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A national school is a government-sponsored school which the education is the responsibility of the federal government. The national school was to be provided to unite all races in our country. The education in Malaysia beginning with a national school system consists of Malay, Chinese, Tamil and English medium. Each medium used different instruction and syllabus. The syllabus which is being used originated from their country. They ran the school by their own and establish the school by using curricula and teachers from their country. In the 1950s, the Barnes Report suggested on the need to build national school that involved all races. This was the first time a report talked about nationality. But racial sprits were strong and totally rejected by Chinese community. By doing so, we can face many hurdles and obstacles if the vernacular schools still exist.
The purpose of national school was set up is actually to promote unity, so that there would be peace and harmony in order that development can occur. Independent Malaysia must have a strong society to avoid racial conflicts or racial tension. For that to develop:
There must be that self consciousness or sense of belongings or like-mindedness that must grow as people live together in a common territory, develop common interests, accumulate the same traditions, share the same ideas, ideals, modes of thinking and behavior.
Education is the main based to create national unity because the step is necessary to encourage the producing of national school. By having the national school, several racial communities will be abolished. A view on the national school was that it should be bilingual which meant all students will be taught in English and Malay. English has been declared as a second language in Malaysia but Malay is the national language of Malaysia. So, all races will send their children in national school and they can introduce their society and culture without any barriers. There is no limitation when a race sits with another race to talk and to mingle each other because when they are in national school, spirit of unity will be planted in their selves. The communities still can keep on preserving their mother tongue by its own cultural educations.
There are challenges and constraints facing the implementation of the national school. But it can be solved by improving the particular things that can raise the ability of national school such as relationship within the school, classroom approaches, parents and community and teacher education. Besides that, the school system is needed to change by doing reflective practice to improve national schools. Those things are essential to strengthen national schools. It is not easy to apply the ways but we can struggle on it to achieve the objective. All people should be involved to ensure the national school can run successfully.
First of all, one of the opinions to toughen the national school is develop relationship within the school that is between teachers, between pupils and teachers, and between pupils themselves. When the kind of the environment is existed in the school, the communication between them will be guileless because pupils are tending to share their story with their teachers and their friends. Absolutely, everybody in the school needs each other to help them when they are in trouble. The teachers have to ask their pupils to learn together with them as teamwork. Clearly, the relationship is a further factor which determines the teachers to educate for a multicultural society. In addition, when pupils are given a task, the teachers should make explicit statement to not confuse them because they are needed to be guide. The teachers also can add some references and do a skeleton or draft for the task. Then explain to them and discuss together with them about the task. The teachers need to show to their students that they are listening and willing to help them if something they do not understand about their task or lesson. The teachers can ask their student to meet them inside or outside the school.
Furthermore, another ways to strengthen the national school is classroom approach. The community in the school should give positive approach for everybody to practice their culture because national school is consisting on multiracial students. The aim is to allow the students to share their experiences about their society and culture. The teachers who are being a role model to their students have to start the variety of ways in emphasizing on learning about others culture. Pupil understands of cultural diversity within their own locale so it is a must for the teachers to expose the variety of culture to the students. By knowing others culture, it is important for national unity and there is a common value of tolerance and acceptability. The teachers can teach their students in the several of ethnic cultures in the country by referring on a curriculum that Malaysian needs as a society. For a best way of classroom approach, the teachers and the students should attempt to understand one another better, be sensitive towards the feelings of others, promote and preserve racial harmony and work together to achieve a strong unity.
Moreover, parents and community are responsible in terms of national school development. They are responsible to encourage the value of unity to their children because they must worry about their children future and to unite, the students have to join with other races. Being teachers, it is compulsory for them to expose themselves to face-to-face interaction with parents to pertain the achievement of pupils. This is a good benefit for the national school to identify the problems of the students. Even though it is a risk for teachers but the profession has to take them so because they serve for the whole community. The involvement of teachers and parents can ensure that the environment of school always keep in safe and can comfort their students and children to learn in effective and convenient. It is essential for parents to check their children's works and teachers need to respond wisely when parents ask for lend a hand to take care of their children. The teachers need to provide all the records of their students' achievement to give to the parents. Honest information about the achievement can remain closed to parents and students as well as the teachers. The community has minor duty to make sure that the school working is concern by them for the implementations of national school such as if have any problems during outside school, the community can consult the parents or the teachers of the students. This is show how the parents and community are related each other in developing national schools.
On the other hand, teacher education is one of the ways to strengthen the national school. Being under the national school system, the teachers are in higher education which needs to equip on multicultural education to improve the students unity. It is a difficult job but after chose the profession it is the responsibility of these people to educate the future generation with the right values and moral standards. Today as Ismail Mansur and Mohd. Azaham said in their book, The Malays, teaching is an occupation which is slowly regarded and poorly rewarded (2001:95). The lots of teachers must be improved. They have to think how to provide high quality teaching to teach in national school because in the school, there are many different family's backgrounds which they do not know either good or not. While teaching, teachers can adopt multicultural environment to heighten education between their students. The teachers, within their selves must have lots of information because students nowadays are advance than previous students. Sometimes they know better than the teachers. So, in order to avoid this happen, the teachers need to add some general knowledge and in-depth knowledge about their specific subject. In teaching, the teachers must well qualify dedicated. They should know what need to be learnt and continue with effective and relevant lesson.
In a national school, learning needs reflection. From an organizational perspective, reflective practice is considered a powerful norm in school in order to achieve high levels of student learning (Hawley & Valli, 2000; Kruse, Louis, & Bryk, 1995). Reflective practice is a feedback from one another to others as teachers and student to continuous learning and improvement. A commitment to reflective practice indicates a willingness to accept responsibility for one's professional practice (Ross, 1990). It is positive impact on student learning because it can produce a great achievement to the students by knowing their strength and weaknesses. After that, the teachers can play their role to correct the students by giving extra exercises or give further explanation about the task. Reflective practice provides a way "to understand and make sense of the world" (Brubacher, Case, & Reagan, 1994, p. 36). By having reflective practice in the national school, it can increase the potential of school to achieve the success. By doing the reflection, the teachers and the students can share their opinion in certain topics that need critical thinking and new knowledge are created. The relationship between the classroom and the teachers become strong because they share same improvement to move forward in term of education.
As conclusion, by having national school, all races in Malaysia can be united under one nation because education is only way to unity. However, it is not easy but we can overcome the problem by taking useful action to strengthen national school. At first we have relationship within the school and then provide more ways to toughen the national school such as classroom approaches, parents and community, teacher education and reflective practice. These are necessary things in improving the national school because for only the ways our national schools can performance better to attract all races to send their children only in national school. For unity to be achieved in the national school, all boundaries of race, religion and culture should be cut. We are together build one nation that everyone is related to one another. For learning in the national school, education is given equally to all the students without any bias. The teachers have to be dedicated and committed in teaching their students because they are useful for our country for the future. A strong belief that the national school is a place where it can produce a student who can adopt any culture in their daily life and a place where is able to play their role effectively by performance wholehearted in a one nation that is unity.