Stop bullying Chinese schools, says PKR Youth

-A +A

KUALA LUMPUR: “Nationalist wannabes” should focus on improving national schools instead of calling for the closure of Chinese vernacular schools, said PKR Youth.

Its chief, Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, said the national education system was failing Malaysian students, as shown in global rankings of schools.

He cited the Programme for International Student Assessment report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development earlier this year, which found that Malaysian students ranked 39 out of 44 countries in terms of problem solving.

“Many parents told me that they would love to send their children to national schools because it is so much cheaper.

“But they are reluctant because the quality of education in those schools is not as good and there is the lack of ‘inclusive environment’ there,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Education was no longer a “one-size-fits-all” affair, Nik Nazmi said, warning that in the long run, a rigid education system would hurt the economy and make the nation’s human capital less competitive.

“We should not waste time and needlessly increase ethnic tensions by trying to abolish or handicap vernacular schools.

“Our efforts should be on improving the conditions in our national schools so that they become the first choice for all Malaysian parents,” said Nik Nazmi, who is the Selangor executive councillor in charge of education, human capital development, science, technology and innovation. He described the call for the closure of Chinese schools at the upcoming Umno general assembly by a party division chief “disturbing, to say the least”.

Petaling Jaya Utara Umno division deputy chief Mohamad Azli Mohamed Saad said Chinese schools were used by opposition parties to incite hatred towards other races, and to spread racial and anti-government sentiments.

Nik Nazmi said the claim that opposition parties were manipulating vernacular schools for such nefarious ends was simply untrue.

He cited Article 152(1)(a) and (b) of the Federal Constitution that guarantees the right to vernacular education, and criticised Mohamad Azli’s remarks as “another example of how Umno and its surrogates only bandy about the Constitution whenever it suits their purposes”. — by Looi Sue-Chern/The Malaysian Insider

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on October 9, 2014.