Thursday, March 23, 2006

The strange priorities of our Education Ministry

It was reported in the NST website today that our Education Ministry is seeking a special (& substantial) allocation under the 9th Malaysia Plan to upgrade school fields nationwide.

I don't have any problems with improving our school fields. Just that it seems strange that this should be the priority of the new Deputy Education Minister Datuk Noh Omar. My guess is that perhaps he has not made an in-depth study of the files of shame that's gathering dust at the Education Ministry.

In the Aliran monthly issue 2005:Vol.25No.8, P. Ramakrishnan reported that out of 4,036 national schools, 794 were without electricity and 1,555 without toilet facilities.

Shocking, isn't it?

That works out to nearly 20% of our national schools not having electricity connection. That effectively also means that these schools and their students, almost all from the rural districts, were sidelined from the national policy of developing e-knowledge to equip all students to face global challenges in this new millenium.

And this is even more shocking - almost 39% of national schools are without toilet facilities.

I can't imagine how the teachers and students of these schools cope each time they need to ease themselves during school hours.

Do they have to go into the nearby bushes, or perhaps carry an umbrella to protect their dignity?

And I'm pretty sure these same schools have a huge problem with clean piped water supply.

To quote Mr Ramakrishnan himself:-

"How do these students wash themselves, ease themselves, and keep themselves clean? When schools are expected to teach cleanliness and the need to eradicate diseases, how was this neglect tolerated?

We need to know how this pathetic state of affairs arose. Practically all those schools were rural schools, mostly attended by poor Malay children.

Was it a lack of expertise that led to those schools being deprived of electricity and toilet facilities?

Was it a shortage of funds and allocations? Was it indifference to the education of rural children?

How did UMNO, ever ready to advance every Malay interest, permit this neglect?

... In the name of the NEP and improving the economic position of the Malay community, ... has the re-distribution only benefitted cronies and well-connected elites - rather than the deserving children of fisherfolk and farmers?

When rural schools can't be properly equipped with electricity and toilet facilities, what's the point of talking about '30% equity', 'APs' and the 'new national agenda'?

Or are we talking about 2 sets of standards - one towering set for well-connected wannabees and one depressingly low set for the cable-less ordinaries?"

This is why I find it strange that our Education Ministry is now seeking substantial funds from the Federal Govt to improve school fields while so many other students in rural areas continue to study under such harsh conditions.

No wonder most teachers dread being posted to rural schools. Those kind of working conditions are the stuff of nightmares.

But we don't hear these stories of neglect in our mainstream media, do we?

That is NEP and Agenda Melayu for you. In the REAL world.

Cemerlang, Gemilang dan Terbilang??

Let's shout it again ... and again.


Update (@5:05pm): It was reported in The SUN today that the govt is spending RM1.15 billion to provide security at the 7,225 schools nationwide for 3 years.

Datuk Mohd Noh Omar said 128 security companies are providing the services. One-year contracts to supply guards cost the ministry RM290 million while 3-year contracts for high-risk schools cost RM865 million.

My appeal to the government: Can we also have an allocation of RM1.15 billion to provide 794 schools with much-needed electricity supply and 1,555 schools with even greater need for proper toilet facilities for the next 3 years?

Is this too much to ask for the poor little boys and girls who will also one day inherit Malaysia along with the more privileged kids who need additional security protection in mostly urban schools?



Blogger Maverick SM said...

I hope your plea is heard by the moronic ministers who stayed at big bungalows in the city and sent their children to schools in Australia and Britain.

23/3/06 22:31  
Blogger marvin said...

i have to disagree with the word "strange"...

if we are to look deeper into the motivation behind the government's's easy too see why

providing electricity to a rural school faraway in Sook isn't as profitable as giving out 3 years security concessions to security companies owned by guess who, blood and business relatives of politicians.

Expect a new hooh hah, schoolgirls asked to do squate by pak guards.
"If they don't like the pak guards, they should leave the country!!"

24/3/06 00:40  
Blogger Anak Merdeka said...

Mave, I feel deep sadness each time I face up to the facts of life in this country and the bullshit coming out from the mouths of our BN leaders all the time.

None of the BN politicians give a damn to the plight of these poor and deprived folks.

Forget about "working with me", "tell me the truth" and all the rest of the crap.

All they are interested in is lining their pockets while they are still in the position to do so.

And Marvin, I only use the word "strange" because I am too polite to put in writing certain choice words which would have been more fitting to describe these morons, like *%%^/@* and */@&%!

At times like this, I can understand the depressing mood of the other Marvin from the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe.


I'm lightening up a bit now - don't know why but your name always conjures up the image of the android in my head! hehe... don't get offended, 'kay? I actually DO like Marvin the android as portrayed in the movie!

24/3/06 14:49  

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