On 2 January, seven-year-old Husna started school as a Standard One student at SJKT Karak.
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A Malay couple from Karak, Pahang have enrolled their daughter at a vernacular school so that she can learn the Tamil language
According to Astro Ulugam, the couple, Alifdin Latif and Nurul Fadznie Ashikin Hairul, decided to send their seven-year-old daughter, Siti Nur Husna Alifdin, to Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan Tamil Karak (SJKT Karak) as a Standard One student beginning this school year.
Husna with her mother, Nurul Fadznie Ashikin, at SJKT Karak for Orientation Day last Saturday, 28 December.
Image via Sinar Harian
Nurul Fadznie Ashikin said that it was her mother-in-law’s wish for all their children to be fluent in multiple languages
“My husband and I do not mind our daughter going to a vernacular school,” the 27-year-old mother said, as quoted by New Straits Times.
According to the mother, it will be an advantage for her daughter to communicate in a language other than Malay and English.
“We feel it is a privilege to learn another language,” she continued, “There is nothing strange about this decision since we are living in a multiracial country like Malaysia.”
She added that Husna, the oldest of her three children, was not the first child in the family to be receiving vernacular education. She already has a cousin going to Chinese school.
To prepare their daughter for Tamil school education, the couple had already sent Husna to a Tamil-medium kindergarten
“I knew it would be difficult for her if she did not have the basics,” the mother explained to Sinar Harian.
“Husna was the only Malay student in the kindergarten, and it’s the same in this school,” she said.
“But she has always been happy and excited when studying in a Tamil school and she has no trouble making friends with her Indian classmates.”
The couple is not worried about Husna blending in with her new schoolmates
They say their daughter has always been friendly and is able to communicate with her Tamil-speaking friends.
“My husband and I have not heard any criticism against the decision to send our children to a Tamil school,” said Nurul Fadznie Ashikin, adding that relatives and neighbours have been very supportive of the move.
Just like Husna, the couple plans to send their two younger children to either religious or vernacular schools, so that they too can master different sets of skills.
On a related note, a video on Twitter showing a pair of Malay parents trying to help their son write his name in the appropriate blanks of his Chinese workbooks has gone viral
At the time of writing, the video had been viewed over 315,000 times with over 12,000 retweets.
In December, some groups challenged the government for allowing vernacular schools to exist in the country:
Meanwhile, on 2 January, Dr Maszlee Malik announced that he is resigning from his position as Minister of Education:
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