An estimated 38% of Indian primary-school-going aged children are enrolled in national primary schools while approximately 80% of Indian secondary-school-going aged youth are enrolled in national secondary schools. Judging from 2015 data obtained on overall Indian students’ pass rates in UPSR (54%) vs. SJKT students’ pass rates (47%), it can be inferred that Indian students in SRKs pulled up the overall pass rate by performing better than their counterparts in SJKT.
Key Issues & Current Interventions
One ethnicity-related challenge is bias. Ethnic (and gender) bias in education is part of the human condition; research has shown that uneven treatment by teachers particularly towards minority students is a prevalent occurrence in many countries, even among the most culturally aware teachers. The MOE has taken preliminary steps towards measuring the problem of bias through the lens of diversity and unity. A ‘Unity Index’ was established to measure the acceptance, respect, and management of diversity within schools.
Another ethnicity-related challenge is the quality of integration into a more multiethnic environment at secondary level, particularly for students from SJKTs. The MOE has intensified the implementation of RIMUP (“Rancangan Integrasi Murid Untuk Perpaduan”) to improve inter-ethnic interaction not only across different school types but also within schools. School inspections have shown that over 70% of schools have undertaken various integrative practices such as mixed seating arrangements and mixed teaming during co-curricular activities.
Moving Forward: Recommendations & Initiatives
To close inter-ethnic gaps in educational attainment within national schools, to deliver on these targets, this Blueprint aims to effect the following:
1. Establish IB40 Educational Performance Initiative
The mandate of the Initiative is to cover Indian students in both vernacular and national schools
2. Establish Joint CCIC-MOE Taskforce on Education
In the case of national schools, The Joint Taskforce monitors and targets national schools for interventions based on a league table of inter-ethnic educational performance gaps as well as the unity index.