Mahathir’s Recalcitrant Education Mindset Denunciated— Unary Thinking Backfires Education Advancement

Joint Statement Released by Dong Zong and Jiao Zong

April 19, 2021

Mahathir’s Recalcitrant Education Mindset Denunciated—

Unary Thinking Backfires Education Advancement


To Dong Jiao Zong’s deepest regret, the former Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad reraised the ‘Vision School Project’ in a bid to promote unary education, insisting that mother tongue education compromises national integrity and unity. Dong Jiao Zong opines, despite assuming the Prime Minister post twice, after the debacle of the Pakatan Harapan government, Mahathir is still obsessed with the will to realise unary education in the country through the implementation of Vision School. This very fact reveals his deny of pluralistic value and ignorance of multiplicity inherence.

We realise Mahathir’s education belief is one of technological superstition that belittles humanity and embraces English learning as well as being indifferent towards pluralism. As history reveals, Mahathir being the Prime Minister had stubbornly devoted in the implementation of Vision School Project and the use of English in Science and Math teaching that ended up as failures; it not only wasted public funds and education resource for several years, but also made the students guinea pigs in his illusive experiment.  Now that he is beating over the old ground and it vividly shows his recalcitrancy and want of reflective capability, apart from his outdated education mindset which is reversing the wheel of history.

The cultural diversity of Malaysia owed much to the multi stream education preserved since independence until today which fosters generations of social pillars and is a unique resource of the country. The practice of multicultural education is a hardcore reality and cannot be denied. The attempt to administer the Vision School Project to eliminate ethnic division is factually not getting the gist and overlooking ethnic disputes generated by policy discrepancy and political hypes that widens the ethnic gap. As such, the so-called Vision School Project is an ostensible harmony at best and its core dispute is yet to be addressed.

Mother tongue is the instrumental vehicle for ethnic interactions and the emblem for one’s culture and identity. To promote mother tongue education equates the dissemination of multiculturalism. The safeguard of one’s mother tongue as well as multi stream education system translates the embodiment of identification and respect for this soil. The existence of multi stream schools owed to the persistency on mother tongue education; though their medium of instruction varies, they accord the national curriculum formulated, executed and imparted by the MOE to foster identical knowledge and value and are open to all ethnic groups for enrollment. The allegation that mother tongue education compromises national unity is unwarranted; both the government and non-government sectors should be cautious of the inconsistent policy enacted by the MOE to avoid disappointment in national education.

Our country has experienced two rounds of political turn-taking in governance, one may wonder if the national education policy will keep abreast of the times and be up-to-date. All sectors in the country are prevailingly concerned about it; if the government and private sectors have no intention to reform education thoroughly, this unary thinking will continuously corrode social foundation at the expense of students at large.