From time to time, the issues of independent Chinese school education and Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) will trigger heated debates. It proves that there are still great differences between the Chinese community and the BN government on the issue.
After some troubles, UEC holders are finally allowed to apply for the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) loans. Some are gratified, some are taunting while some are trying to claim the credit. But some are still observing and waiting for the full recognition for the UEC.
The independent Chinese school education system and UEC is a problem left over by history. It must be resolved one day, the sooner the better. But the ball is now in the government's court and thus, the Chinese community needs not to be in haste. The world will, after all, keep moving forward without the recognition and independent Chinese schools will also keep running.
I have no independent Chinese school background but I sent all the three of my children to study in an independent Chinese school. To be honest, I simply do not care about whether the government will recognise the UEC as I am confident that as long as my children are able to pass the Unified Examination, it will not going to be a problem for their future.
There are two real-life examples.
An old classmate called me last year to share his joy.
His son, who went to the United Kingdom to study medicine after graduated from Foon Yew High School, was immediately recruited by Singapore's University Hospital, mainly because his son possessed a Chinese school background.
"More and more, I'm sure that it was a right decision to send my son to study in Foon Yew High School. Independent Chinese school education is definitely an advantage, instead of a burden," he said.
Daughter of Cheng Chean Chiang, a Chinese organisation chairman in Johor Bahru, also graduated from Foon Yew High School. She then went to the United States to study a financial related course. She graduated two years ago and she was able to stand out amid thousands of applicants and recruited by a financial company in the United States amidst the second mortgage crisis, when the financial industry was suffering lay-offs and pay cuts. Cheng told us the reason: "The company was looking for a talent who can communicate with Chinese people. My daughter's 12-year Chinese education background was her biggest advantage."
Times change and there are great changes over the past half century. The rise of China has brought Chinese language out of the doldrums and it is now moving towards the world. It used to be a dream for many people 30 years ago.
For decades, we have tired of the intervention of politics in education. How would the government thought that Chinese education, which had been suppressed in the past, has today become an advantage and assets of Malaysia?
It is now the time to recognise the UEC. Never wait until the whole world has recognised it and Malaysia is the only one left!