Hisham's failure: vernacular school enrollment proof
The first letter is a statement of fact. Not only was he a poor exemplary role model as the head of the Education Ministry but he was also an abject failure in his position as a minister. Brandishing the keris to politicise his cause in full view of his audience cannot be construed as a refined leader with exemplary qualities. At best he can be labelled as a rebel with a dubious political agenda.
Statistics don’t usually tell a lie. Some 95% of Chinese and Indian students are enrolled in vernacular schools. The stark reality is that a miniscule 5% of the non-Malays are in the government’s sekolah kebangsaan . Of course, this trend did not happen overnight. But when Hisham took over the Education Ministry, the trend was already patently evident.
Yet during his term, what did he do to address this lop-sided enrolment of non-Malays in vernacular schools? The Education Minister should be aware of the repercussions of having a racially polarised education system which in the long term, would have serious ramifications for nation-building.
In the 1960s, when I attended a national school, it was the school of choice for Chinese, Malays and Indians. Vernacular schools had such poor enrolment that many of them had to close on their own volition.
But then the national school I attended then was different from the ones today. In every national schools then there was a good mixture of Chinese, Indian and Malay teachers. Besides the few Mat Salleh headmasters, there was also a good spread of Chinese, Indian and Malay headmasters too.
There was a total absence of religious rituals. No such thing as doa selamat or whatever prayers during school hours. We left religion at home.
The sad part is that Hisham does not know the reason for the decline in the enrolment of non- Malays in the national schools today. Instead, he tried to introduce mother-tongue language in the national schools thinking this was what the non-Malays wanted.
However, that is not addressing the real problem. Yes, the real problem refers to the second letter’s topic, ‘National schools turning into Islamic schools’.If the Education Minister had kept his eyes opened wide, he would have read numerous complaints of parents expressing their concern and anger at the slow Islamisation creeping within the corridors of the national schools.
Somehow, national schools have been infiltrated by religious zealots out to preach Islam and many do not hesitate to impose their religious rituals on non-Malays. Some schools even go overboard in prescribing the mode of school uniforms to be worn including the tudung .
All the above, probably escapes the attention of the minister or alternatively he may have condoned
the various religious impositions. The proof is already there for him to see. Vernacular schools are full to the brim and what is perhaps even astonishing is that there are about 60,000 Malay students scrambling for places in the Chinese vernacular schools.
That in itself is an indictment of his abject failure as an Education Minister.