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Concerns raised over racial polarisation at public vocational schools

 | July 14, 2017

Educationist says government should look into the extremely low non-Malay student enrolment at public vocational schools, noting that most non-Malays enrolled in private vocational institutions.

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KUALA LUMPUR: Public technical vocational education and training (TVET) institutes in Malaysia are dominated by Malay students, raising concerns among educationists of racial polarisation at such establishments.

Chang Yun Fah, who is a lecturer at Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR), claimed that over 90% of students enrolled at public TVET institutions were Malay.

“There appears to be a racial imbalance of ratio in the enrolment of students in public TVET institutes.

“A vast majority of these students belong to the Malay ethnic group. The cause of this must be ascertained and understood,” Chang said at a forum yesterday on issues concerning higher learning institutes.

Chang said in 2010, only 1.6% of about 60,590 students enrolled in public vocational and technical schools were non-Malay.

“While most Malays are in public TVET institutions, most non-Malays enrolled in private TVET institutions,” he added.

He said the government should address the issue and determine whether it is due to monocultural or monolingual environments.

“Academically weak non-Malay students who are not proficient in Bahasa Melayu must be given attention,” he said, adding that a multilingual approach in running TVET courses should be considered.

“Efforts in ensuring equal opportunities in TVET institutions should be included in the Malaysian Higher Education Blueprint 2015-2025 (HEB).”

To eliminate racial polarisation in TVET institutions, Chang said the education ministry should ensure in both policy and practice that all opportunities for education were open to all Malaysians, regardless of race or creed.

He was speaking at a forum after the launch of a book titled “Feedback and Recommendations on HEB 2015-2025”, a response by an education pressure group called the National Education Reform Initiative (NERI) to the education blueprint.

HEB was made public in April 2015.

NERI is a coalition of 17 non-governmental organisations created in 2014, comprising educationists, researchers and scholars.


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