Saturday, October 31, 2009


(Joe Chelliah)

As far as I know, there is no other country in the world that has five or six types of education for their children as is the case in Malaysia ever since Merdeka. At the time, our founding fathers considered it necessary to have an assortment of Malay, Chinese, Tamil schools alongside Arabic and Madrasah types of schools in Malaysia.

It is indeed heartening to note that the pragmatic idea of having single stream schools to achieve better national unity has been mooted and discussed recently in the Parliament. It has been supported by lawmakers from both sides of the divide. It is now up to the people to support or reject the idea. Certain vocal groups have voiced opposition to the idea although the silent majority in Malaysia may actually support the idea. A national referendum would the best way to know this..

National unity is the primary aim and having different types of schools in various media of instruction has not worked. Even having Bahasa Malaysia as a compulsory subject in all the different types of schools has not brought about true national unity as envisaged in the Razak report.

Perhaps the time is ripe now for us to work towards a single type of school system for all children like what is happening just about everywhere else in the world. I also believe that it would be better to start it right from the early years itself instead of waiting to do it only at the secondary level simply because habits, attitudes and prejudices tend to take root and sometimes irreversibly entrenched in the young by the time they reach puberty. By then it may be too late to change mindsets and outlooks that have already been firmly entrenched in their young and impressionable minds.