THE PENANG Hindu Association is urging the Indian community to help support Tamil primary schools by sending their children there.
Association deputy president P. Murugiah said there had been a reduction in the number of pupils enrolled in Tamil primary schools.
“The existence of Tamil primary schools is due to the support given by parents who send their children to these schools,” he told a press conference at the association’s booth in conjunction with Thaipusam celebrations in Scotland Road on Friday.
Penang Tamil Schools Special Committee chairman Datuk Dr K. Anbalakan said that at present, there were 28 Tamil primary schools in Penang.
“Twenty-one of the schools are located on the mainland while seven are on the island,” he added.
“Of the schools on the mainland, about 16 of them are in estates.
“The low enrolment in these schools is partly because many estate dwellers keep moving to bigger towns, where their children will attend schools closer to their homes there,” he explained.
It was the responsibility of the Federal Government to find land to relocate Tamil schools from the estates to town, he said.
Dr Anbalakan added that there was a need for a Tamil secondary school in Penang.
“Those who would like to further their Tamil studies from primary school level are unable to do so at the moment.
“They can further their Tamil studies at only university level,” Dr Anbalakan said.
“Tamil language should be included in the main academic curriculum in schools and not just be taught as an elective subject after school hours, as practised in some schools.
“Some schools even leave it to their headmasters to decide whether Tamil language should be taught,” he added.
Murugiah said the association had submitted a petition containing 10,000 signatures to Deputy Education Minister II P. Kamalanathan on Nov 28 requesting for a Tamil secondary school to be built in Penang.