Tamil mooted as subject for Malaysian Indian students

June 21st, 2009 - 4:53 pm ICT by IANS  

Kuala Lumpur, June 21 (IANS) The oldest party of ethnic Indians, the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) has proposed that Tamil language be included as the 11th subject in the country’s high school education.
Party deputy president S. Subramaniam, who is also the country’s human resource minister Saturday said that he had submitted the request to Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin before the government finalized the recent proposal to limit the number of subjects to 10 from next year.

“This should be the 11th subject to ensure that the students, especially those who join the science stream, do not miss out on their mother tongue and its literature,” the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) has said.

“If they are not allowed 11 subjects, some (those in the science stream) will have to miss the Tamil language or Tamil literature subjects. With the 10-subject limit, they have to choose either one, as they already have nine compulsory subjects,” The Star quoted Subramaniam as saying.

He said for those in the arts stream, the new ruling would not pose a problem as they could take both the subjects and two others besides the six core subjects.

Yassin, who is also the education minister, announced last week that students would be allowed a maximum of 10 subjects in the Malaysian Certificate of Education from next year.

He said exception would be given to students in the joint science and religious stream, who can take up to 11 subjects next year. However, once the curriculum was streamlined, they too will be able to take a maximum of 10 subjects from 2011.

Subramaniam said that if Indian students were not allowed to take Tamil language and Tamil literature, some parties might exploit the issue.

The estimated two million population of Indians is aligned to several political parties and six more Indian parties are in the offing, according to media reports.

Tamils form eight percent of Malaysia’s 28 million population.

Besides the Tamils, the Indian-origin community has significant number of Hindi-speaking settlers from north India, other southern Indian language groups including Malayalis and Telugus and a 100,000-strong Sikh population.

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