Tamil school education is something that our Indian community is proud of!
There is pervasive educational dysfunctionality among young Malaysian Indians, especially in both Tamil and National schools. However, a major and pertinent question remains etched on our minds, why do the majority of Indians choose to remain in shackles of generational poverty?
With a total enrollment of over 100,000, there are 524 Tamil schools in Malaysia. In reality, Tamil school students perform much worse than their national school and Chinese school peers is an undisputed fact.
Some claim that by increasing support and upgrading school infrastructure, the quality of Tamil schools can be rectified. In the last two decades, the enrollment of children in Tamil schools has risen tremendously. The performance of their children is improving as more and more middle-class Indian families send their children to Tamil schools.
The performance of Tamil school students, mainly children of estate employees, was not up to the expectation for the past few decades after Malaysia was granted independence.
With that being said, attempts to close Tamil schools have been etched. Adding up to the fact that some Indian politicians also went around saying that Tamil schools were hindering Indian students success and they should be shut down. The support for Tamil education has gained momentum with the passing of time and with increased awareness.
In addition, with the increased ethnic and religious polarisation in national schools rearing its ugly head, more parents feel the need to send their children to Tamil schools, thus resulting in a boom in Tamil school enrolment.
Every year, some of the well-known Tamil schools have massive student enrolments, so they have to drive away parents from enrolling their children in Tamil schools. This was a far cry from the early days when teachers and headmasters had to go around convincing parents that Tamil education was of great importance for the Indian community, hence preserving the language for the generations to come.
In 1960, there were more than 1000 Tamil schools in Malaysia however, slowly the number declined to half of the total amount. There are still Tamil school shortages in states like Perak, Johor and Negeri Sembilan. There is concern that these schools will face a possibility of being closed down if admission continue to decrease or if the school infrastructure is not upgraded.
Looking from the angle of economic importance to the nation, the importance of preserving Tamil schools should not be jeopardised. The right for Malaysian Indians to be educated in their mother-tongue is fundamental in order for them to understand better the values and significance of the Tamil language.