KUALA LUMPUR: KUALA LUMPUR: Educationists believe that while it is understandable for people to be defensive about matters relating to race, it is important for everyone to work towards a common goal of a united Malaysia.
Mohd Hafidz Hussein, 73, a former teacher and former Education Technology lecturer from Universiti Utara Malaysia, wants clearer heads to prevail over the idea of embracing national schools as well as that of a mixed campus.
Hafidz wants parents to change their way of looking at the idea.
“If you look at this idea from a racial viewpoint, people will have differing opinions and reactions.
“You must look at the idea’s goal, which is to foster unity among the races. We live in a multiracial country where we cannot avoid encountering and mixing with each other. How do we learn about one another?
“There must be a common point that we learn from each other so there will not be any miscommunication that can cause problems for the country.
“This idea has an excellent goal of connecting the races, starting with our children. I support this plan and hopefully, it can come to fruition.”
A retired Malay teacher from Kedah, who did not want to be identified, supports the idea but urged the government to be aware of racial sensitivities.
“The idea of fostering unity through this endeavour is good, but they shouldn’t take this lightly.
“Races are particular about their vernacular schools.
“Our leaders must understand why these schools exist. They preserve the communities’ language and culture.
“This attempt to put vernacular schools together with national schools can be seen as a move to dilute the importance of Chinese and Tamil schools and, eventually, abolish these schools.
“They don’t trust the government and you can’t blame them because, all this while, there have been people calling for vernacular schools to be closed.”
Students, however, were more open to the idea.
Muhammad Asil Basti Mohamad Fadzli, 14, from Methodist Boys’ Secondary School Kuala Lumpur (MBBSKL), said uniting schools in a single campus was one way of uniting races.
“This can be complemented with students needing to learn Bahasa Melayu, Mandarin and Tamil to strengthen unity.”
MBBSKL student Locchanan Ramesh, 16, agreed with this view.
“This could be the best move for Malaysia because Malaysia has many cultures and religions.
“With this approach, we can be together and study together, which is what Malaysia should be about.”
Erica Jacqueline, 17, from SMK Assunta in Petaling Jaya said there was a need to strengthen the bonds between the races. “We could learn so much from each other in terms of language and culture.”