The concerns involving Tamil education in Malaysia demonstrates the importance of Tamil language growth and future. Paraman (2011) described a slew of issues relating to Tamil education in Malaysia Today, which emphasises how Tamil education in Malaysia continues to face dire issues despite the country’s rapid growth.
According to the Education Ministry statistics, the number of teachers in Tamil schools has dropped by 281 over the last two years. A recent research indicates there were 9,154 teachers in Tamil schools across the country in 2018. In 2019, the number had dropped to 8,873 people.
Meanwhile, in 2018, the enrolment in Tamil schools declined from 81,488 to 81,321.
So, what are the factors of major decline in Tamil education?
First and foremost, low enrolment of students in Tamil vernacular primary schools is one of the most serious problems that continues to plague Tamil education (SJKT). Even after nearly 60 years of independence, Tamil schools in the country are in a pathetic state. There are approximately 523 Tamil schools in the region, but some schools, especially in states such as Perak, Johor, and Negri Sembilan, do not have enough students and the majority of them are not only under-resourced but also lack basic infrastructure.
There is concern that if enrolment does not rise or if services do not expand, these schools will be forced to close. Its survival and continuation cannot be determined solely by its monetary worth to the world. Malaysian Indians have a constitutional right to receive education in their mother tongue.
A large portion of the Indian community are not sending their children to Tamil schools and most of them keep wondering what’s the necessity of sending them to Tamil schools. From my point of view, the answer is very simple which we want to breed a winning horse to protect our language and culture.
These Tamil schools pale in contrast to the country’s well-equipped national and Chinese schools. Tamil education has been taken for granted to the point that even the Tamil community has reluctantly acknowledged its inevitable death.
We must acknowledge that Tamil schools are valuable assets in our society which are essential as the temples. If the society will unite behind Tamil schools in the same way as they unite behind temples, we will have an educational institution to be proud of.