THE Malaysian Indian Congress has always given priority to education, particularly the condition of the Tamil schools and the academic achievements of the pupils, its president Datuk Seri S Samy Vellu said.
He added that it is only through educational excellence that Indians can attain upward social mobility and advancement in society.
“Pre-school and primary school education is foundational and with success at this level, our children and youth can venture into higher levels of educational achievements with self-esteem and confidence,” he said before presenting the President's Merit Award to 202 Tamil school pupils who scored 7As in the 2002 UPSR exams recently.
Samy Vellu said the MIC has adopted a two-prong strategy in addressing the issues and concerns of Tamil school education, with infrastructure developments like rebuilding schools or improving existing facilities and upgrading and improving the teaching and learning processes.
He said the MIC has developed a National Development Action Plan to rebuild at least 200 schools over the next 10 years as the improvement of buildings and provision of modern facilities on par with that of national schools will further enhance the image and unleash the full potential of Tamil schools.
“MIC’s efforts in improving the quality of teaching and learning centres around strengthening the leadership ability of headmasters and in motivating and equipping teachers. This has been facilitated in a number of ways, such as through a headmasters' colloquium, teachers' seminars, and the preparation of supplementary educational materials and guides,” Samy Vellu said.
Out of 13,690 students from Tamil schools who sat for the 2002 UPSR exams, 202 students reached the height of their achievements by scoring 7As, an improvement on the 2001 UPSR results where 165 students obtained 7As.
The 7As scorers, more than half of whom are girls, come from 113 Tamil schools in eight states, including 29.2% from Selangor, and 20.8% from Perak
SJK (T) Sg Renggam, Shah Alam, Selangor, produced seven 7As students, followed by SJK (T) Bandar Mentakab, Pahang, SJK (T) Saraswathy, Sg Petani, Kedah, and SJK (T) Kajang, Selangor, with six students each.
Samy Vellu said there has been marked improvement in the overall UPSR results, with 81.1% in passes in Mathematics and 74.7%passes in Science.
He said these results indicate the success in collaborative efforts between schools, parents, voluntary groups and the MIC.
Meanwhile, a survey conducted by the MIC-owned Social Strategic Foundation shows that 56.5% of the 202 students come from urban Tamil schools.
“Awareness on education among the poor and low-income group has risen so drastically that about 51.8% of the students are from low-income families, while about 48% of the students come from the middle-income group,” said YSS executive director Dr Denison Jayasooria.
As for the students' parents, “only 15% of the fathers and 12% of the mothers have attained tertiary level education,” he said.
Jayasooria added that the findings show most of the parents in the low income group realise the importance of education for their children.