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Institutionalizing allocations for independent schools

  • Since the government has reiterated its support for independent high schools, it should turn that verbal promise into firm action and institutionalize the allocations as soon as possible.

Sin Chew Daily

Replying to a question at Dewan Rakyat, education minister Maszlee Malik said his ministry did not prepare the allocations for independent Chinese high schools because these schools were not in the country's national education system.

His statement has since drawn tremendous backlash in the Malaysian society.

In its election manifesto, Pakatan Harapan pledged to provide full recognition for Unified Examination Certificate (UEC), and Mahathir also promised to institutionalize allocations for Chinese primary schools as well as independent high schools.

It is therefore disappointing to note that the new education minister has said no allocations would be provided to independent high schools barely two and a half months after PH came to power.

On Thursday (July 26), the education minister nevertheless clarified that the allocation release mechanism for independent high schools would be incorporated into the overall national financial planning and would be released in the form of "development expenditure".

Maszlee also pointed out that his ministry would discuss with the finance ministry on the need and method of releasing the allocations.

This means that independent Chinese high schools will get government allocations, much to the relief of the local Chinese community.

But more importantly, the PH government must formulate an effective mechanism to institutionalize the allocations for independent high schools as this is what the Malaysian Chinese community really hopes to see.

Indeed during BN's time independent high schools did receive allocations from the government, including RM1 million for four independent high schools in KL in 2011.

During Najib's time, independent high schools in various states also received government allocations.

The thing is, the BN administration failed to draw up a mechanism to institutionalize such allocations.

The keyword here is "institutionalization". While it is good that the government has provided allocations for independent high schools, institutionalization of such allocations will ensure these schools secure the long-term financial support from the government.

Without institutionalizing the allocations, whether the schools will receive allocations in a particular year will very much depend on the government's attitude and prevalent situation. No guarantee of any sort.

It needs to be stressed here that independent high schools have groomed countless of distinguished individuals in this country and have contributed significantly towards the country's educational excellence. The government therefore has the obligation to institutionalize the allocations to ensure the schools' continued development, not to mention this forms part of the election pledges PH made to the local Chinese community.

Despite the ministry's assurance that the PH government is committed to the support of independent high schools, this very issue, along with the delay in recognizing the UEC, may still impact the confidence of the Chinese community.

The government should demonstrate greater sincerity in handling issues pertaining to Chinese education, and should offer some solid actions to show its approval and support of Chinese education.

And since the government has reiterated its support for independent high schools, it should turn that verbal promise into action and institutionalize the allocations as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, UEC recognition must not be delayed any further so that Chinese Malaysians can see the sincerity and determination of the government on this matter.

 

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