Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Two Interesting Letters on National Schools

Saw these two letters in Mkini today. I'll reproduce them below for your perusal. Both are referring to the trend for national schools to become more and more mono-racial. Both letters raise relevant points.

First letter can be found here.

Tahun Satu sekolah ini tiada pelajar Cina
Alias Mohd Yusof | Feb 5, 08 3:13pm

Semasa hadir pada sesi taklimat untuk kemasukan anak saya ke tahun satu di Sekolah Kebangsaan Taman Sri Pulai, Daerah Kulai, Johor baru-baru ini, setiap ibubapa telah diedarkan senarai nama murid tahun satu.

Saya perhatikan, dari sejumlah lebih kurang 300 nama murid tahun satu itu, tidak ada seorang pun dari kalangan murid keturunan Cina. Ini sungguh menghairankan saya, walaupun bagi setengah orang fenomena ini mungkin tidak begitu penting. Malah tidak ada siapa pun yang saya lihat mempersoalkan perkara ini.

Kepada saya, ia suatu yang amat merisaukan dan mengganggu fikiran saya. Perkara tidak ada murid keturunan Cina yang masuk ke sekolah ini pada tahun 2008 ini membuatkan saya tertanya-tanya. Mungkin ia tidak menjadi pelik kalau penduduk yang tinggal di kawasan sekolah ini tidak ada kaum Cina.

Yang jelasnya lebih 20 peratus penduduk di kawasan ini adalah dari kalangan kaum Cina. Kenapa agaknya kaum Cina tidak berminat untuk masuk ke sekolah kebangsaan?

Kalau nak dikatakan sekolah jenis kebangsaan Cina lebih baik prestasinya berbanding sekolah kebangsaan sebagai alasan mereka tidak berminat hendak menghantar anak ke sekolah kebangsaan, telahpun diketahui umum Sekolah Kebangsaan Taman Sri Pulai ini adalah sekolah yang terbaik dari segi pencapaian akademiknya di Daerah Kulai ini.

Kalau sekolah kebangsaan yang terbaik pun mereka tidak berselera hendak menghantar anak-anak mereka, apalagi dengan sekolah kebangsaan yang lain-lain itu.

Padahal sekolah jenis kebangsaan Cina yang paling dekat dengan Taman Sri Pulai ini terletak tidak kurang dari enam kilometer jauhnya, tapi mereka masih sanggup hantar anak-anak ke sana berbanding sekolah kebangsaan yang hanya terletak di depan rumah mereka sahaja.

Tidakkah kita sedar kesan dari pengasingan sekolah mengikut kaum ini sangat besar kepada keutuhan perpaduan masyarakat majmuk negara kita ini. Perpaduan seharusnya dipupuk dari peringkat kanak-kanak lagi. Melentur buluh biarlah dari rebung, saya tidak nampak semangat perpaduan dapat dipupuk melalui ucapan dan slogan sahaja.

Perpaduan harus dihayati dalam kehidupan sebenar, pada semua peringkat dan mesti bermula dari peringkat kanak-kanak lagi. Mungkin kepada orang politik, apa yang mereka maksudkan perpaduan itu bila

tidak ada pergaduhan antara kaum dan ada persefahaman dalam pembahagian tender projek kerajaan antara parti-parti komponen.

Oleh itu saya tidak hairan kalau orang politik tidak risau langsung dengan isu tidak ada murid Cina di Sekolah Kebangsaan Taman Sri Pulai ini, kerana memang tidak ada berlaku pergaduhan kaum pun di situ.

Kalau orang politik benar-benar faham maksud perpaduan, tentulah kes yang saya timbulkan di sini (tidak adanya murid Cina di tahun satu di Sekolah Kebangsaan Taman Sri Pulai) sudah menjadi isu yang sangat besar dan penting kepada mereka.

Kalau sekali pun kaum Cina terpaksa menghantar anak-anak mereka ke sekolah jenis kebangsaan Cina kerana hendakkan anak-anak mereka dapat belajar tulisan dan bahasa Cina ataupun atas-atas sebab lain, takkanlah tidak ada jalan penyelesaiannya selain daripada mengasingkan sekolah anak-anak mereka.

Nampaknya mereka sanggup mengorbankan perkara yang lebih penting iaitu perpaduan yang sebenar daripada mencari penyelesaian masalah yang rasanya tidaklah begitu sukar untuk diatasi.

Seperti yang biasa saya sebutkan, kita boleh memberi perlindungan dan memulihara harimau untuk mengelakkan dari pupus tapi janganlah sehingga sampai binatang ganas ini boleh mengancam haiwan ternakan dan nyawa manusia sendiri.

Realitinya, haiwan ternakan kita itulah yang lebih penting untuk menentukan survival kehidupan manusia. Bahasa dan tulisan ibunda kita memang patut dipertahan dan dipelihara tetapi janganlah sampai kita mengorbankan perkara yang lebih penting iaitu perpaduan tulen. Kerana perpaduan tulenlah yang lebih utama dalam menentukan survival bangsa kita.

Saya rasa masih ada jalan untuk anak-anak kita belajar bahasa dan tulisan ibunda mereka di satu sekolah yang sama, itupun kalau kita betul-betul mahu melihat perpaduan yang tulen di kalangan rakyat berbilang kaum.


The second letter can be found here.

Sekolah kebangsaan milik semua kaum
David Kumaran | Feb 27, 08 4:57pm

Berdasarkan surat dari Alias Mohd Yusof, saya pasti beliau adalah seorang yang benar-benar memahami maksud perpadaun dan benar-benar mahukan perpaduan antara kaum di negara kita, kekal dan dieratkan lagi.

Soalan yang beliau bangkitkan sangat logik, iaitu, mengapakah ahli-ahli politik tidak peduli apabila statistik sekolah menunjukkan tiada seoarang pun murid darjah 1 yang terdiri dari kaum Cina pada sessi 2008 di Sekolah Kebangsaan Taman Sri Pulai, Daerah Kulai, Johor.

Bukan sahaja di sekolah tersebut, malah di mana-mana sekolah kebangsaan pun, bilangan kaum bukan Melayu yang masuk ke darjah 1 semakin berkurangan.

Saya sendiri pun pernah berjumpa sekolah-sekolah sedemikian. Jadi, apakah punca yang menyebabkan ibubapa bukan Melayu tidak menghantar anak mereka ke sekolah kebangsaan.

Saya mempunyai tiga orang anak yang belajar di sekolah kebangsaan. Sejak anak pertama saya mula pergi ke sekolah (sekarang dia di Tingkatan 2), saya memerhatikan banyak perubahan yang berlaku dalam masa tujuh tahun yang lepas. Contohnya, semasa anak saya itu di darjah 4, dia dipaksa oleh seorang guru supaya memakai tudung (bukannya skaf) untuk pertandingan 'oral speaking'.

Yang peliknya, syarat ini tidak diletakkan pada masa pemilihan murid atau semasa latihan. Hanya beberapa hari sebelum pertandingan bermula, barulah syarat ini dikenakan ke atas murid bukan Melayu.

Satu lagi contoh, anak ketiga saya dan murid bukan Islam di darjah 2 tahun ini, diletakkan dalam satu kelas bersama murid beragama Islam semasa mata pelajaran agama Islam. Ia sudah lama berlaku tanpa pengetahuan saya atau ibubapa murid bukan Islam yang lain.

Saya hanya dapat tahu perkara ini apabila saya pergi melawat anak saya pada suatu hari. Apabila saya membawa hal ini kepada guru besar, alasannya ialah guru kelas moral cuti bersalin dan tiada guru gantian walaupun sudah dipohon kepada Jabatan Pendidikan. Tetapi saya tidak setuju dan akhirnya pihak sekolah bersetuju untuk memindahkan semua murid bukan Islam ke kelas lain ketika kelas Islam.

Dan baru-baru ini pula (berlaku tahun ini), kedua-dua anak saya memberitahu saya bahawa dua guru Melayu meminta kesemua murid Islam dalam kelas supaya bangun dan membaca doa sebelum memulakan pelajaran Sains atau BM (walaupun murid bukan-Islam tidak perlu membaca doa tersebut). Kedua-dua anak saya tadi belajar di sekolah yang berlainan.

Hal-hal sebegini tidak berlaku pada masa dahulu dan hanya sejak beberapa tahun kebelakangan ini, banyak unsur keagamaan dibawa masuk ke sekolah tanpa mengambilkira sensitiviti murid bukan Islam. Jadi, apakah ibubapa bukan Melayu akan buat? Terpaksalah mereka hantar anak-anak mereka ke sekolah jenis kebangsaan Cina atau Tamil.

Pada pendapat saya, unsur-unsur keagamaan tidak harus dibawa masuk ke sekolah kebangsaan kerana ia adalah sekolah milik semua kaum tanpa mengira agama atau bangsa. Kelas agama Islam boleh dibenarkan tetapi tindakan menempatkan murid bukan Islam dalam kelas yang sama, adalah sesuatu yang menyinggung perasaan kaum lain. Memaksa murid bukan Islam supaya memakai tudung pulak, lagi tidak harus dibenarkan sama sekali di mana-man sekolah pun.


What do you guys think?

11 comments:

Tiara said...

Shocked, but not surprised. Even when I was at school over 5 years ago there was a strong Islamic push - and this was at a national school. If you were part of the cheerleading team, you had to cover up. Prayers were everywhere. There were battles between having a Malay Head Prefect and a Non-Malay Head Prefect.

As a Bangladeshi of Muslim background, I was often tossed into a gray area. I was allowed into extra classes and other things that were open to Malays Only, but was excluded from many other things because I was "lain lain".

The fact that things have to be racially divided is troubling (not to mention erroneous - what about mixed race kids? Why was my Punjabi friend "lain lain" and not "Indian"?). I won't be surprised that many people choose not to go to a national school - there's really no sense of "perpaduan" there. Just a battle between two race factions.

Shawn Tan said...

The situation today is that we have the two groups of people moving towards opposite extremes, instead of towards the centre. The Chinese cannot demand for equal treatment and abolishing special rights while at the same time demanding to keep the special right to have Chinese schools. It does not make any logical sense.

One way to fix this problem is to do away with all vernacular schools and officially timetable the languages in national schools, not as optional classes. Give everyone the opportunity to learn any language, regardless of race. Then, there would be one less reason to segregate the children in schools. In this day and age, being tri-lingual or more, is getting far more important.

And take religion out of the schools. There are other avenues to learn religion. Alternatively, timetable in every religion and give pupils the opportunity to learn any religion that they wish to learn. It's really a silly idea to assume that there is such thing as a universal moral code. I really don't think that school is the best place to learn any religion.

Anonymous said...

This imposing the practices and beliefs of our so-called national religion on other people who are not followers of Islam is, unfortunately getting from bad to worse in our country.

I myself have been victim to this.

At a recent camp supposedly aimed at instilling patriotism and national unity among the various races in our country, the discrimination faced by the non-Muslims shocked me greatly. The blatancy of this racism was unbelievable.

Not only were the non-Muslims forced to raise our hands are "baca doa", we had to endure the facilitators (not one of which were non-Muslims) say outright to our faces how this land belongs to them and we are just "pendatang"s and thus are not worthy to enjoy the political stability and economic prosperity of Malaysia.

What surprised me most was that not even one of the other non-Muslim participants shared my rage on these issues. I admit that it is a very sensitive issue to speak about but if we do not defend our rights, who is going to do it for us?

I would like to urge everyone reading this to make a change in our country, to make it one that really does have racial unity, not just one that claims to do so, but as we can see with the problems arising every other day, do not.

Anonymous said...

haihz WHY ohh GOD WHY???

Anonymous said...

As a parent, I made a conscious decision about sending my eldest son to a Chinese medium school because the kebangsaan type school do not offer Chinese language as part of the school curriculum.

No matter how much the Education Minister kept emphasizing that the Chinese language would be added into the kebangsaan school timetable and curriculum, it is not happening. All I wanted for my children was the chance to be tri-lingual. Is that so difficult?

By the way, there are way too many unnecessary subjects that the primary school children have to go through with examination. Should stick to the basics - languages (Bahasa Malaysia, English, Tamil or Chinese), Maths and Science. Moral and Sivik subjects should be internalised and not evaluated by examination - one can pass with flying colours in the exam but that does not prove that he or she is a moral or civic minded person.

teen said...

actually, this kind of "islam"ization has been going on for years...

By the time I came out of national primary school 8 years ago, I could actually recite their doa from front to back and back to front.

anon 05/14/2008 04:01:00AM: to state the obvious, education is nothing but a political battlefield for our "beloved" hisham.

Fikri said...

I reckon that religion should be a personal issue, but I can see why it's still included in schools. My idea is to include all the religions, like a general subject on the major religions of Malaysia and the world. This would help to increase the understanding of the different religions, which is the whole point of multiculturalism, right? This can replace both the moral education and Islam as a subject (which most kids are getting out of school anyway). Whether it'll happen is probably another story.

As for the alternative language, as it is the students already have a full schedule of subjects, with a crazy after-school tuition schedule as well. Merely adding new subjects like Mandarin won't quite work. That's not to say that it's not important, and once again, if multiculturalism is what you're looking for, then it can be a great thing.

In which case, which subject would you bump off the timetable? This is where things might get trickier than necessary.

Anonymous said...

I think unnecessary subjects like moral or civics should be scrapped off. A suitable replacement would be cultural studies of the different cultures and practices of the society. This can greatly improve mutual understanding, tolerance and unity. I don't think other developed nations actually offer ridiculous subjects like moral or civics. However, they do offer cultural studies.
Furthermore, no religious studies should be conducted in national schools. All religious studies should be conducted after school hours. For example, Islamic studies can be conducted at the local community mosque for Muslim students. National schools should be free of religious influence as much as possible. If a school integrates any religion into its system, then it should be considered as a religious school, not national school.
All types of languages should also be offered at schools besides Mandarin or Tamil only such as Japaneses, French, Italian, Spanish, Korean, etc. etc. This is one of the steps that would enable the country to create world-class citizens.

elie said...

I was from a Sekolah Rendah Kebangsaan about 6 years ago (I'm 18 now) and what I can say is, during my primary school days, everyone mingle together, regardless of race or religion. The only time we were separated was during Pendidikan Islam/Moral times.

Frankly, most of my classmates told me that they went to "sekolah agama" so I don't really see the need to have Pendidikan Islam in Sek. Keb..

Besides, subjects like Pendidikan Islam/Moral shouldn't be given a grade. It should be made a non-graded subject (pass/fail).

I went to a Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan with around 95% students being non-Malays. The principals were all non-Malays until Secondary 4 when Jabatan decided to transfer a Malay lady over to replace our dear principal who was transferred to a "sekolah bestari".

I still remember what she said in her first speech. "Saya tak begitu selesa dengan sekolah ini kerana sekolah lepas saya, majoriti-nya murid Melayu...."

From that day onwards, racist sentiments were everywhere. She forbade female non-Malays to wear the "baju kurung" unless they don the "tudung" to cover their "aurat".

Obvious favoritism for Malays over non-Malays was blatantly slapped on our faces especially when it comes to funding for society and club functions.

The list goes on and on. But I'm too lazy to mention all of it.

What I hope the government would do is, introduce other mother tongue into the curriculum, but let the students choose whether they want to take it or not. Perhaps introduce something to replace Pendidikan Islam/Moral ? So that Malays can interact with non-Malays from an early age.

All efforts to unite the people go down the drain if the school segregates them since primary education to Malays and non-Malays.

Just my dua sen.

Anonymous said...

Why Sekolah Kebangsaan is a no-option for non-islamic studies students ...

I am going to summarise my story .. tired of explaining and talking .. My son is in Sekolah Kebangsaan .. He was not a good student .. he got class F (class number six in terms of ranking)last year after the first test which was given to him during the first month of his standard one. I am okay with that .. I am okay with my son not doing well .. But what i didn't and don't understand is, he is placed in a sixth class ... and i don't think he deserves that .. but it is the second best class for non-Muslims .. due the offering of "pendidikan moral". So there are two types of ranking .. for non-Muslims ... it is first, sixth and the eight ... i hope you can understand what i am trying to explain here .. my son, being a non islamic subject student he is in the 6th class .. as it is the only second class that offers pendidikan moral .. which is again something i can tolerate .. being born in Malaysia .. and having lived here for years ...

Again, what i can't stand is .. my son's islamic study classmates,are four levels lower than his standard... so, basically my son is not and not going to learn anything from his classmates .. so, then why io should bother sending him to school .. this year, he scored 4A's .. i thought he will finally be in a class with friends of his level who can commuincate with him .. But, to my dismay, i was told, class A or the first class is full .. and therefore .. he, again has to spend next three years of his primary education in the 6th class ...

Well, the public, tell me please .. should i stop him from school .. and educate him at home .. I give him better moral studies .. and i am a better school for him ... ? Why pendidikan moral is not offered to All Malaysians? why only the non-Malays? Why Islmaic studies can not be offered after school hours?

I tried changing my son from Sekolah Kebangsaan to a vernacular school ... My appliaction was rejected and i was told no changing of aliran is allowed .. so, i am a prisoner in my own country? i hope my God will forgive me for putting my language as second when selecting my son's school ...

Nine Months Mom

Anonymous said...

Isn't Government trying to make the people stupid, so that they can continue to rule the country?

They are trying to separate races, so they can play around with the race to gain more votes during election.

Recently have so many government project makan our duit has been reveal, but what action did our PM take? He just trying to keep away from all the negative news and publish positive news on he behalf, if he going to become actor, definitely he will be one of the best actor.

What do you think?