Parents should take active and direct interest in the education of their children

Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary- General and Member of Parliament for Bandar Melaka. Mr. Lim Kit Siang, at a DAP Public Really at Pokok Asam, Taiping, on Saturday, 23rd June 1973 at 10 p.m.

Call on Parents to take on active and direct interest in the education of their children if they are not going to be mis- educated and grow up as misfits in society

Under the past Alliance rule for over 15 years, the education in the country has become more and more muddled, with the quality and standards of education deteriorating from year to year.

Parents must take an active and direct interest in the education of their children, if their children are not going to be mis- educated and grow up as misfits in society.

For the last decade, hundreds of thousands of Malaysian youths have gone to school to come out only to join the ranks of the unemployed.

Last year, over 14,000 students failed the MCE merely because of their failure in Bahasa Malaysia although they scored a string of distinction in other subjects. But even those who managed to pass, a M.C.E. certificate is no guarantee for a job. All that the successful candidates can boast of with a M.C.E. certificate is that he is an ‘educated unemployed’ – one ring above the ‘uneducated unemployed’.

A political, economic and educational system which sends out every year tens of thousands of school- leavers direct from class to unemployment is a wasteful, inefficient system, which shows the inability and incapacity of the government leaders to deal with the basic problems of economic development and national reconstruction.

With every passing year, unemployment becomes more and more serious and acute, aggravating the widening of the gap between the haves and have- nots. This is indeed one of the greatest failures of the New Economic Policy and the Second Five Year Malaysian Plan.

Meanwhile, in schools and classrooms, the Alliance education system is producing more and more misfits, who are going to be even less equipped to get jobs and lead a life of dignity and decency.

A look at the primary education system will reveal the seed of future disaster for the new generation of Malaysians.

When Parliament was in session last month, I asked the Minister for Education, Dato Hussein Bin Onn, for detailed results of last year’s Std. V Assessment Examination.

These results vividly illustrate the low quality and standard of education in Malaysian schools.

There continues the high percentage of mass failures in all schools. Thus, taking the state of Perak, the percentage of failures among students in the various type of primary schools are as follow:

Percentage of failures: National- type (English) Primary Schools

Bahasa Malaysia 23.3%
Bahasa Inggeris II 41.4%
Mathematics 37%
Science 38.5%
History- geography 34.3%

Percentage of Failures (Perak)

National- type (Chinese) primary school

Bahasa Malaysia 82%
Bahasa Inggeris I 54.5%
Mathematics 40.9%
Science 32.9%
History- geography 41.2%
Bahasa Cina 53.7%

National primary school

Bahasa Malaysia 18.1%
Bahasa Inggeris I 32.8%
Mathematics 41.1%
Science 34.6%
History- geography 34.5%

National- type(Tamil) primary schools

Bahasa Malaysia 77.9%
Bahasa Inggeris I 47.7%
Mathematics 46.1%
Science 44.3%
History- geography 46.3%
Bahasa Tamil 27.8%

In terms of results, the Chinese primary schools in Perak nave one of the worst results, only matched by the Selangor Chinese primary schools.

There is hardly any appreciable improvement as compared to the previous year’s results.

The results in the English, Tamil and national primary schools are also unsatisfactory, and parents must take a personal interest in the education of their children if their children are not going to spend nine wasted years in the schools.

I also call on the Perak State Education Department to conduct an inquiry into the causes for such high rate of failures, year after year, and to discharge its responsibility by taking urgent remedial action to end the scandalous situation where mass failures is the feature of Malaysian schools.