Teaching, Learning BM In Tamil Schools Need To Be Revised – Study
By Chandravathani Sathasivam
KUALA LUMPUR, June 24 - The teaching and learning of Bahasa Malaysia at the primary level in Tamil schools, should be revised and improved to ensure students acquire basic literacy in the subject, before completing their primary education, according to a study.
The study found that at least 40 percent of students who complete six years of education in Tamil schools, fail to obtain a minimum grade C in Bahasa Malaysia in the UPSR examinations, to proceed to Form 1.
The six-month study by Education, Welfare and Research Foundation (EWRF), an educational non-governmental organisation, was conducted on remove class students from Tamil vernacular schools nationwide to explore the effectiveness of remove classes in Malaysia’s education system.
Coordinator for the Action Plan for Future of Tamil Schools, Professor Dr N.S Rajendran said in the beginning remove classes were compulsory and introduced to all students from vernacular schools as a platform to acquire proficiency in Bahasa Malaysia and English language .
“However, the irony is that despite given an extra year, these students end up not mastering the languages but instead use their mother-tongue in most cases since they are separated from the main-stream and are required to interact among themselves,” he said while tabling the findings of the study here today.
However, about 90 percent of these students obtain good grades in Science and Mathematics, Dr Rajendran said.
Recommending initiatives to provide a total-approach, he said that remove classes need to be phased out in stages starting January 2013 and completely abolished by December 2015, in order to allow students to proceed to Form 1.
With this approach, he explained that the students would be allowed to be in the main-stream and are provided with the equal opportunities as their peers for interaction and learning.
“Intervention programmes should be introduced to identify students who fail to acquire basic proficiency in Bahasa Malaysia and English language by the end of Year 3 of their primary schools.
“Teachers should not wait till they complete their primary education to realise that they lack basic proficiency in these languages,” he added.
“If their deficiencies are identified early, intervention programmes could be introduced sooner to ensure that those who fail to acquire basic proficiency in Bahasa Malaysia after six years of education, are reduced to less than five per cent,” he said.
Under the intervention programmes, Dr Rajendran said less than 25 students should be placed in each class, to allow time and space for teachers to pay special attention to students who cannot master the languages.
Meanwhile, EWRF’s president Datuk A Yogesvaran said that this study was the first major initiative to investigate in detail, the effectiveness of remove class and make appropriate recommendations to the Ministry of Education.
“Last August, EWRF organised a Round Table Discussion to address this issue and upon obtaining the approval from the Ministry of Education in September, we set up a research task force team to carry out the study,” he said.
He said the study report was presented to the Ministry of Education last Thursday and the ministry was expected to call for further dialogue next month.