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Fair allocation for all schools

  • It is hoped that the government will understand the financial pressure of Chinese primary schools and provide adequate allocation and financial assistance wherever possible. Photo courtesy: Sin Chew Daily

Translated by DOMINIC LOH
Sin Chew Daily

The 2016 Budget continues to be the talk of the town these days, education allocation being one of the focal points.

The government's allocation for schools of various language streams in the country will be slashed from RM800 million to RM500 million, and this has drawn some concern among the public.

As the government has not specified how the money will be allocated, it is yet to be known how much Chinese primary schools will get next year, and this has raised the concern of Chinese educators who are worried about inadequate allocation for Chinese primary schools.

Their concern is not unfounded. In the last budget, Chinese primary schools only managed to get RM50 million, and with the total allocation down by RM300 million next year, things don't look up so bright. Given the reduced allocation, by right schools of all language streams should feel the pinch equally.

Anyway, it is imperative that the government clearly state how the allocation will be distributed so that the public will be kept abreast of the whereabouts of education allocation while facilitating the financial planning of individual schools. Meanwhile, the government should also distribute the allocation for schools in an equitable and transparent manner.

Past statistics showed that Chinese primary schools received far less than national primary schools. Take the 2015 Budget for instance, national primary schools received the lion's share at RM450 million while Chinese primary schools were only given RM50 million. With the number of national primary schools and student enrolment far outweigh those of Chinese primary schools, naturally they should get the most.

Based on this reasoning, Chinese primary schools should also get more than Tamil, missionary, government-backed religious schools and MARA Junior Science College, but the reality is they all get more or less the same amount, which is not really fair.

Education should be seen as critical element in a country's future development. All schools should get adequate and fair share of allocation, be they national, Chinese, Tamil or religious schools. This is to ensure effective quality teaching to lift the country's competitiveness.

Against the backdrop of slowing global economy and plummeting international oil prices, indeed the government comes under tremendous pressure and more challenging time ahead. It is hoped that the government will understand the financial pressure of Chinese primary schools and provide the adequate allocation and assistance wherever possible.

In the meantime, the government must also make sure that the allocation is fairly distributed among schools of different language streams. Owing to miscommunication between the education and finance ministries, unfortunately part of the education allocation set aside for 2015 has yet to be disbursed. Such administrative misstep should not have happened in the first place. It is imperative that the two ministries coordinate and get the problem sorted out as soon as possible while establishing a really effective communication channel to ensure that similar incidents will not occur again..

 

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