The Tamil language, rooted in antiquity and which flourished some 2,500 years ago, is one of the oldest surviving languages. Interwoven in the culture and religion, the language has become the emotional make-up and identity of the Tamil masses. The Tamil schools form part of a struggle by cultural/language advocates in Malaysia to sustain and maintain that history, arguably at a heavy cost to the development of the human capital.
History and Status
The first Tamil school was set up at the beginning of the 18th century. The 1912 Labour Ordinance compelled the planters to set up ad-hoc schools for children of the plantation labour. The number of schools increased to 333 in 1930, 547 in 1938, 741 in 1947 and to its maximum of 888 in 1957. After the country’s independence, the shift in education policy and the labour migration led to the closing down of many schools. In 1963 there were 720 such schools. By 2000 there were only 523.
Table 1 : Number of Tamil Schools and Enrolment
|Number of schools||888||657||589||547||547||524|
|Number of Student||50,766||79,277||73,958||96,120||104,600||90,280|
The setting up of the Tamil schools was primarily meant for the children from the labour class. The majority of the schools were set up in the plantations merely to fulfil the statutory requirement more than to provide a meaningful education. Termed as partially funded schools, these schools did not fall within the government’s public spending expenditure. Located in private lands, they lacked infrastructure, trained teachers and resources, materials and books.
There have been many studies on the Tamil school system – all pointing to the Tamil school system being weak, lacking in facilities with the highest drop out rate and poor performance. None of the studies thus far has put the problem of the Tamil schools in the right perspective. If socio-economic inequality is the determining factor for a child’s performance then what happens to the position of similar children in mainstream education.
Without exhaustive analysis of internal and external factors, it is premature for anyone to suggest that Tamil education is in good conducive condition.
My NADI proposal
The Education Ministry has given assurance that it will improve the poor
academic performance in Tamil schools. Proposals include appointing a supervisor for Tamil schools in each state. My NADI will competence damage caused and improve all Tamil schools requirement
Primary education should be made compulsory and meaningful to estate children. Secondly, the ministry needs to ensure that the curriculum addresses the needs of the estate environment.
More importantly it to revamp of Tamil school education is necessary: These schools need financial independence. The ministry needs to look into converting all Tamil schools into fully aided ones and improve the Tamil schools condition.
One strategy is to gather Tamil school heads and teachers for courses and seminars to boost the quality of Tamil education by providing them with new knowledge and skills, new ways of thinking, new methods of teaching and
learning. Parents are the third target group. Meetings and seminars are held to increase parents’ involvement in all areas which is essential to enhance the children’s development.
There will be implementation of Key Performance Indicators (KPI) for all Tamil schools that will be financial and non-financial metrics which will be used to help the myNADI and the government to define and measure progress toward Tamil school development. KPIs can be delivered through various stages depending on the resource and the magnitude of the schools’ demand and requirement. My NADI will also monitor the KPIs in real-time is known as business activity monitoring (BAM). All activities within the myNADI will be transparent with check and balance.
|NO||STATE||ZONE||NUMBER OF SCHOOLS|
|KULIM BANDAR BARU||17|
|KUALA MUDA YAN||22|
|4||PENANG||SEBERANG PERAI UTARA TENGAH||10|
|SEBERANG PERAI SELATAN||11|
|LARUT MATANG SELAMA||17|