British Colonization in Malaysia Essay

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South East Asian Studies, Vol. 15, No.1, June 1977 Education, Developlllent and Change in Malaysia* Martin RUDNER** The creation of a modern, national, integrated institution of education in Malaysia was a post-colonial undertaking. The conception of education in British Malaya had been narrowly confining, both socially and scholastically. Indeed, through to the end of the colonial period, education was segregated into separate and disjointed linguistic-ethnic streams: English, Malay, Chinese and Tamil, with impoverishment of resources their common lot. l ) Following the Second World War there had occurred a dramatic rise in enrolments, to be sure; however ongoing organizational discontinuities and constraints resulted in a downward trend in enrolment ratios during the last years of colonial rule. 2 ) The advent of representative government in 1955, and independence in 1957, marked a point of departure for the modernisation of educational institutions and policies. Over the period of independence, education has been systematically assimilated, by stages, with government's emerging goals of national development. The study of the performance of education systems presents certain methodological difficulties. It is often convenient to portray educational trends by devising input-output tabu- lations for particular denominators, or variables, e.g. enrolments, expenditures, etc. However, a degree of caution must be exercised in their interpretation, lest logical fallacies intrude through the application of 'closed' systems analysis to essentially 'open' institutions like education. Education cannot be logically isolated from the context of society, from external normative and social influences. 3) The following discussion will, therefore, treat the develop- ment of the Malaysian education institution as a system, in

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