Restore the ‘national’ in national schools
Restore the ‘national’ in national schools
SMK USJ13, a National Secondary School located on Jalan USJ 13/1 is no stranger to controversy, there was a petition which was started by one of their fellow students in regards to the health issues in the school canteen. The petition was dropped by the same student which raised the issue on cleanliness with an apology note.
The school which opened in May 23,2000 and located on 10 acres of land in South Subang Jaya is a strategic location in a well planned urban and residential area which makes this school conducive to all residents in that area. The rapid development of residential areas around this area has led to increased enrollment of students, teachers and support staff. As of October 2011, the school has reached 1511 students, 91 teachers and 12 support staff. The total number of classes opened is 42 classes. Increased student enrollment has led to the introduction of two school sessions, morning and evening sessions starting in 2006.
The principal has set the direction of SMK USJ13 with the Senior Assistant teachers to build the vision and mission, and the school's objectives. The first vision is the Balanced Human Excellence and the Harmony of the School People to unite all SMJ USJ13 residents with diverse backgrounds, attitudes, ways of working culture and different environments. The Principal also set the principles of SMJ USJ13's work on Perseverance and the Fundamentals of Excellence and Harmony as a guide for all citizens. From time to time harmony has been created, and the school recognizes and executes the responsibility to create a balance of physical, emotional, spiritual and intellectual well-being (JERI).
In 2006, the school's vision was changed to "SMK USJ13 School of Excellence in 2010". Strategic planning is also based on the Eight Focus of Excellence which covers Management, Curriculum, Curriculum, Pupil Affairs, Human Capital, Physical and Environment, ICT Development and External Relations. To boost the school's excellence in 2008, SMK USJ13 represented the state of Selangor in the Coaching Curriculum Award in the Sports and Games category.
Now SMK USJ 13 with the nickname THIRTEENIANS features the identity of SMK USJ 13 residents who will further strengthen their school performance in the future.
The school have lived up to their billing to emerge as the Subang Jaya Zone champions in basketball in 2009 and in December 2018 Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan USJ 13 received RM800 for winning second place For First Ever Kempen Kitar Semula F&N & MPSJ in August 2018.
Kempen Kitar Semula F&N & MPSJ 2018 was co-organised by Fraser & Neave Holdings Bhd (F&NHB) and the Subang Jaya Municipal Council or Majlis Perbandaran Subang Jaya (MPSJ), and supported by the Selangor State Education Department and Tetra Pak (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd.
The School participated in Activities such as hiking in Gua tempurong 2018 and continues to be active in social events.
I was informed by a close friend in regards to the School's latest plan to build a Surau in the School grounds costing RM950,000.00. She has a daughter studying there.
She along with other parents who are not bumi are worried and distressed of the schools slant towards being more Religious and Islamic. I informed her that the issue is a sensitive one and she had a choice of relocating her daughter to other schools if she felt that it posed a threat to religious freedom.
Since the wheels are already in motion to build the Surau, it will not make any difference in highlighting, protesting or petitioning the construction of the same. The Surau will be built, and that’s for certain.
But what we should concern ourselves is the following:-
The very movement from a School which prided itself in "Balanced Human Excellence and Harmony uniting all people" has lost its vision. SMJ USJ13, is just one of the schools in the present myriad of schools in Malaysia which is slowly but surely infusing and uncalculating religion into Education. Many Malaysians of various racial denominations has pointed out to the Government that Race and Religion should not be infused into Education or Government. Religion should be separated. But our pleas have fallen on deaf ears as Race and Religion is always and will always be used as a political tool to remain in power and have control over the people.
If religion is able to drive students to academic excellence, then I fully support the same. But being a pragmatic and rational person, we all know that that is a fallacy. One of my sarcastic friends said "Might as well build a school in a mosque and that would solve all the problems".
RM950,000.00 is a huge sum of money and could be well spent on providing the school with educational tools, having digital and technological instructional tools, better teaching and learning environments, better libraries, leveraging on current resources, Computer laboratories, Edtech tools which are tailored to save Teachers more valuable time, innovative teaching tools and the list goes on. It is an opportunity cost, in this particular case, and opportunity lost.
To me, schools and other buildings are just buildings, it is brick and mortar, to have a fancy big beautiful building will not necessarily mean you will have an education which provides you with intelligence or creates a path for you to enter the workspace with a proper foundation. Education is the Key to Success in Life. Education plays a significant role to design your future as a successful person in life and as a useful citizen in the society. I believe no one can neglect the importance of it. Education reduces the challenges of life that one might face. Malcolm X got it right when he said "Education is the passport of the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today".
The second impact will be that mostly the Non-Muslims as well as Educated Muslims themselves will consider sending their children to other schools fearing the onslaught of a Religious based school. Tan Sri Johan Bin Jaafar the former chairman of the Language and Library Council ( DBP ) and also the chairman of Media Prima Berhad and the Director of the New Straits Times Berhad Group. once said "Restore the ‘national’ in national schools". Being a columnist himself. The article written by him on 8th August 2016 says it point blank " NATIONAL schools are NOT religious schools. They are supposed to provide secular education. As spelled out by the Education Ministry, the philosophy is to develop the “potential of individuals in a holistic and integrated manner” so as to produce Malaysians who are “intellectually, emotionally and physically balanced and harmonious”. Yet, sadly, in many national schools, “religion” is taking centre stage, undermining the very philosophy that our forefathers carved for those schools.
The trend over the last few decades has been alarming. More and more schools are adopting their own concept of religious awareness among teachers and students. The school heads are turning national schools into their own brand of religious schools.
It is not uncommon to see the recital of the Quran during assemblies. Or religious rites performed at schools. And Surau built within their compounds.
But more importantly, the ustaz and ustazah are now the de facto discipline teachers, determining not just dress codes but imposing their own perceptions of right and wrong. They are becoming very influential in the schools, even undermining the power of head teachers or principals.
But understanding the politics and the sensitivities of the needs and demands of all races, having a single-stream school system is almost impossible now, which is a pity. Like everything else in the country, education is politicized.
For now, nothing will ever come close to ensuring all our students are taught under one roof. But the national schools must be the schools of choice. No two ways about it. There is a need for the ministry to draw a line between secular and religious education in schools. It is critical at this juncture to do so."
Imagine this was written in 2016, it is 2019 now and sadly nothing has changed, in fact we are on a high speed train to convert all National schools into Religious Schools by the looks of it. Wouldn’t it further segregate and polarize the different races in Malaysia.?
This article isn't about a Surau built in a National School, it's about a wakeup call to the Ministry of Education and our Government to act right to ensure that religion and politics do not pollute our school education system. Those who feel it is okay, will continue to send their children to these schools, for those who can foresee that the education system will be bent and drowned by religion, they will find means to transfer their children to safe moderate schools who educate. For those without the financial means or the ability to relocate their children they must practice endurance.
Our Beloved King, Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah said that he wants to see a Malaysia whose citizens are united and living in a peaceful, stable and harmonious country during his five-year reign.
Malaysians should co-exist and live together in our country.
A unfulfilled dream is a tragedy. It is a Malaysia we love which is at risk.