Gerakan National Deputy Youth Chief, Andy Yong voiced his support over a call by Organisation for National Empowerment (ONE) for English to be given equal emphasis to Bahasa Malaysia and facilitate the realization of a socially inclusive education system.
Andy Yong was supportive of the idea that gradually moving away from vernacular schools is the way forward to create a more integrated Malaysian society. He shared his experience of personally conducting a survey nationwide consulting different groups and communities on the topic and was pleased to learn that many were receptive towards the idea of establishing a socially inclusive education system.
Andy Yong continued to stress that Malaysia’s rich diversity must be reflected in our education system. He said different cultures and mother tongues are common heritage that should be allowed to thrive and taught in all schools on equal footing. Opportunity to learn extra languages of fellow Malaysians should be provided to our children in regular curriculum through integrated trilingual teaching instead of mere extracurricular classes as practiced now in schools.
“I realize many Malaysians envision a day when our children regardless of racial or cultural differences possess trilingual mastery, they get to learn Bahasa Malaysia, Mandarin and Tamil in schools irrespective of education streams. The right to mother tongue education is guaranteed under the integrated system while the building of Bangsa Malaysia is more real than ever before, debates surrounding national or national-type schools will eventually become irrelevant,” said Andy Yong.
Andy Yong said the government should make more effort to understand the reservations and negative perception that public hold against national schools. He maintained that the gap between national schools and vernacular schools must be overcome to facilitate the realization of a socially inclusive education system. He said after several meetings and consultations, many parents have spoken their willingness to consider sending their children to national schools if its academic standards and quality of teachers are on par or better than vernacular schools. He also asserted that the principles of merit and equity should be applied in nation schools to evoke public confidence and encourage enrolment.