KUALA LUMPUR – The government has been told to stop selectively rendering aid to schools based on their types, following the recent controversy over the non-extension of SMK Convent Bukit Nanas’ (CBN) land lease.
Former international trade and industry minister Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz said equal attention must be given to all schools, including mission and vernacular ones.
None should be marginalised at the expense of national-type schools, which are officially fully aided, she added.
“We cannot have ‘aided’ and ‘unaided’ schools as they are all educating our children.
“If we are to be a united Malaysian society, the entire education infrastructure – including soft and physical infrastructure – must be rationalised.”
She said this in response to an announcement by the Federal Territories (FT) Land and Mines Office that the land in which CBN sits will revert to the government so it can be gazetted as a fully aided government school.
FT Land and Mines Office director Datuk Muhammad Yasir Yahya reportedly said the government’s decision to not renew the lease is to ensure it becomes a fully aided government school.
The move will enable it to receive all the benefits it needs for the future, he claimed.
Rafidah, a CBN alumna who was a federal minister for 28 years, told The Vibes that the government should not differentiate schools.
She said by assisting all schools, the standard of education can be improved.
There is also a need for long-term planning to face and meet the new demands of the marketplace for new skills sets and relevant curricula, she added.
“Teacher training can be streamlined to meet the demands of all schools.”
Established in 1899, CBN is an all-girls school situated along Jalan Bukit Nanas here.
In 1961, the Conference of Rulers had granted the school a state lease, which will expire on September 6 this year.
On Monday, CBN was given more time to challenge the government’s decision to not extend the lease when high court judge Datuk Noorin Badarin granted the school’s review application for leave and permission to file a judicial review.
Rafidah is among a host of influential Malaysian women who have voiced out against the non-renewal of the lease.
She said the nation and society stand to lose out as a result of the selective treatment.
“We can reform the curricula in line with new global imperatives and apply them to each school to trigger creativity, innovative thinking, and have a more rounded education for each generation of children that is continuously adapted and applied in every school.”
She had learnt French while at CBN, and continued her studies at University of Malaya, where she took French as her final year degree subject, while her friends learnt Latin and pursued relevant studies later.
“We can do the same in all schools – to offer English, Mandarin, Japanese etc.”
A wider vision not blinkered by politics is needed to educate Malaysian youth, she added. – The Vibes, April 21, 2021
See Original: Ganeson, D., & Idris, A. A. (2021, April 21). CBN land lease row: stop marginalising schools, Rafidah tells govt. TheVibes.Com.