KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 26 ― The Selangor and Kuala Lumpur Hokkien Association today accused the Education Ministry of deliberately sidelining Chinese vernacular primary schools’ (SJKC) committees in the introduction of jawi into vernacular schools.
In a statement, the association said the government’s move to arbitrarily enforce the introduction of the script in every SJKC was very disappointing and urged the Pakatan Harapan government to obtain approval from the school committees of SJKCs before implementation.
“The power to make decisions on the introduction of jawi is made solely by the Parent-Teacher Association (PIBG) and parents with the only condition 51 per cent of them agreeing. The SJKCs school committee is not given any power to make such a decision.
“Such a move have undermined the position of the SJKCs school committees and weaken the sovereignty of the school committees,” it said, adding that such a policy would erode SJKCs and cause a crisis of deterioration.
It explained that the school committees or board of directors were the most important part in maintaining Chinese education as they were stakeholders of the SJKCs.
The association also cited Section 53 of the Education Act which stipulated that SJKC must provide a governing body with a chairman for the management of the education institution and therefore the most crucial representation in SJKCs by law.
“These board members are representatives from the Chinese community and they represent the local SJKCs voice. Therefore, the board of directors must be respected as the decision-maker for anything which concerned the school and should not be excluded.
“Yet, the Education Ministry’s move looks to be intentionally sidelining the committees and undermine their position.
“For as long as there are controversial issues surrounding vernacular school education, the committee will always be at the forefront to defend the rights and interests of SJKCs,” it said.
It said the Pakatan Harapan government must respect and acknowledge the decision of the schools’ board of directors and Dong Zong in the education sector before urging the government to bring change to the hegemonic education system which has been criticised by the Chinese community for decades.
“Reviewing and correction of educational policy should be carried out in detail in a fair manner. The government should take into account the reasonable demands of the majority of the people by not implementing jawi script introduction to Year 4 students without adequate dialogue and discussion,” it said.
The association also voiced support for the closed-door consultative congress organised by Dong Zong this week and urged its delegations to partake in the December 28 meeting.