It caught my attention when Datuk M. Kavyeas said that “Tamil schools be closed and Tamil be made a compulsory subject from standard one to form five in national schools”. While Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu was against the above statement and wants Tamil schools to be there, both of these leaders are extremely right to a certain extent.
The actual truth is that not many Tamil speaking Indians are sending their children to Tamil schools. In future, we could hardly see any Indians in these schools and this is an undeniable fact. It is because the number of students in Tamils schools are dropping drastically yearly and this is statistically proven.
The paramount reason for this decrease to occur is due to the lack of facilities in these schools although the government has done quite a lot of improvement. But yet it is not up to the expected level. Therefore all the Indians would not have the avenue to learn in Tamil schools.
One of the effective methods to preserve Tamil language is by implementing Tamil as a compulsory subject from Year One to Form Five for Tamil speaking Indians. But it is not necessary to close these Tamil schools in order to establish such new method.
What will happen to Tamil language if Tamil schools are closed and compulsory Tamil subject is introduced? Will the Indians – who are mainly Tamils – allow their children to take Tamil as a subject from Year One to Form Five or disallow them. It is because not all Indians are Tamils, not all Tamils sepak Tamil anymore, and some Tamils don’t even admit they are Tamils anymore!
The truth is that most of the Indians in our country who are Tamils are shy to speak in their mother tongue. Some of the Tamils say that they do not know how to speak Tamil (malinger). While others are proud that they can’t speak Tamil at all! Basically they prefer to converse in English and a small number of them have converted their mother tongue to English language. Are these people going to allow their children to take Tamil as a subject in school?
First of all, Tamils should give preference and recognition to their own language, which is very essential for their unity, national integrity and also for the development of the language itself.
However, one good technique to conserve Tamil language is by implementing it as a compulsory subject from Year One in national schools without closing down the existing Tamil schools. Tamil schools must remain in our country because it plays a major role as a centre for development of Tamil culture and also the language itself. Our government should allocate more funds for these Tamil schools in order to improve its facilities and also the teaching quality. Eventually the number of students will increase.
Other than that, each and every Indian leader and language authorities should come forward to discuss this matter seriously without any personal or political interest.
Kavya, June 2003
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