The existence of an ethnic divide is a common problem in multiethnic societies, more so when these societies are straddled with contradictions reflected in their socioeconomic and political composition and configuration. The existence of an ethnic divide in the educational sector is most unfortunate since one of the fundamental purposes of schooling in multiethnic societies is to achieve a common process of socialisation and enculturation among the different ethnic group to achieve a strong sense of social cohesion. While Malaysia has aspired to provide a common or uniform system of schooling for the different ethnic groups since Independence, such an aspiration was however compromised by the co-existence of alternative pathways of education that are divided along ethnic lines. There are four dimensions underpinning these ethnic divisions, namely linguistic, preferential, religious and class. This monograph explores the emergence and subsequent developments of these alternative pathways of education and their impact on Malaysia’s nation-building process.
Dr. Tan Yao Sua is Senior Lecturer and Research Fellow at the Centre for Policy Research and International Studies, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang. His main research interests include educational policy analysis, minority education, bilingual education, sociology of education and Malaysian Chinese Studies.
Dr. Sezali Md Darit is Senior Lecturer and Research Fellow at the Centre for Policy Research and International Studies, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang. His main research interests are in the areas of public policy analysis, political geography, electoral studies and geography information system.