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Malay enrolment will keep Chinese schools afloat, says academic
Published on: Friday, February 16, 2024
By: FMT, Nora Mahpar
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Malay enrolment will keep Chinese schools afloat, says academic
The trend of Malay parents preferring to send their children to Chinese schools instead of national schools is a concern, an academic said.
PETALING JAYA: An academic believes that there is no reason to worry about the future of Chinese vernacular schools (SJKC), as the space left by declining Chinese birth rates will be filled by non-Chinese students.

Responding to Bayan Baru MP Sim Tze Tzin’s concerns, Anuar Ahmad said Chinese schools have become an option for other races, especially the Malays, as many parents believe that they provide better quality education than national schools.

“I do not worry, because this decline will be offset by non-Chinese students. SJKCs are becoming similar to SK schools, as their enrolments are becoming more varied between Chinese, Indians, Malays and (other)Bumiputeras,” said Anuar, who is a lecturer at University Kebangsaan Malaysia.

Last Tuesday, Sim questioned whether SJKC schools will be able to survive, as only 40,000 ethnic Chinese babies were born in 2022, making up less than 10% of the total 423,124 Malaysian babies born that year.

He said that in five years, these babies will enter Standard One, and with there being 1,200 SJKCs, it would mean the average enrolment in each SJKC will only be 33 students.

Meanwhile, Anuar said the education ministry must also raise the quality of national schools.

“The current concern is the trend of Malay parents preferring to send their children to Chinese schools. Why aren’t they going to national schools?” he asked.

Anuar said it was the ministry’s responsibility to identify the reasons for this and immediately find a solution that would restore parents’ confidence in national schools as the main choice.

“We should ensure that not just Malay and Bumiputera parents, but those of all ethnicities choose national schools because these schools are sponsored by the government, but we see things going otherwise.

“These students go to Chinese schools, while Chinese students go to international schools. We don’t want international school student numbers to be high at the expense of national schools,” he added.

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