Despite increased preference for Chinese schools among the non-Chinese, national schools are likely to remain the primary institutions of education in the next 10 years.
A former member of the National Education Advisory Council, Professor Dr Teo Kok Seong said this is because of the government’s education policies which are there to safeguard national interests.
“New Chinese schools cannot get approved easily. Although they are popular, they cannot simply build new buildings and new classrooms. So even if there is demand, they cannot meet it.
“It’s a policy more to safeguard the national schools so national schools are the mainstream schools so there are more of those in numbers and they will be the first choice of schools attended,” he told Malay Mail Online in a recent phone interview to clarify a previous news report on the issue.
The Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia principal fellow acknowledged criticisms against national schools in recent years: poor quality teaching, inadequate infrastructure and a lack of racial diversity among the school faculty.
But the proponent for national schools said the government has been working to improve the overall education quality to be on par with private institutions, including independent Chinese vernacular schools.
“The government is already acting on it. They have called people in to work on it and let’s wait and see until the third wave of the Education Blueprint, which is about 2021 to 2025, and then we can see what the trend is… if people are still not going to national schools or if there is improvement,” he said.
The introduction of students’ mother tongue classes in either Mandarin or Tamil in national schools was among measures taken in response to parental preference, Teo said.
MAYURI MEI LIN