The following NGOs strongly opposes the recent action by the Ministry of Education of despatching the National School (SK) version of Bahasa Malaysia (BM) textbook to National-Type Schools(SJK) and is relieved that the Cabinet has made the decision to print different text book for SJK.
In its attempt to standardise the syllabus of Bahasa Malaysia in all the primary schools in the country, the Ministry of Education had in recent months held consultation sessions with the organisations representing the interests of the Mandarin and Tamil primary schools. At the sessions these organisations had unanimously expressed their objection to the standardisation project presented by the Education Ministry officers. In view of the objections, the Ministry officers had informed those participants at the sessions that the project would be withheld.
It has come light through media reports that some of Chinese primary schools, (SJK(c)), have received for the 2016 school session Primary 6 Bahasa Malaysia textbooks that are meant for the National school (SK). We hold that this move by the Ministry officers as utter disregard for a decision arrived at through consultation process.
In this regard what is more perplexing and deplorable is the statements issued by the two deputy ministers in the Education Ministry.
Deputy Minister Chong Sin Moon criticised the Textbook Division of the Ministry as it failed to prepare separate BM textbooks for Mandarin and Tamil schools and the National schools as decided by the Cabinet. Instead, the Division came up with a standardised version for all schools.
We takes note further that the Deputy Minister Chong Sin Woon had also referred to the proposal to standardise the Year 6 BM textbooks for all primary schools and that the proposal was rejected by the Cabinet. Further still, Deputy Minister Chong had made it known that following consultation the Education Minister Mahdzir Khalid had directed the Textbook Division to get the versions for vernacular schools printed soonest.
Notwithstanding the Ministerial direction, the Textbook Division had shown its audacity to go ahead and prepare the standardised text book and despatch it to the Chinese primary schools, which is a highly deplorable act of defiance.
To us, what is more perplexing is the reply given by another Deputy Minister of Education, P. Kamalanathan. He in his written reply to a question from Teo Nie Ching, Kulai Member of Parliament, stated that the same standaradised text book would be used by National School and National-Type School for the school session beginning in 2016. But he further stated that the students would not take the same examination papers for the Primary School Evaluation Test (UPSR). It appears that this Deputy Minister had accepted what the Textbook Division had done. We are not inclined to do so.
We objects strongly to the same standardised syllabus of BM being used in SK and SJK. It is our stand that the teaching of BM in SJK(C) and SJK(T) should be as a second language and the pedagogy should be different from the SK where BM is taught as the students’ first language.
However, we agree that necessary steps should be taken to uplift the standard of BM in SJK with a comprehensive plan and it is agreed that it could not be done overnight and a gradualistic approach must be taken to ensure continuous improvement. Hasty and ill-planned policy changes may yield counter-productive effects.
We feel relieved that the Cabinet made the right decision to print new textbooks for Year 6 students of SJK(C) and SJK(T). As the textbook couldn’t be ready in time for the beginning of the next school session, we suggest that the Education Ministry to send the softcopy to the all SJKs to enable teachers to plan their teaching accordingly.
This statement is endorsed by the following member organisations of GBM:
2.LLG Cultural Development Centre (LLG) 林连玉基金
3.Merdeka University Berhad独立大学有限公司
4.National Indian Rights Action Team (NIAT) 全国印裔权益行动组织
5.Negeri Sembilan Chinese Assembly Hall (NSCAH) 森美兰中华大会堂
6.Persatuan Aliran Kesedaran Negara (Aliran) 国民醒觉运动
7.The Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH) 隆雪华堂
8.Persatuan Bekas Siswazah Universiti dan Kolej di China, Malaysia (LiuHua)
9.Tamil Foundation Malaysia （TF）淡米尔基金会
10.Tindak Malaysia (TM) 行动大马
11.United Chinese School Alumni Associations of Malaysia(UCSAAM) 马来西亚华校校友会联合会总会