi Murid Untuk Perpaduan (RIMUP), could be strengthened to promote unity.
“Under RIMUP, students of different races from different schools would team up and train together to participate in competitions.
They also have camps where they learn to celebrate diversity and see themselves as Malaysians.
“Thus, competitions should be organised more creatively. Instead of making schools compete with each other, have students from different schools form their own multiracial team.
“It may be difficult to implement at first, but if we persevere, this will someday become normal. This has been done before under the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025.”
Source; NST Newspaper