200 years of Tamil Education in Malaysia is commemorated by Prime Minister Najib Razak

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Press Release

This year 2016 marks 200 years of Tamil Schools education in Malaysia. The importance of this 200 years journey of Tamil Education in the Country will be commemorated with the Prime Minister signature plaques placed in all Tamil Schools. GOPIO welcomes the Prime Minister’s acknowledgment on the role of Tamil Schools’ providing education and cultural development for Malaysia Indians.

Tamil is one of the oldest language in the world and is declared a classical language by UNESCO. Outside India Malaysia has the 2nd largest Tamil speaking population in the world, next to Sri Lanka. Tamil is also widely spoken in more than 30 countries worldwide.

In the early 1900’s, when schools were a scarcity in Malaya, the introduction of plantation Tamil Schools provided the rudimentary of schooling for the children of the Indian plantation workers. However, since post-independence (1957), Tamil schools were on the bottom of priorities in the government’s Education budget and the promotion of Tamil School education was negligible.

The number of registered Tamil schools were reduced from about 800 to the current 524. Tamil School education in Malaysia has been in the backwaters of primary school education for a number of decades. To overcome this negligible support for Tamil Schools in the last 35 years, a large number of individuals, organisations, and the Tamil media have worked consistently to improve the quality of Tamil School education.

Recent years of government support under Prime Minister Najib Razak has provided capital funds for new buildings and an increase in the number of trained graduate teachers. The establishment of the Action Plan Unit for the Future of Tamil Schools headed by Prof Datuk Dr. N.S.Rajendran, under the Prime Minister’s Department is an important development for Tamil Schools in Malaysia. In the last three years 7 more new schools have been approved with grants for construction.

The Primary Tamil School education is now poised for a positive trajectory growth, as it has broken through the vicious circle of failures in the past. The recent trend of improved schools performances is witnessed in the increase in students enrolment and improved UPSR results. These are good indicators of a breakthrough of Tamil Schools from the vicious circle of failures. This positive new trends must be sustained.

Continuous improvement in Tamil Schools calls for increased support from the Government and the Indian Community. Strong self-help schemes by the Community is essential, on top of the support from the Government.

GOPIO will provide new education support programs that will synergize the Tamil School development and growth. GOPIO is teaming up with like-minded organizations and individuals, to provide additional momentum for ‘Synergizing Tamil School Growth’. About 10 thrust programmes, when proven effective, will be offered freely to NGOs and Schools for implementation in Tamil Schools.

GOPIO congratulates Deputy Education Minister P.Kamalanathan for his efforts in organizing the celebration of 200 years of Tamil education in the Country.

A Ravendiran Arjunan
GOPIO Malaysia.