KLANG, Jan 4, 2015:

The government plans to relocate vernacular schools that are under-enrolled to areas where they can attract more students.

Deputy Education Minister P. Kamalanathan said relocation was a way to solve this problem faced by some schools, especially in rural areas.

He said relocation could be done when there was a suitable piece of land, citing the case of the SJKT Seaport in Petaling Jaya, which was relocated.

“The school has increased its number of students now to about 250 students,” he said during his visit to SJKT Simpang Lima here today.

He also viewed three new blocks at the school, costing RM6 million, that were used for the first time today.

Kamalanathan visited two other schools in the Kota Raja parliamentary constituency on the first day of school today.

He also said there were no reasons for vernacular schools to be closed down as they provided a diverse education system.

“This is something unique for Malaysia and something that many countries actually want to see.

“In Malaysia, we have exactly that and I see no reason for us to do away with this system.

“The subject of closing down vernacular schools does not arise.”

Kamalanathan added that Tamil and Chinese schools have produced good students and up to 50% of university students are from these schools.

He said enrolment at Tamil schools nationwide had increased this year with an additional 250 pupils in Kedah and nearly 100 in Johor.

The Simpang Lima school itself registered more than 400 Year One pupils this year.

“It shows that parents are aware how the government has been emphasising on the development of Tamil schools with the construction of new buildings and upgraded infrastructure,” he said.

Meanwhile Kota Raja MIC division chief Datuk R.S. Maniam, who coordinated the visit today, said they also visited the construction site of a new Tamil school in Taman Sentosa here.

He said the 24-classroom school, costing RM27 million, would help alleviate the problem of overcrowding at the Simpang Lima school which has an enrolment of about 2,500 pupils.

He said the ground-breaking ceremony was expected to be held soon and it was scheduled to be completed in mid-2017.

Maniam said MIC would first help solve the chaotic traffic situation at the Simpang Lima school.

“We will request the federal government’s help to solve other issues at this top-performing Tamil school in the country, such as the need for a proper public address system.”

MIC president Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam is also scheduled to visit the school on Jan 11.

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