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Sabah Dong Lian to survey what people want
Published on: Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Kota Kinabalu: The Association of Sabah National-Type Chinese School Management Committee (Sabah Dong Lian) is set to conduct a survey among the local community to gauge the wishes of the people from the Chinese education perspective.

Its Chairman, Ben Lim Kiat Kong said Monday, the move followed the Committee's discussion with Deputy Minister of Education I, Datuk Mary Yap Kain Ching, State Education Director, Datuk Jame Alip and Deputy Director, Hjh Maimunah Hj Suhaibul on the proposal to convert the status of SK Api Api to a national-type Chinese primary school.

Yap had informed the committee that a proper survey needed to be conducted to determine whether the locality in question requires a national-type Chinese primary school (SJK © or a national school (Sekolah Kebangsaan or SK).

This, she said, would involve conducted interviews and executing questionnaires to the residents in the vicinity of the proposed school.

"We want to get things done by following the proper procedure.

That is our ultimate goal.

We are not here to gain mileage. What we are pursuing is not for us but for the future of our children, and the next generation, irrespective of race.

"We are mindful of the multi-racial character of our society.

Towards this end, we will speak to residents (including parents) living in the particular area and its surroundings," Lim told Daily Express after the discussion held at the State Education Department's Conference Room.

Lim, who led a delegation from Sabah Dong Lian, concurred with Yap that education should not be politicised. Also present were Assistant Director of Education (Chinese School), Tham Yun Fook, Honorary Life Chairman, Datuk Daniel Chu Vui Fai, Vice-Chairman, Lo Kim Thong and Director of Secondary School Development, Chan Chun Ket.

Yap commended Sabah Dong Lian for its professionalism in addressing the issue by adhering to the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP).

"On this score, the Ministry of Education (MOE) would be open-minded in taking all factors into consideration before arriving at a decision," she said.

She also stressed that the Ministry had always considered vernacular schools as part of the national education system. This is clearly stated in Chapter Seven of the Malaysian Education Development Plan (Pelan Pembangunan Pendidikan Malaysia (2013-2025).

On the shortage of Mandarin-speaking teachers in Primary Four, Five and Six classes, Yap said the Education Ministry would address the problem based on the respective schools' needs.

Lim said he is grateful that MOE is conducting the non-option intervention programme (PITO) as a short-term measure to solve the shortage of Chinese Language teachers in Primary Four, Five and Six classes.

"In other words, a teacher in a Chinese-medium school, whose option is Bahasa Malaysia or English, may be sent for training in the Chinese Language to meet the needs of that particular school," he explained.

PITO is an in-service training programme that runs for four to six weeks.

At this juncture, Lim welcomed the Education Ministry's move to deploy some 940 fresh graduates to fill the vacancies in Chinese primary schools throughout the country. Earlier, it was reported that such schools face a shortage of more than 1,000 teachers nationwide.

According to him, there are 80 national-type Chinese primary schools (SJK © and three Chinese-medium national schools (SK © in Sabah.

The difference between a SJK © and a SK © is that the former is not funded by the Government while a SK © is fully funded by the Government just like any other SK (Sekolah Kebangsaan or National School).

The shortage of Chinese Language teachers in Sabah's eight conforming schools was also brought to the attention of Yap.

These are KK High School, SM Lok Yuk (Likas), SM Shan Tao, SM Lok Yuk (Kudat), SM Sung Siew (Sandakan), Sandakan Chung Hwa Middle School, Ken Hwa Secondary School (Keningau) and Tenom Chung Hwa Secondary School.

"We found the discussion with the Deputy Education Minister a very fruitful one. We believe in the value of consultation rather than confrontation," Lim added.

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