DAP National Deputy Chairman & MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw insists that the Education Ministry review thoroughly the school going age in Malaysia, whether to reduce it from 7 to 5 or 4 years. Any new policy must not harm the children.
On 16.7.2012,Dr Tan comments on the Sin Chew Jit Poh's front page, headlining the harm to the child who enters school at 5 years old.This view is based on The Cambridge Primary Review Research Surveys, edited by Robin Alexander.
Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister YAB Tan Sri Muhyiddin has recently replied to questions in parliament, saying that his ministry is doing a wide- ranging review of the education system. One suggestion is that children start schooling at 5.
Some parents send their children to kindergartens early; certain children have pre-school education at 3 or 4 years old. Some children do not go to kindergardens, let alone having pre-school education.
Now, Malaysians children begin schools at 7. Schools start in January each year. Most are over 6 when they enter schools. In England, schools year begins in September. Most children are not yet 5 when they get to schools.
The above-stated Cambridge survey provides a reference. Does starting school at five harm children? The Education Ministry must study it carefully. In fact, the multiracial children in Malaysia may be different from those in Cambridge. Besides Cambridge, what is the situation in other countries?
In 1956, there was Razak Education Report, followed by Aziz, Raman Talib and Mahathir reports. The present review may be named Muhyiddin Report. Have the recommendations in these reports been implemented successfully? After spending over RM 6 billion, the Government scrapped the project on The Teaching Of Mathematics and Science in English over three years ago. We hope that the ministry will not repeat the mistake on the age of schooling.