Education Acts and Reports

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EDUCATION ACTS AND REPORTS

INTRODUCTION

Integration of the various racial and ethnic groups, the central aim of the 1 Malaysia concept, had always been the primary concern of the governments’ education policy since Independence in 1957. In fact the Razak education report of 1956 and the Rahman Talib report of 1960 had delineated clear guidelines and emphasise national integration.

Compare and contrast out the aims and provision of Barnes Report (1950), Fenn-Wu Report (1951), the Razak Report (1956) and the Rahman Talib Report (1960).

After World War Two, the education system in Malaya was pretty much in shambles, and until Malaya achieved her independence in 1957, much had to be done to map out a new education system for the nation.

Efforts began with the introduction of a new, national education system with English as the one and only medium of instruction, but eventually, an education system was formed in which Malay became the main medium of instruction.

In 1949, a Central Advisory Committee on Education was set up to aid the government in deciding on the best form of education system, which could be implemented in Malaya, to be the catalyst in fostering national unity.

In 1950, the Barnes Committee came out with the Barnes Report, which proposed that all primary vernacular schools maintain one single standard and become national schools using the same syllabus but bilingual languages, which were Malay and English. Secondary schools, however, had to maintain English as their mode of instruction.

One year later in 1951, there was the Fenn-Wu Report, which whole-heartedly supported the formation of a national education system, but felt that the Chinese-medium schools should be maintained. Their argument was that the country could still achieve unity although there was diversity in the medium of instruction.

It was only in 1952 that the Education Ordinance was passed, based on the Barnes Report. This did not garner good response from the Chinese and Indians, who protested the abolition of their mother tongues as one of the mediums of instruction.

Due to the failing economy and shortage of trained teachers for the national schools, however, the Education Ordinance of 1952 was not fully implemented.

Three years later in 1955, another committee was formed, this time chaired by Dato' Abdul Razak Hussein and it was given the task of reviewing the education system of Malaya.

The committee received 151 memorandums from individuals, public bodies and associations. After much deliberation, the Razak Committee proposed, one year later, the following:

• The education system should comprise two types of primary school - standard primary schools that use Malay as their medium of instruction, and standard-type primary schools that use either Kuo-Yu or Tamil or English as the medium of instruction. Both these schools, however, would rely on a common syllabus.

• Both types of primary school should enforce Malay as a compulsory subject.

• All National Secondary Schools should use a common syllabus and examination and enforce Malay and English as their compulsory subjects.

• All teachers, regardless of which school they would eventually teach at, should be trained with a common syllabus in teachers' training colleges.

In 1960, the Rahman Talib review committee was commissioned to study the Razak Report, with the aim of strengthening its implementation and emphasizing the use of Malay as the medium of instruction. The Rahman Talib Report became the basis for the Education Act 1961, which was subsequently passed by the Parliament.

Three main components were maintained:
i. A common schooling system for all races;
ii. The national language as the main medium of instruction for all level of schooling; and iii. A common national-based school curriculum and examination.

The 1996 Education Act was formulated as a continuation modernisation of the 1961 Education Act....
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