Lim Kit Siang expresses disappointment at the lukewarm attitude of Chinese educational organisations to the grave problem of mass failures in Chinese primary schools

Message by DAP Secretary-General and Member of Parliament For Bandar Melaka, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, to the seminar on “The falling educational standards of Chinese primary schools” organised by the Perak DAP State Chinese Education Sub-committee held at the DAP Perak Office in Ipoh on Saturday, 2nd September 1972 at 9 p.m.

Lim Kit Siang expresses disappointment at the lukewarm attitude of Chinese educational organisations to the grave problem of mass failures in Chinese primary schools

It is about six weeks ago that the DAP first exposed a well-guarded Alliance and MCA secret about the shockingly low standard of education in our schools. For the first time in years, the parents and the public have become aware of the painful truth that their children are wasting their years of education and the parents’ years of sacrifice in schools, for the educational system is designed to produce mass failures.

As the education of our children, which will affect their entire future in terms of job employment and place in society, is a grave national problem, transcending above party politics, sectional interests or class interests, I had called on the Chinese educational organisations such as the Federation of Boards of Governors of Chinese schools, the Chinese Teachers’ Federation, the various Chinese teachers’ organisations, the Chinese School Old Boys’ Associations, the Parents’ Association of Chinese Schools, to actively take up this matter to work out an action programme to get the government to apply immediate remedies. Unfortunately, I must confess disappointment tonight that there seems to be only lukewarm response from the Chinese educational organisations.

For years, these grave problems of mass failures in our schools have been hidden away from the public knowledge. It is to be expected that the public expose of this well-guarded secret should disturb the MCA, which has been trying to apply all sorts of pressure to try to suppress this issue.

I believe however that the Chinese teachers and educationists can see that they have a larger responsibility to the educational future of the new generation of Malaysians, and that they would fearlessly speak out on this educational issue – as they had fearlessly spoken out on another educational issue very recently, the justice of their fight for improved salaries and terms of service.

I admit there may be one or two teachers who will like to serve the MCA interest in trying to suppress this issue of the educational future of our children. Thus, about a week ago, one Chinese teacher in Perak had stated publicly that 50% failures of our children in Chinese primary schools is nothing surprising especially in view of the automatic promotion system. One would have thought that to such a person, he had expected probably 80% of the students to fail as the natural order of things. He also said that we should not worry too much about Std. V Assessment Examination, as the L.C.E. and M.C.E level are more important in terms of job –opportunities. I am indeed shocked beyond expression that any teacher should ever think that weak primary base has nothing to do with an even weaker secondary school performance. I would like him to tell us how the 50% of the students in Perak who failed the Std. V Assessment Exam last year are ever to pass their L.C.E. or M.C.E.

I do not believe that the majority of the teachers, whether teacher Chinese, English, Tamil or Malay streams, are as irresponsible as this particular Chinese school teacher. The Chinese educational organisations, however, should not dilly-dally any longer. It is rightly said that ‘one inch of time is worth one inchful of gold’ particularly for our children’s sake, and they must bestir themselves from their indifference and apathy to provide leadership for the solution of this grave problem.