Posted on April 24, 2012, Tuesday
by Jonathan Chia, firstname.lastname@example.org.
KUCHING: The government is again urged to recognise the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) and provide financial aid to private Chinese secondary schools as these schools had produced a big pool of quality human resources over the years.
In making this call, Sarawak United Association of Private Chinese Secondary School Management Board president Temenggong Vincent Lau said although private Chinese secondary schools were not a part of the nation’s mainstream education it is still a part of Malaysian history and played a big role in the country’s development.
He said these schools had produced a lot of UEC graduates over the years, and it was ironical for the country not to recognise UEC when many institutions of higher learning in many parts of the world recognised it.
“Due to our contributions towards nation building we are convinced that the government should not treat private Chinese secondary schools like private colleges or schools which were set up by private initiatives.
“We have been requesting the government to provide financial assistance and other areas of support to private Chinese secondary schools, but, unfortunately until now, we failed to get significant positive response,” Lau said at the Sarawak Timber Association (STA) Financial Contributions, Scholarships and Daiken scholarships presentation here yesterday.
He believed that the government was dragging its feet due to technical and policy matters rather than anything else.
“We hope that the government will take a panoramic view of Chinese education in this country.”
Lau added that the continued growth and survival of private Chinese secondary schools were critical and should not be viewed as destructive or a burden but instead as a valuable asset for the country.
“With the opening up of the economy of China, and as the nation (China) heads towards becoming a great power, Chinese language will definitely become a very important language internationally. It may not replace English as an international language but those who wish to trade with China or invest in the country must have a good standard of Chinese language.”
Malaysia presently has 60 private Chinese secondary schools, out of which 14 are in Sarawak.
“The schools are running on deficit of between RM2 million to RM3 million a year, and in order to make up to the deficit in operating the schools, we had to rely on public support and donations.”
Lau pointed out that private Chinese secondary schools too have many non-Chinese students, and that it was ready to take in more.
“Therefore, it would be wise for the government to support the existence of private Chinese secondary schools instead of imposing many restrictions to impede its growth.
“I think the country will regret it if one day private Chinese secondary schools do not exist anymore.”
During the function, STA, through its wholly-owned company STA Mutual Sdn Bhd, presented financial contributions totalling RM350,000 to representatives of 14 private Chinese secondary schools and the management board of the Sarawak United Association of Private Chinese Secondary School.
The function was also attended by STA chairman Pemanca Datuk Wong Kie Yik, company secretary of STA Mutual Sdn Bhd Philip Choo, Forestry Department deputy director Sapuan Ahmad, STA general manager Dr Peter Kho and Daiken Sarawak Sdn Bhd senior manager Anthony Chin.