Education policies in Malaysia have been a contentious issue even since pre-Independence days. This has always involved matters of both diversity and inequality, which correspond to the different fault-lines of culture and class. While many have lamented on how the cultural-linguistic division has affected national cohesion, one should argue that, while the communal division is real, we are fundamentally dealing with the issue of class.
Inequality exists in every society, but the level of education received can intensify or mitigate it by changing the individual’s skill level and earning ability, and subsequently his or her socioeconomic status.
This is called social upward mobility. If education can provide a society with high social upward mobility, hope is provided for the poor, mitigating not only inter-generational transmission of inequality but also socio-political instability.
It will also increase society's overall wealth because randomly distributed talents can be optimally cultivated. This allows more wealth to be shared through provision of public goods or even handouts, thus reducing poverty and inequality.
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