Are your kids abroad because our education system ‘sucks’? Kit Siang asks Cabinet
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 19 — In continuing his tirade against federal government leaders for lacking faith in the national education system, Lim Kit Siang questioned today their rationale for enrolling their children in international schools.
The DAP veteran asked if it was because “Malaysia’s education system sucks” and that Malaysian schools have continued to trail behind in the bottom third of countries surveyed in a number of international assessments.
“I have been informed that one of the first things a minister of the Najib Cabinet did on his appointment was to transfer one of his children to an international school,” Lim claimed in a statement.
“Why?” the Gelang Patah MP asked, before continuing, “Is this because Malaysia’s education system sucks?”
Yesterday, Lim demanded that all federal ministers and their deputies come clean on whether they send their children and grandchildren to public schools, claiming that there is no evidence to show that top BN leaders actually support the national education system.
The senior DAP leader said it was quite a boast for deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, to claim that the Malaysian education system was better than that of the United States, Britain and Germany, when he has not even asked the Umno General Assembly to endorse his claim.
Citing his old rival and former Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Lim said it was an open secret that Cabinet ministers have for a long time sent their children to private and international schools where English is the teaching medium.
Today, Lim asked incumbent Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak if he would tell all ministers in his Cabinet to resign if they send their children to private or international schools, whether local or foreign.
He pointed out that by sending their children to these schools, it reflects their lack of confidence in an education system built by the BN leadership.
Lim noted that recent world university rankings showed a power shift from the West to the East, with Asian universities now proving their mettle by shooting up the ladder to surpass their western counterparts.
For example, he said, 24 Asian universities listed in the top 200 universities in the 2014 Times Higher Education World University Rankings compared with 20 a year earlier—led by Tokyo University and National University of Singapore in the top 25.
“But this seismic shift in the continuing erosion of United States and United Kingdom domination of global higher education and the inexorable rise of Asian universities seemed to have completely by-passed Malaysia, despite our annual massive expenditures on education,” Lim pointed out.
The same trend was shown in the US News and World Report’s 500 Best Global Universities Ranking 2015 last month, where Malaysia’s premier university, the University of Malaya was the only university listed in the very “lowly” position of 423, he said.
In the 100 Best Global Universities survey for 21 subjects, Malaysia was only placed in two of the 2,100 slots in its ranking, with Universiti Putra Malaysia taking 54th place for agricultural science and Universiti Sains Malaysia taking 87th place for engineering.
“It is scandalous and shameful that out of the 2,100 slots, Malaysia’s 21 public universities which have a total of over 200 schools for different disciplines, could only manage to be placed in slots for two subjects,” Lim lamented.
Singapore, on the other hand, won 20 slots, while even Thailand took two spots.
“But Umno/BN ministers and leaders are not really concerned about the deteriorating standards of education and higher education in Malaysia,” the DAP lawmaker said.
This, he said, is because they have ensured even their own kids are out of the national school system.
“How many Umno/BN Ministers and leaders dare to declare that they do not send their children to private or international schools, local or foreign?” he asked.