MY 12-year-old niece lives with her parents less than 100 metres from SMK (P) Sri Aman, Petaling Jaya. She has been studying in a primary school several kilometres away and has just completed her UPSR examination.
Her parents had applied to place her in SMK (P) Sri Aman but the school has decreed that students who did not obtain 5As in the UPSR trial exam cannot be placed in the school.
I have been informed that the school was recently named as one of the top 20 schools in Malaysia by the Education Ministry, thus receiving the title “High Performance School”.
I have always been under the impression that one of the criteria for placement of pupils in schools was the proximity of their home to the school.
The Selangor Education office insists that SMK (P) Sri Aman has the right to turn away students who do not meet the 5As criterion.
Has the Education Ministry changed its policy on the placement of students?
If all schools which have been bestowed titles such as “high performance” and “excellent” feel it is their arbitrary right to deny certain students entry just to maintain their track record, what is going to happen to the majority of students in the country?
I always believed the national education policy is to provide quality education to all students so that they become good citizens, have the skills to join the workforce, contribute to nation building and at the same time improve their own lives.
I take my hat off to the thousands of dedicated teachers who helped produce quality students who have become exemplary citizens.
They have proved that the teaching profession’s main objective has been to improve the country’s education standards and churn out quality students.
The priority of schools cannot be to achieve the KPIs of their principals nor to maintain the so-called “titles” of the schools. This smacks of elitism.
I hope the ministry, which has been in the forefront of meeting the educational needs of Malaysian students, takes a serious look into this issue, to clarify and rectify this practice before more parents become disillusioned with the system.
The ministry should also be bold to remove principals and administrators whose self-interest overrides the interests of students, parents and the nation’s vision of having a well-educated society.
K.P. WARAN Kuala Lumpur The STAR Online Home News Opinion Wednesday November 7, 2012