Friday, December 4, 2015

More non-Chinese in SJKCs?

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 15,020.
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 schools.

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]

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