Monday, August 19, 2013

Don’t listen to rumours on vernacular schools, says deputy minister

Contrary to rumours, the education ministry has no intention of abolishing national-type Chinese or Tamil schools, its Deputy Minister Datuk Mary Yap Kain Ching said.

"Don't believe the allegations that national-type Chinese primary schools or SJK(C) will be abolished. The ministry has no intention of carrying out such an action," the Star quoted Yap as saying.

She pointed out that the National Education Blueprint 2013-2015 specifically mentioned Chinese, Tamil, international and private schools, which clearly showed the ministry would retain these schools.

"The education ministry will safeguard the education of different religions, races and ethnic groups," Yap assured.

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She also revealed that in a fortnight's time, the minister and his deputies would meet state education directors to set the teaching time for English and BM lessons.

"I have had two meetings with stakeholders, namely from national-type Chinese primary schools SJK(C), national-type Tamil primary schools SJK(T) and the National Union of Teaching Profession.

"All the stakeholders have submitted their proposals on this matter. I have discussed the feedback with Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

"Additional time allocated for teaching Bahasa Malaysia (BM) is needed because Chinese students scored lower results in quantity and quality in the Ujian Penilaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR)," she said.

Yap pointed out that obtaining a credit in BM was a condition set by the ministry to apply for public and private higher learning institutions.

"It is also a condition for students when they are applying for scholarships and jobs in the civil service. Hence, it is important to help them do better in BM in their formative schooling years."

However, Yap also assured the public that the additional time allocated for teaching BM would not mean that time for Chinese lessons would be reduced.

"We will find a balance between improving the BM results of Chinese students while maintaining the teaching time for Chinese lessons at 300 minutes a week," Yap said.

The ministry, she added, considered all factors in relation to the students’ interests when each policy was proposed.

The Star quoted Yap as saying she could be contacted through email or short messaging service (SMS) if there were any issues regarding the matter.

However, she sounded a note of caution saying although she was the deputy education minister, she didn't have a magic wand to solve issues and problems immediately.

"Serious issues take time to resolve, but I promise if there are any which arise, I will hold a discussion session and take follow-up actions and finally towards resolution.”

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