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Need to clear the air over SJKCs

  • The presence of students of different races at SJKCs constitutes an impetus to propel national solidarity. Photo courtesy: Sin Chew Daily

Sin Chew Daily

The recent seminar on the country's multi-stream education policy hosted by UKM has once again raised public controversies over this issue.

The speakers were apparently tilted towards an antagonistic stand on multi-stream education and the recognition of UEC certificate.

Some were of the opinion that mono-stream education system is the best for this country while others argued that SJKC graduates spoke only Mandarin and lived in their own worlds.

Such opinions in no way reflect the actually reality but are the prejudiced views of specific groups of people or organizations.

The advocates of monolingual education cited the excuse of national unity without realizing that their discriminative remarks had undermined the foundation of national solidarity. Their misunderstandings of multi-stream education and SJKCs indeed need to be further clarified.

Under the country's multi-steam education system, schools of different language streams have been able to churn out talented people who will collectively build up this nation.

SJKCs have won the approval of many parents due to their exceptional teaching quality and student discipline, and this is a fact that will not allow anyone to negate the monumental role played by these schools in the country's continuous development.

As for the claim that SJKC graduates speak only Mandarin and live in their own worlds, this couldn't have been more wrong. Even though Mandarin Chinese is used as the medium of teaching at SJKCs, the learning of Bahasa Malaysia and English has been given equal priority, and many SJKC students are well versed in these three languages.

These are the people who will effectively bridge the gaps and forge closer relationships among Malaysians from different ethnic backgrounds.

We need to emphasize here that SJKCs are not for Chinese students only. Statistics show that there are almost 100,000 non-Chinese students studying at SJKCs nationwide, attesting to the fact that these schools have won the approval of Malaysian parents irrespective of race and could be aptly called "schools for all Malaysians".

Students of different races have been able to come and learn under one roof and such cross-race life experiences vastly help promote national unity.

Simply put, the presence of students of different races at SJKCs constitutes an impetus to propel national solidarity.

Unfortunately, given the prejudices and misunderstandings of a handful of narrow-minded individuals, these schools have been seen as obstacles that stand the way of national unity.

But luckily, not the entire Malaya community is discriminative against multi-stream education or SJKCs.

As Malaysian Chinese Language Council president Eddie Heng Hong Chai has said, the Malay society generally does not hold a resistant or antagonistic attitude towards the presence of SJKCs in the country. As a matter of fact, there are many Malays who support SJKCs or recognize the UEC certificate.

Education is a very strict and vital issue, and controversies over multi-stream education system will not stop just that. However, it is important that while we discuss and argue about this, we need to have genuine and sincere exchanges of ideas in order to clarify all the doubts, prejudices and misunderstandings so that a consensus could be established upon the foundation of truth.


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