Malaysia

Vernacular schools a scapegoat for disunity, says Pua

Standard One students line up for their first day of school. — file picStandard One students line up for their first day of school. — file picPETALING JAYA, June 25 — Vernacular schools have been unfairly painted as a contributing factor for the country’s weak racial integration, DAP MP Tony Pua said today.

Instead, Pua claimed the increasing popularity of vernacular schools among Malaysians was because of the deteriorating standards of the national schools.

“Vernacular education has been blamed for splitting society. I understand why it exists, and why it is popular,” said the DAP publicity chief.

“It is not because most parents love the Chinese language. It is because national schools are hopeless in quality, and by sending their children there, parents are worried that their kids will have no future,” Pua said during the launch of his book “The Tiger that Lost Its Roar” here today.

The Petaling Jaya Utara MP lamented the severe decline of national schools, pointing out that the teaching system had changed drastically over the past few decades.

He charged that the existing education system created a “layer of separation” by sending top Malay students to Mara government boarding schools.

This, he said, left the “second and third tier” of Malay students to compete against the other races in national schools.

“Let us take away the vernacular school debate...let’s focus on quality. I think that if a school system can guarantee a solid education and placing at an excellent university, parents won’t care whether it’s national and vernacular,” added Pua to rousing applause from the crowd of 150 in attendance.

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