Friday, August 10, 2007

Shoplot School

I've been told by some that I seem to have written less "positive" things both here on this Education blog as well as over at my personal blog since I "officially" announced my decision to join the Democratic Action Party.

I can only write here to reassure you that my thinking process hasn't changed at all, and I'm not obligated to write more "opposition" posts. However, over the past year, a certain sense of pessimism seems to have set in, whereby my faith in the Government, its rhetoric versus its action (or rather non-action), leaves much less to feel "positive" about, and hence its possibly reflected in my writings.

Take the following story, just published in Malaysiakini - "Government school sets up home in double-storey shoplot", a sense of despair over our education policies will just set in.
SJK (T) Ladang Sungai Salak’s staff and students moved into the shoplot on July 26 - believed to be a first in Malaysia - while awaiting for a land grant from the government.

When contacted, headmaster M Krishnamoorthy, 44, explained the dire situation which prompted the school to move into the shoplot. He said that the school was originally located in the nearby Siliau estate.

“When the estate was closed down in the 1990s, estate workers started to move out to the nearby town and the number of students in the school dwindled,” said Krishnamoorthy.
“Despite numerous attempts, the Education Ministry never approved our application...".
This appears to be polar opposite of Datuk Seri Samy Vellu's preposterous boast in September 2006 that 21 new Tamil primary schools were built under the Eighth Malaysia Plan and that MIC wants the government to build 14 new Tamil primary schools under the Ninth Malaysia Plan. His grandstanding theatrics was easily proven false as not even a single Tamil school was built under the 8th Malaysian Plan and it is very unlikely that any new Tamil school will be built under the 9th Malaysian Plan.

Now, it appears clear that the Tamil community can't even depend on the Government to provide for relocation, much less the construction of new schools. What's worse, the relocation expenses had to be raised from the public!
The school, with the help from Rajagopalu [state assemblyman for Port Dickson], collected RM80,000 from the public and converted the shoplot into a fully air-conditioned school building.
The plight of the Indian community, particularly those living in the plantation estates and its surrounding townships are in all probability the poorest and most marginalised underclass in Peninsula Malaysia. As I've often emphasized on this blog, education is the best equaliser in the society and offers the best opportunity for the next generation to break out of the poverty trap cycle.

Only yesterday, MCA President, Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting boasted of his party's 'successful' effort in having 17 Chinese primary schools relocated to more populous areas since 2004. However, there are at least another 80 schools around the country which requires reallocation, and possibly another 100 new schools to cope with the burgeoning Chinese school population. Are we now degraded to beggar politics whereby we cry with joy whenever we are offered crumbs?

We certainly hope that it will not become a trend whereby vernacular schools will be forced to raise funds from the public in order to relocate into shoplots which are clearly inadequate in terms of facilities for our young Malaysians. Our Education Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein promised fair treatment for all schools.


Shawn Tan said...

well, their ADUN deserves a clap for his effort..

Anonymous said...

Hey did you know the Unive of Chicago at Ann Arbor started its engineering school in a shop lot?