I AM writing to express my deep concern with regard to the national primary school curriculum and urge immediate action by the Education Ministry to
equalise and balance out subjects taught in primary schools.
I went to a national school. My parents decided to enrol me in a national school rather than a Tamil primary school.
The racial integration was good as I had friends from other races. We mixed well without knowing what divided us, learned each other’s cultures and celebrated all occasions together.
I took the same decision as my parents and decided to enrol my daughter in a national school without a second thought.
I wanted to give her the opportunity to mix with children from other races. Unfortunately, on the first day of school, we realised she was the only Indian girl in all the Year One classes.
Being positive that she could still mix with other pupils, we took the decision not to pull her out from that school.
Soon, I realised that her timetable was not putting enough emphasis on Science and Mathematics.
Besides that, the Islamic Education subject also takes up four hours a week.
Even parents of Muslim children agreed with me that since their children are attending Al-Quran and Fardhu Ain classes in the evening, national schools should concentrate on subjects like Bahasa Melayu, English, Mathematics and Science.
I found there is truth in what our Prime Minister said that national schools have become religious schools.
I have learned it through personal experience and put my daughter’s future at risk.
If this continues, there won’t be any non-Muslim parents enrolling their children in national schools in future and our vision
for racial integration will remain a dream.
Who is enforcing this timetable? Were enough studies done and engagement with parents carried out prior to introducing it?
If the timetable were to be revamped and focus given to main subjects, I believe more Indians and Chinese will choose to enrol in national schools.
We should recognise the importance of intercultural knowledge in the education environment while appreciating diversity, but at the same time, find ways to get groups from different backgrounds to find common ground in national schools.