- Are the Vivekananda schools religious schools?
No – the Ashrama owns and operates four schools, of which three are Tamil schools while the secondary school (SMK Vivekananda, Brickfields) welcomes students of all faiths with multi-cultural activities that are relevant to the student population. All four schools follow the Malaysian curriculum. Cultural activities are organised at the schools to keep traditions alive and to honour our founder’s teachings and philosophies. Religious classes are held only at the Tamil schools for those who practice the Hindu faith.
- Who are the students who attend the Ashrama’s Tamil schools?
About forty per cent of the students come from middle class homes, with parents who want their children to have a good foundation in their mother tongue in addition to a holistic education. Another forty per cent are from the lower income group whose parents are unable to afford the opportunities available. The remaining twenty per cent of the student population come from poverty-stricken families; without assistance for books, fees, transport, nutrition and tuition fees, these children would not be able to have an education.
- Who manages the Ashrama schools?
The Ashrama is run by an elected Management Committee; for more information, please refer to Overview.
- Why did the Board of Trustees consider the sale of Ashrama land?
The Board has accepted that the changing times and needs of the schools and community require a more sustainable source of income. In view of SRK (T) Vivekananda Brickfields’ new status as a Trust school in 2014, the Board decided that all the schools deserve the opportunity to become Trust schools, which would require a minimum of RM10 million over five years to accomplish. The sale of the land would have made these funds available, which would also be used to fund other initiatives for the schools including our spiritual and cultural activities. For more information, please refer to Challenges.
- Does the Government fund the Ashrama schools?
The Ashrama schools are Sekolah Bantuan Modal and the Government provides for the basic needs of the schools namely the teachers’ salaries, an allotment for the students and the administration. All other requirements of the schools such as infrastructure, facilities for the children like uniforms, books, fees, computer labs, as well as extracurricular activities like music classes and tuition fees are borne by the Ashrama.
- Why doesn’t the Ashrama make these schools fully funded?
Although the schools in Malaysia are open to all races, the vernacular schools, namely the Chinese and Tamil schools, generally cater for students who want to learn their mother tongue in the primary schools.
All our students in the Tamil schools are Tamil speaking and nearly sixty per cent are from economically challenged environments. While the Government provides equal facilities for all sekolah kerajaan, the Ashrama believes that a more holistic education allows greater opportunities. With more facilities, Tamil schoolchildren will have a smoother transition from a vernacular school to the national secondary school without going to the Removed class. It is with this mission in mind that the Ashrama convinced the Government to make SJK (T) Vivekananda Brickfields a Trust school. This effort is bearing fruits and we aim to make all our schools high performing schools, in line with the Ministry of Education’s Education Blueprint 2013-2025.
- Why is it necessary to convert the current schools into Trust schools?
In response to the Education Blueprint 2013-2025, the Ashrama’s aim is to make the four schools under our care high performing schools. The Ministry of Education describes high performing schools as “schools that have ethos, character and a unique identity in all aspects of education. They have a tradition of high performance work culture that develops national human capital in a holistic and sustainable manner, (and) who are competitive in the international arena.” This initiative aims to raise the quality of the best schools, produce outstanding students and bridge the gap between schools in the system.
- What other benefits does a child receive by studying in the Vivekananda schools?
In addition to a holistic education, the Ashrama offers many programmes that support students, from financial assistance to training and mentoring, as well as cultural and religious classes. For more information, refer to Education.
With the establishment of Form Six classes in SMK Vivekananda Brickfields in 2014, students who began their education in SJK (T) Vivekananda Brickfields have the opportunity to complete their education from pre-school until Form Six in the same compound. Furthermore they would be able to learn Tamil for the duration of their studies while benefiting from the cultural and religious teachings, which has traditionally been the scope of the school curriculum of the Ashrama schools.
- What is your source of revenue? How does the Ashrama fund its activities and fulfill its responsibilities?
All the Ashrama’s activities are funded by donations from individuals and corporations. It does not have a regular source of income. As such, throughout its history, funds were always limited, especially for infrastructure. Today, in addition to the support of generous donors, the Ministry of Education has supported the Ashrama schools in various ways, especially in the last 5 years.