A senator says many pupils of vernacular schools who must attend Remove Classes are very poor in Bahasa Malaysia.
Senator S Ramakrishnan wants the Education Ministry to transform these classes into an effective transitional bridge so that pupils entering Form One will have a good grasp of Bahasa Malaysia.
The DAP senator said there have been changes in the education system but the Remove Classes have not been touched on the last 55 years.
“Students from vernacular schools who fail to obtain a minimum grade ‘C’ for Bahasa Malaysia in their Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR), are put in Remove Classes for a year before moving on to Form One.”
Pupils in Chinese and Tamil schools take Bahasa Malaysia papers of a lower standard in their UPSR. That’s why their C grade is considered not on par with grade “E” obtained by pupils from national schools.
“In SRJK (T) Bukit Beruntung, Hulu Selangor, out of 72 pupils who completed Standard 6 last year only 25 entered Form One while the rest went to Remove Classes. That’s about 65% of Standard 6 pupils entering Remove Classes due to poor proficiency in Bahasa Malaysia.
“I am surprised that this very high number of Tamil pupils going to Remove Classes due to poor proficiency in Bahasa Malaysia did not raise alarm bell among Tamil school teachers, headmasters and Education Ministry officers for the past 55 years”, said Ramakrishnan.
Ramakrishnan told FMT that the dropout rate among Remove Class pupils is high.
“If a Chinese Remove Class pupil drops out, he has many options in life. Imagine the Tamil pupils who drop out of Remove Classes: where can he or she go in this racially segregated country?
“Tamil school headmasters must take remedial actions so that pupils are proficient in Bahasa Malaysia will enter Form One and not Remove Classes.
“Another weakness in Remove Classes is that the teachers do not know the pupils’ mother tongue thereby creating communication problems between teachers and the pupils,” he said.
“The poor communication hinders the teaching for weaker students, thus making the whole transition process ineffective. This creates frustration in the piupils and they don’t know where to complain,” he added.
Ramakrishnan wants the lessons for Remove Classes restructured to capture the pupils’ interest.
He said since Remove Classes are for weak and slow learners, the teachers must know the pupils’ mother tongue and be specially trained to handle weak pupils.
“Teachers and headmasters in Tamil schools are obsessed with getting 7As and neglect the weaker pupils.
“Weaker pupils are larger in numbers and therefore there must be strong focus on this group. The community must wake up to this reality and do the needful,’’ he said.