Yap: Education blueprint launch to go ahead despite protests

Yap during her stint as SM Teknik Tawau’s principal.

PUTRAJAYA - The Malaysian Educa­tion Blueprint 2013-2025 will be launched tomorrow despite protests from the United Chinese School Committees' Association of Malaysia (Dong Zong), said Deputy Education Minister Datuk Mary Yap.

Hitting out at Dong Zong for its allegations against the blueprint, Yap said the group had largely misinterpreted the matter when they alleged that the Government intended to sideline vernacular education.

"It has always been the policy of many countries to ensure that students do well in the national language. What is so wrong with the proposal to enhance the teaching and learning of Bahasa Malaysia?

"An analysis of the Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah results showed that pupils from Chinese vernacular schools have not been performing well in Bahasa Malaysia.

"That is why the Government proposed that extra minutes be added to Bahasa Malaysia lessons," she told reporters after presenting cheques totalling RM30mil to 78 school principals from SMJKs (known as conforming schools, which refers to Chinese secondary schools under the national curriculum).

Dong Zong has protested against the blueprint, stating that the proposal to increase lesson time for Bahasa Malaysia from 270 to 300 minutes for lower primary and 180 to 270 minutes for upper primary pupils was a move to eliminate mother tongue education.

Yap assured that the increase in the lesson time for Bahasa Malaysia would not be at the expense of Mandarin or Tamil lessons.

She said the blueprint received international recognition from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) and that all parties should support its implementation.

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin met with representatives from the Federation of Chinese Associations Malaysia (Hua Zong), United Chinese School Teachers' Association (Jiao Zong) and the National Vernacular Chinese School Heads Association on Tuesday for their feedback on the blueprint.

Those groups had proposed that the weekly lesson time for Bahasa Malaysia be capped at 210 minutes.

It was reported that the meeting came to a favourable conclusion with the groups satisfied with the assurance given by the Government that vernacular education would not be eradicated in the blueprint.

On government aid for conforming schools, Yap said the funds should be used to improve school infrastructure, adding that a monthly report must be submitted to the ministry on the progress.

On the fate of graduate teachers who have yet to receive their posting, Yap advised them to be proactive in seeking jobs in private schools while waiting for their letters.