Friday, December 26, 2008

English Literature and The Creation of a Malaysian Education System (1951 – 1979)

Tracing the Source:
The creation of a Malaysian Education System (1951 – 1979)

Since Independence English Literature has continued to lose its recognition as a vital tool in the nation-building process due to a greater emphasis on the national language. The post-May 13 climate further reduced the significance of English, and needless to say Children’s Literature in English.However, in an ongoing research which i am involved in, we hope to highlight the great potential and impact Children’s Literature in English could have as a nation-building tool in a highly pluralized post-colonial Malaysian society, thus inspiring the quest for an identity in a globalized era.

The earliest documents which form the backbone in the creation of a National Education System, dates back to the early 50’s.The entire study of the various education reports begins from the Colonial Central Advisory Committee on Education (Pre-1957) right up to the Post-Colonial Education Committee of the Ministry of Education (Post-1957) covering an entire decade. This is with reference to the Study of the Fenn-Wu Report on Chinese Education and the Barnes Report on Malay Education in 1951 and subsequent Razak and Rahman Talib reports which were published in 1956 and 1960 respectively. Finally in 1979 the Mahathir Report or the Cabinet Committee Report reevaluated the entire national education system in Malaysia giving it a new look. The committee begun its work in 1974 and published its report in 1979. These reports were the foundations upon which a comprehensive Malaysian Education System came into being.The primary purpose of examining these reports is to examine the direct and indirect effect of subsequent policies towards Children’s Literature in English, if any.

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