There is a steady increase in the enrolment of non-Chinese pupils in Chinese schools in Malaysia over the last five years. As the fertility rate of Chinese Malaysians continues to drop, so does the enrolment of Chinese pupils in Sekolah Jenis Kebangssan Cina (SJKC), but the reverse is happening with non-Chinese pupils.
In just five years, the ratio of non-Chinese to Chinese pupils
studying in SJKCs has doubled. In 2010, there was one non-Chinese for
every 10 Chinese pupils in SJKCs, and this has grown to two non-Chinese
for every 10 Chinese pupils in 2014.
The number of Chinese pupils in SJKC has reduced from 539,621 in 2010
to 483,852 in 2014 while the number of non-Chinese pupils increases
from 72,443 in 2010 to 87,463 in 2014. This shows a 10.3 per cent drop
in Chinese pupil enrolment at SJKCs.
On the other hand, non-Chinese pupil enrolment went up by 20.7 per
cent. The sharp and steady increase is despite pressure by opponents of
SJKCs asking for the closing of vernacular schools in Malaysia as they
purportedly lead to racial segregation.
This shows that fellow citizens of non-Chinese descent, especially
non-Chinese parents of children in Chinese schools, are not buying into
this fallacy. It is also a testimony of their confidence in SJKC, which a
person of high political office has finally acknowledged.
In endorsing Chinese schools, Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan
Satem hit out at Putrajaya’s policy of not recognising the Unified
Examinations Certificate (UEC), calling it stupid and senseless.
The UEC is a standardised examination taken by students in all 60
Chinese independent secondary schools in the country. A number of
international universities, including the prestigious Oxford University
in the United Kingdom, recognise the qualification.
However, Putrajaya does not recognise the UEC on the ground it does
not follow the national education curriculum. Adenan’s argument is that
failure to recognise the UEC will lead to a brain drain and exodus of
talent to countries which recognised the qualification.
While this move by Sarawak has resulted in a tug of war between the
state and federal government over the recognition of the UEC, SJKCs
continue to face several problems.
Based on the national census in 2010, fertility rate of the Chinese
declined the most among all races. It has declined from 2.6 per cent in
2000 to 1.5 per cent in 2010.
Figures from Education Ministry show that up to 2011, 96 per cent of
Chinese pupils are in Chinese primary schools, an increase of 4 per cent
compared with 92 per cent in year 2000. Due to the low fertility rate,
the number of Chinese pupils in Chinese primary school has reduced by
55,769 in the past four years while non-Chinese pupils increase by
The drop in Chinese pupil enrolment is leading to the closure of
smaller SJKCs in remote areas. However, the situation is different in
urban areas as non-Chinese have pushed up the pupil populations in these
Close to half of pupils in two Chinese primary schools in Kuala
Lumpur are non-Chinese, with SJKC St Teresa having 45 per cent
non-Chinese pupils and SJKC Sentul Pasar Peng Meng having 40.8 per cent
of non-Chinese pupils.
Non-Chinese pupils in SJKC Sam Yok and SJKC Chiao Nan are in the
range between 30 and 40 per cent while non-Chinese pupils in four
Chinese primary schools – SJKC Chung Hwa Girl’s School, SJKC Kong Hon,
SJKC Sentul and the newly opened SJKC Wangsa Maju – are between 20 and
30 per cent.
The other problem faced by SJKCs is their locations in business
district and they face traffic congestion. Plans are afoot to relocate
SJKC St Teresa, SJKC Lai Ming and SJKC Imbi to overcome this problem and
change the distribution of SJKCs in Kuala Lumpur.
[Source: The Heat]