In Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) and after contacting Ainu through the Couchsurfing network I visited the Sekolah Kebangsaan Taman Seri Rampai (SKTSR). A public Elementary school near the Wagsa Maju station.
Entering the SKTSR was like going back a few years and going back to my childhood. We were welcomed by the entire management team consisting of the director and three assistant principals or head of study. They explained that this equipment was relatively new. He went for the first time last year and had to make many changes. The director was very proud of his work. At first, the different teachers were not satisfied with his way of acting. They wanted to continue doing business as usual, without control. The manager had to bring order. He explained it to us with a triumphant face.
The education system at the elementary school in Malaysia still has a long way to go to adapt to current times. They have not budget, they told us. They also explain that there is a lot of difference between public and private schools. Not only because of the material available to students and teachers, also noted for their level of English (and I can deduce, although I could not verify, that also in other subjects).
The classrooms are like those of the 70s and 80s in Spain. Desks and chalk blackboard. I did not see any computer. Walking through the classes you could see how some children were punished facing the wall or in a corner of the classroom.
One fact that caught my attention was that there was little diversity in the classrooms. When I asked the director about how they treated the subject, and especially the religious issue (it is a country where different religions live together), he explained that public school is mainly of Islamic religion. A family from another country with another religion would have to either abide by the Islamic religion or take their sons and daughters to a specific school where they teach their religion. And this is how it happens. In the Chinatown of Kuala Lumpur you can find Chinese International schools and so on. In addition, an interesting note is that public school teachers have to be Muslims and dress according to religion. The coexistence between cultures and religions is good, respectful. However, joint work within the public school is a pending issue.
At 11am we went out to the schoolyard and we went to the dining room. There we received a group of children smiling and very interested about our origin. As soon as they heard the word Barcelona, the topic of conversation focused on Barça and Messi among boys. For their part, the girls were sitting and quieter. Then I took the opportunity to ask them what they wanted to be when they grew up. I was pleasantly surprised to hear that one wanted to be an astronaut, another teacher, another doctor, another scientist… I hope they have many opportunities and can continue with their dreams so that one day come true!