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Roundtable Conference of Malaysian Parliamentarians

Presentation on the Future of Tamil Schools In Malaysia

Date Time Venue

: 27th June 2011 (Monday) : 11.30am : Parliament House

Opening : Dato’ Seri Nazri Aziz Minister in Prime Minister’s Dept.


Tamil Schools Play an Important Role Developing Talent for Malaysia Education in Mother Tongue is a Sound Policy and a Right

Benefits of Tamil Education

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Research shows that children learn best if they are taught in their first language; for Malaysian children who habitually speak Tamil at home, Tamil Schools are the right choice Sound primary education provides talent for national development Nurtures a dynamic, multi-linguistic, multicultural national identify for Malaysia, which is a net positive in today’s global village Gives an edge in strengthening ties with regional economies

In primary school, curriculum should be taught in the minority language; official language should be taught as a subject by bilingual teachers with understanding of the children's cultural and linguistic background
Hague Recommendations on the Educational Rights of National Minorities (1993)

Mother tongue instruction is essential for initial instruction and literacy, and should be extended to as late a stage in education as possible
UNESCO Education Position Paper : Education in a Multilingual World (2003)
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Tamil Schools Serve Over 100,000 Primary and Preschool Children

Basic Facts

Schools and Students Over since 1938

Students (in thousands)

80 60

600 500 400

40 20

300 200 100

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No. of Student

No. of School

Today, there are 523 Tamil Schools catering to 102,642 primary students
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Source: EMiS, MOE; Tamil Foundation Research Unit

No. of Schools

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Total Schools: 523 Students: 102,642 Classes: 4,728 Teachers: 8,921 Urban Schools: 168 (32%) Government Schools (Bantuan Penuh): 152 (29%) Low Enrolment Schools: 332 (63%) Overpopulated Schools: 15 (3%) Preschool Annex: 147 (28%) Preschool Students: 3,960 Computer Labs: 157 (30%) UPSR Pass Rate: 49.5%

900 800




Issue 1: Shortage of Trained and Graduate Teachers in Tamil Schools
Facts about Teachers
Teacher Status Across School Types
31% of SK teachers are graduates and only 2% are GSTT; whereas the figures are 19% and 18% for Tamil Schools

10th Malaysia Plan targets 60% graduate teachers in primary schools by 2015; however, only 19% teachers in Tamil Schools do so in 2011 The percentage of untrained teachers (Guru Sandaran Tidak Terlatih) make up 18% of teachers in Tamil Schools; 16% of all GSTTs are in Tamil Schools

80.0% 60.0% 40.0% 20.0% 0.0% SK Graduate College SJKC GSTT SJKT

Graduate Teachers

College-Trained Teachers

Untrained Teachers (GSTT)
16% of the GSTT teachers in the MOE system serve at Tamil Schools

SJKC 11%

SJKC 17%


SK 42% SJKT 16%

SJKC 42%

SK 86%

SK 79%

Source: EMiS, MOE; Tamil Foundation Research Unit

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Issue 2: 63% of Tamil Schools are Under-enrolled (< 150 students)
Facts about Student Population Teacher Status Across School Types
In 2010, 84% of Indian population live in urban areas; however only 32% Tamil Schools are urban
90.0% 80.0% 70.0% 60.0% 50.0% 40.0%

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Between 1970 and 2010, plantation community has largely been displaced to urban areas due to rapid development Over 50% of Tamil Schools are still located in plantations; the vast majority of them have fewer than 150 students 68 schools (13%) have fewer than 25 students, and on the verge of closure

Schools and Student Population
140 120 100 80 60 40 20 0 Schools

30.0% 20.0% 10.0% 0.0%





Student Range Source: EMiS, MOE; Tamil Foundation Research Unit

2010 Population
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Issue 2: Rural Areas have too many Schools whereas Urban Areas do not have Sufficient Schools
Facts about Student Population Schools with 25 or less Students

Under-enrolment is acute in certain areas compared to others; Baling, Krian, Hilir Perak, Muar, and Kota Tinggi districts have seen drop in Indian population Districts like Timur Laut, Kinta, Petaling Jaya, Klang, Gombak, Ulu Langat, Johor Bahru, has seen increase in Indian population and need additional schools

Schools and Student Population
Schools 100 50 0 30 20 10 0 Students (in thousands) 150 40



Source: EMiS, MOE; Tamil Foundation Research Unit

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Issue 3: Tamil Schools are Hobbled by Land Related Issues
Facts about Tamil School Land Land Status of Tamil Schools
29% of Tamil Schools are located on land held by the Federal Land Commissioner for MOE; 9% are under state governments; 35% are in plantations; only 2% of the school land is owned by the school Own Land 2%

The JPBD Planning standards state that a primary school with 400 student population must have 5 to 8 acres of land; except for a few Tamil Schools, the majority Tamil Schools have 2 acres or less; there are also schools with barely 0.25 acres Many Tamil Schools do not know their school boundaries

Unknown 11% MOE 29%

Government and Govt. Aided Schools
For a school to become fully-aided government school, the land title must be handed to the Ministry of Education (MOE)
Government (Penuh) 29% Govt. Aided (Modal) 71%

Plantation 35% Private 14% State Govt. 9%

Source: EMiS, MOE; Tamil Foundation Research Unit

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Issue 4: Tamil Schools lack Facilities and Amenities for Proper Implementation of Curriculum
Facts about Tamil School Facilities Preschool Annex by School Type
88% of National Schools (SK) have preschools; whereas only 28% Tamil Schools do. In terms of students, too, the preschool annex serves 24% of SK students and only 12% of SJKT students
100.0% 90.0% 80.0% 70.0% 60.0% 50.0% 40.0% 30.0%
Schools with a Computer Lab 30%

Uncertainty in land ownership and low student enrolment has resulted in the MOE not investing sufficiently in Tamil Schools to upgrade the facilities The majority Tamil Schools do not have sufficient number of preschools, activity rooms, labs, teacher rooms, meeting rooms, etc.; many lack even playing fields

Computer Labs in Tamil Schools
The majority of Tamil Schools do not have a computer lab even though it is required for the proper implementation of the National curriculum

20.0% 10.0% 0.0%

Schools without a Computer Lab 70%

Schools SK SJKC

Students SJKT

Source: EMiS, MOE; Tamil Foundation Research Unit

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Solution 1: Land for Tamil Schools

Each Tamil School On Its Own Land Per JPBD Planning Guidelines

A mismatch between the demand for and supply of Tamil Schools exists today; Tamil Schools are located in rural areas that have suffered emigration. Urban areas with high concentration of Indian Malaysians do not have sufficient schools. The following are recommended: The various State Governments – particularly Selangor, Johor, Penang, Kedah and Perak – to alienate land for new Tamil Schools in areas with high Indian concentration (Klang district in Selangor alone, for example, needs another 10 new Tamil Schools) Land that is under the State Government to be transferred to the respective Tamil School Board of Trustees Plantations to allow relocation of Tamil Schools to a more suitable location within plantation (e.g. relocation next to a town centre or main road) The land requirement should be per the JPBD Planning Standards and be between 3 – 8 acres as per the student population and future growth
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Solution 2: Infrastructure, Facilities and Amenities

Conducive Learning Environment for all Tamil Schools

Between 2008-2011, the Federal Government has spent ~RM300 million to upgrade Tamil School infrastructure. While it was a major improvement, gaps remain, and school infrastructure needs ongoing maintenance and new schools need to be established. The following are recommended: To set up a Tamil School Development Board that includes representatives of government and stakeholders from schools and community (e.g. Tamil Foundation, Persatuan Guru Besar SJKT, Persatuan Lembaga Pengelola SJKT) to plan and execute the long-term development needs of Tamil Schools. The body shall receive funds from the government and channel it through the respective school boards to set up new schools or upgrade facilities The state governments to consider providing allocation for infrastructure development through the school boards (Lembaga Pengelola Sekolah) instead of the Parent-Teacher Associations (PIBG)

Source: Tamil Foundation Research Unit

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Solution 3: Teacher Training

Student Outcomes are Determined by Teacher Quality

Shortage of trained teachers in Tamil Schools has been a perennial problem. Further, the in-service training provided to teachers, too, is often insensitive to Tamil School situation and Tamil School student needs. The following are recommended: To increase the places allocated (under KPLSPM and KPLI schemes) in Teacher Training Institutes for Tamil School teachers to ~600 to address teacher shortage and to replace retiring teachers To allocate sufficient spaces in the ‘Program Khas Pengsiswazaan Guru’ (PKPG) so that the target of 60% graduate teachers in primary schools is achieved on time, and Tamil and Mandarin medium schools do not fall behind Alternatively, the Government may consider setting up a Tamil Teacher Training Institute as a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) under NKEA Education EPP4. The Institute shall provide both pre- and in-service teacher training per the MOE requirements
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Solution 4: Preschools and Computer Labs

Quality Preschool Increase Student Success in School and Beyond

NKRA and NKEA target preschool enrolment of 87% by 2012 and 97% by 2020. However, Tamil School preschool annexes only serve 12% of student population. Considering the entire Indian preschoolers, only 61% of them were attending preschools in 2010. Even with the set up of 8 new preschools catering to ~200 additional children in 2012, shortage will remain. The following is recommended: The MOE should to set up 800 new preschool classrooms before 2015 to fully address need. Alternative: MOE allows the set up of private preschools within Tamil Schools, under School Board management, and provide financial support per the NKEA Education EPP1. IT Literacy is a must for 21st century workforce, and the National Curriculum has incorporated ICT lessons. However, only 30% schools have labs. The following are recommended: To set up labs in all Tamil schools with over 50 students. Alternative: collaborate with school boards to set up computer labs as a PPP scheme.
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Source: EMiS, MOE; NKRA; NKEA; Tamil Foundation Research Unit