Friday, 3 January 2014

Under-the-trees learning for these Tamil children

11:16AM Jan 3, 2014

Under-the-trees learning for these Tamil children

Some 20 students of the Seaport Tamil primary school (SJK Tamil Seaport) are spending their school days this year studying, on their own, under trees on the open ground as their parents demand the re-opening of the Kelana Jaya school that was abruptly shut down late last month.

The parents are refusing to accept the Education Ministry’s relocation order on the 80-year-old Tamil school to a new block in Kampung Lindungan in Subang that has been given the same name, which they say is too far away and inconvenient for them.

"If this school goes, there will be no vernacular Tamil school in Kelana Jaya and Lembah Subang at all," school’s Parents-Teachers Association (PTA) chairperson V Kumar said today.

Rising living costs, Kumar said, would mean that many of the parents, who are low income earners, would not be able to afford the daily 9km journey to send and pick up their children from the new school building.

The parents also pointed to difficulties securing school bus transportation to send their children to the new school.

The ministry had told the parents that the Kelana Jaya land, which belongs to state government body Selangor State Development Authority (PKNS), was been sold to a private developer, but land searches done by the parents reveal that the land is in the name of PKNS.

The disgruntled parents, who have been opposing possible relocation of the school for several years now, want the state government to intervene in order to keep the school at its present site.

The school building has been locked up by the headmistress, leaving parents to leave their children on plastic chairs at an adjacent open ground compound, with no teachers available to teach them.

No black-and-white confirmation 

Kumar said that as the PTA chair, he was only notified of the relocation plan on Nov 9, after a meeting with the state education department officials, during which he registered his opposition to the proposed move.

"Back then they told me that those who wish to stay in that school, this can be arranged for. They said they would write a letter to me," Kumar said.

"But until now, there was no letter. Even the relocation, the headmistress called me abruptly on Dec 19 and just said that they are shifting schools," he added.

The parents have not received any black-and-white confirmation from the ministry about the reasons behind the school relocation either.

PKR's Kelana Jaya MP Wong Chen (right) said that he would assist the residents in getting answers from the Selangor state government after he visited the school today.

"It is not appropriate for the state not to have given any answer to these residents. I think this is a case of miscommunication. It is important to keep the issue alive," Wong said, referring to several signed petitions already sent by the parents to the Selangor Menteri Besar's office back in 2012.

Wong, however, said that he had just been made aware of the issue and would need to establish the full picture before taking further action.

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