KUALA LUMPUR, April 26 — A significant number of secondary school dropouts with Chinese primary vernacular education have little, or zero, command of English or the national language, according to a study.
Observers say this has created a group of Chinese who only interact within their own ethnic community and points to increasing racial polarisation in multicultural Malaysia.
Education ministry studies have shown that nearly one in four Chinese students has failed to complete secondary school education and their dropout rate is virtually the same as that for Malays and other races.
In the latest survey of 159 schools nationwide last year, the National Union of Teaching Profession (NUTP) found that one-third of students from those schools cannot understand either English or Bahasa Malaysia (BM) when they transfer to national secondary schools.
Another one-third was found to be able to understand only a little bit of English or BM, while the remaining one-third could comprehend fully.
NUTP secretary-general Lok Yim Pheng told The Malaysian Insider the survey was to find out the reasons for the high dropout rate among the Chinese students required to participate in the “remove class”, a year-long programme to ease their transfer from Chinese primary school to Malay-medium government school.
“Some students are not interested in their studies and play around,” she said, but deferred commenting on the significance of the survey.
Retired school principal Cheng Su Chean said there were Chinese students who were fluent in both BM and English and credited it to their wide exposure to different cultures outside school.“Most of our Chinese children do not have this sort of environment. And nowadays, they do not mix around, not like our time,” said the 68-year-old, who was formerly headmistress of SRJK (C) Pudu in the capital city.
“Their interaction is limited. Ninety-eight per cent keep to their Chinese friends and so speak Chinese every day,” she added.
Senior fellow Socio-economic and Environmental Research Institute (Seri), Datuk Dr Toh Kin Woon, observed that “this is one of the contributory factors leading to racial polarisation”.
“Because of the linguistic barrier, they are not able to interact with their peers in school,” he said.
The Penang-based pundit also noted that many of those who came from a low economic class formed the bulk of the drop-outs, which created a vicious cycle as “education was no longer a vehicle for social advancement” due to the language barrier.
“They can’t get into government-sanctioned training institutes, so they don’t even have the basic skills [to get a job],” Toh said.
“Because of this, some might go overseas where they may end up as illegal workers... which could contribute to the black economy,” he added.
Tan Yew Sing who heads the KL-Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall admitted that the problem was very serious and the association had set up a committee to look into the issue and arrest the problem.
He said the racial divide has become more pronounced in the last 10 years, starting with primary school education.
“The whole [education] system needs to be revamped... We need to find out how to build up an environment for interaction with people of difference races,” Tan told The Malaysian Insider. Go here
Pelik bin Ajaib...
It's as if they got some Spesial 30% quota for selected Ahbengs n AhSohs to speak BM..the rest can remain as AhBengs n AhSoh in Vernacular Land land
Mak oi..punya la banyak "fact" gua nak kena highlight...baik gua kasi semua text merah...
I hope the Mainstream Media picks this up and lets have a healthy debate on the issue of National Education...
Mau debate kasi fact baik punya...jangan main selit Virtual Assumption macam satu zombie last week
Lets face it.....
What have you got to lose if the Government makes it compulsory for each kid to take up it's ethnic language in National Schools...
And all the current Vernacular Teachers becomes Language Teachers
With some retraining maybe you can start speaking our National Language and begin to teach Geography or what ever it is that you were teaching before...
Before I comment more on this "research"....I shall wait for a pdf copy to be made available to the public
By the way this is not a new observation, refer Lim Kit Siang waffling "rebuttal" to the data in 2003 here
The Gerakan think-tank, Socio-Economic Development and Research (SEDAR) for instance made serious allegations against the DAP, Dong Jiao Zong and Chinese mother-tongue education in a letter to Malaysiakini on Thursday, under the tendentious heading “DAP keen on exploiting race-based issues”:
- “On the use of English to teach mathematics and science subjects in primary schools, DAP’s argument is consistent with Dong Jiao Zong. Both say that the policy of using English to teach mathematics and science subjects in Chinese primary schools would result in the change of their character and cannot be used as the main reason to reject its implementation.
- “A recent report by the Education Ministry revealed that one in four Chinese students in Malaysia failed to complete secondary education and the rate is virtually the same as that of Malays and other races. The study revealed that all the dropout students were taught in Mandarin in their schools. This breaks the myth that the use of Mandarin to teach mathematics and science in primary schools guarantees educational excellence.
- “Other problems faced by Chinese students after the completion of their studies include difficulty in finding jobs and social displacement, leading to social ills such as prostitution and criminal activities.
- “The main obstacle is the lack of English proficiency. Other issues that were identified include the post-modernist culture and the erosion of traditional reverence for education and scholastic achievement.
- “It is obvious that DAP has failed to contribute to national issues but is more content with playing racial cards, consistent with my debates with some of its party leaders on the issue of Chinese education.”
I am dumbfounded that the Gerakan leadership and its think-tank have not only tarred DAP and Dong Jiao Zong with the allegations of being racists and chauvinists for opposing the 2-4-3 formula, but have blamed Chinese mother-tongue education for social ills such as high school dropout rate, prostitution and criminal activities, and claiming that the main reason for Chinese students failing to get employment is “lack of English proficiency”. Such allegations and canards are not only defamatory of the DAP and Dong Jiao Zong but make unwarranted and unacceptable insinuations and imputations against Chinese mother-tongue education.
Unker Lim what is your mother-tongue? Mandarin ka?
Kids in Vernacular School speak Hokkien, Cantonese and Other Dialects la Unker....
That is their MOTHER TONGUE
MANDARIN IS A FOREIGN LANGUAGE TO THEM
IT IS ACTUALLY A NATIONAL LANGUAGE OF CHINA
In the mean time folks lets think about the possibility of doing a Royal Rumble on this folks..