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Tap Into Diversity of the Vernacular School System
to Advance National Competitiveness


Dr Tan Ai Mei


CSO Education Cluster

Policy Code:

3f Education

Problem Statement:

The massive shifting of school teachers and senior assistants under the teacher’s Redeployment program from one school to another has caused an erosion of school ethos in the vernacular schools.
The erosion on ethos caused by the program is progressively having a homogenising effect on the vernacular schools to be mediocre, just like majority of the SMK schools. It has taken away the dedicated teachers in the schools as well as upsetting the internal moving up of the management team teachers from the schools. It has a detrimental effect on the proper conduct of the POL classes in schools for Chinese, Tamil and English literature.
The diversity in ethnicity, culture and language observed in the vernacular schools should be regarded as a wealthy resource for the nation. The aspiration of parents of all ethnicity for such diversity is reflected in the 19.75% of other ethnic group students enrolled in the SJKC schools (Source: MOE statistics, 2020) and the popularity of SJKC, Missionary and Chinese Conforming schools too. This is reflected in heterogeneous student enrolment and teachers in vernacular schools versus a homogeneous outlook in ONE race in SK Kebangsaan schools.

Value(s) and Belief(s):

The value of appreciation for diversity in vernacular schools which should be inculcated in all schools by the Government of Malaysia.

Proposal of Solution:

Advance national competitiveness using the inherent diversity of the Vernacular school system as a wealthy resource. It serves as the magnet to attract foreign investment in the country both from the West and the East. Political masterminds, behind the right-wing NGO allegations, seeking court injunctions to end the vernacular schooling system in the country have to be sanctioned in the coming election.
The dedicated leadership of the Board of governors and generosity of the alumni to assist, support and sponsor the infrastructure and financial needs of school in Missionary, Chinese Conforming and Chinese Independent Schools speaks the essence of education. That is to transmit love, care and values to safeguard the heritage of culture or ethos by means of social modelling and thus sustain schools and churn out aspiring students and thoughtful alumni and leaders for the community.
Similarly the use of English to teach Science and Maths under the Dual Language Program in the secondary vernacular schools is regarded as a viable alternative to produce students who are bilingual with a Malaysian identity. This is the aspiration embedded in the Malaysian Education Blueprint.
To the Malay students enrolled in the Chinese conforming schools, the wide use of Mandarin in school provides language immersion to students, enabling them to be trilingual competent in Mandarin, English and Malay. Similarly the Chinese students benefitted from learning together with the Malay students. This is a wealthy resource to be tapped in vernacular schools, represented by diversity of ethics, language and culture. It helps to provide wider alternatives and choices to students in higher education and overseas job markets.

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