(Kuala Lumpur, Saturday): The Education Development Blueprint 2001-2010 suffers from six fundamental defects.
Firstly, it lacks transparency. Nobody knew that the
10-year Education Plan was being drafted, nobody knew when it was commissioned,
nobody was consulted – definitely none from Dong Jiao Zhong, and even after it
was surreptitiously approved by the Cabinet on June 20, 2001, many
Cabinet Ministers especially those from MCA, Gerakan, SUPP and MIC did
not know it existed – and the MCA Special Seminar on the Education Development
Blueprint 2001-2010 today would not have been held more than a year after it was
approved by the Cabinet if the DAP had not
refocused national attention on it at the DAP Education Seminar on May 23
and embarrassed MCA enough
to hold such a seminar.
is unrepresentative of plural Malaysia with no representation in the
Education Development Blueprint Steering
Committee (Jawatankuasa Pemandu) and the Main Committee (Jawatankuasa Induk)
from all racial, religious and cultural groups in plural Malaysia.
Thirdly, it is
undemocratic. It is not
a policy review by policy makers, whether from the various political
parties, in government or opposition, or from the civil society, but the product
of policy implementors from the various departments in
the Education Ministry usurping
the role of policy makers.
Fourthly, it is
unprofessional, or it would not be overtaken so quickly by so many educational
developments and events – as the
use of English to teach science and mathematics, the so-called meritocracy
system for admission into public universities, the poor academic performance of
bumiputra university students, etc.
lacks vision – as to the larger purpose of education in plural
There is a sixth
fundamental defect – it is most unfair to mother-tongue education as it
gives no place to the future
development of Chinese and Tamil primary schools.
In fact, there is no
reference whatsoever to Chinese and Tamil primary schools in the 10-year
Education Blueprint although one of the long-standing injustices of the national
education system is the unfair and inequitable treatment meted out to Chinese
and Tamil primary schools, whether in allocation of funds, building of new
schools or provision of adequate
number of teachers, etc.
It is most shocking
and unbelievable that MCA, Gerakan,
SUPP and MIC Ministers in Cabinet could approve the Education Development
Blueprint 2001-2010 on June 20 last year when it completely ignores the right to
fair and equitable development of
Chinese and Tamil primary schools for the next decade, while justifying the
continued neglect and unfair development and allocations of funds all these
The most charitable interpretation is that the MCA, Gerakan, SUPP and MIC Ministers never read or understood the contents of the Education Development Blueprint 2001-2010 and did not know what they were doing when they all gave their approval to it in the Cabinet meeting 13 months ago.
The Education Development Blueprint 2001-2010, which gives no place or recognition to the future of Chinese and Tamil primary schools, has proven right the Dong Jiao Zong’s description of the transformation of the status of Chinese mother-tongue education from “freehold in 1957 to TOL in 1961 to squatters in 1996”.
The status of Chinese schools in 1957 was that of “freehold” as under the 1957 Education Ordinance, the Chinese education system incorporating Chinese primary schools and Chinese secondary schools was given recognition by the authorities for the first time. In the 1961 Education Act, the status of Chinese education was downgraded to that of “Temporary Occupation Licence (TOL)”, as Chinese primary schools could be converted into national primary schools any time the Education Minister deemed fit. The 1996 Education Act reduced the status of Chinese primary schools to that of “squatters” - without proper legal status or position.
The Education Development Blueprint clearly treated Chinese primary schools as no better than that of “squatters”, with no mention or reference to the future development of Chinese primary schools and their right to fair and equitable allocation of public funds.
The Education Development Blueprint 2001-2010 approved by the Cabinet in June last year is grossly unfair to Chinese and Tamil primary schools, and it vindicated the DAP’s call last year for a New Deal for Mother-Tongue Education in the Eighth Malaysia Plan with regard to both Chinese and Tamil primary schools.
The Education Development Blueprint 2001-2010 should be reviewed and amended to restore to Chinese and Tamil primary schools their rightful place in the mainstream of the national education system.
This is why the DAP is launching the nation-wide campaign “Restore Chinese primary schools’ freehold status” to review and amend the Education Development Blueprint 2001-2010 for its neglect of the right to fair and equitable development for Chinese primary schools.
The six-point New Deal for Mother-Tongue Education which the DAP had advocated early last year will be the centrepiece of the DAP “Restore Chinese primary schools’ freehold status” Campaign, viz:
Build 500 new Chinese primary schools, or 50 new schools a year, under the 10-Year Education Development Blueprint.
RM1 billion special allocation for the 60 Chinese Independent Secondary Schools and the 1,200 Chinese primary schools to be paid out in the next five years in recognition of their past contribution to nation-building.
Allow building of new or re-establishment of previous Chinese Independent Secondary Schools.
Government recognition of Unified Examinations Certificate (UEC) of Chinese Independent Secondary Schools.
Make Pupil’s Own Language (POL) a compulsory subject for all pupils in national primary and secondary schools.
Fair allocation of development expenditures to different streams of primary schools based on student enrolment, i.e. the total development allocation of RM2.75 billion for primary schools under the five-year Eighth Malaysia Plan (2001-2005) should be distributed into RM2.1 billion or 75% for national primary schools, RM577 million or 21% for Chinese primary schools and RM99 million or 3.6% for Tamil primary schools.