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‘Determination to improve in face of competition from international schools’ BY LIM HOW PIM ON NOVEMBER 16, 2020, MONDAY AT 12:04 AM
Posted on : 16 Nov 2020  Source of News: The Borneo Post
 

Dato Richard Wee

THE Chinese independent secondary schools in Sarawak would continue to seek improvement to provide wholesome education for young Sarawakians, said Sarawak United Association of Chinese School Boards of Management treasurer Dato Richard Wee.

According to him, Chinese independent secondary schools are facing competition given that more parents are sending their children to international schools.

“With the state government’s international schools coming up, they may be more affordable for parents given the government’s support,” he told The Borneo Post.

We said despite such competition, he welcomed the state government’s efforts to run international schools, saying that no stream should have a monopoly on education.

“People have different preferences and we welcome competition, in the hope that this would make us more alert and ready for improvement for our schools. International schools are English-stream and for parents wanting their children to be educated in Chinese schools, they would still choose our (Chinese independent secondary) schools.

“We will continue to improve and hope that parents who have sent their children to Chung Hua Primary Schools (CHPS) would consider us to be the first choice,” he said.

There are six CHPS in Kuching city – named as CHPS No 1 to No 6. At present, only between 10 and 20 per cent of Primary 6 pupils from these schools enrol in Chinese independent secondary schools, while the enrolment percentage of pupils from government primary schools is lower.

Wee said the association had been trying to increase the enrolment from CHPS No 1 to No 6 by another 10 to 20 per cent.

He admitted that each Chinese independent secondary school had a capacity limitation, meaning that an increase in enrolment would mean the school carrying out assessments before confirming intakes.

“We do our best to take in as many (students) as possible. If the enrolment increases, doing assessment is our last resort.”

On the full recognition of Unified Examination Certificate (UEC), Wee said it remained a dream even though they had been working hard to make it come true. He said it was false to assume that UEC holders would enrol in local public universities if full recognition of UEC was granted by the federal government.

“UEC holders can go to Taiwan and China, or even Singapore or Australia, to pursue tertiary education, especially if their parents are doing well financially. More importantly, many universities in Taiwan and China are offering scholarships to UEC holders. What matters is that, if UEC is fully recognised, UEC holders would be able to join the civil service,” he said.

He pointed out that currently, UEC holders graduating from world-renowned universities would not be able to join the civil service without Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) qualification.

Wee believed that with full recognition of UEC, Malaysia would be able to see more talented Malaysians coming back to the country to contribute towards nation-building; thus preventing brain-drain.

“It is very discouraging to see qualified professionals such as medical specialists choosing not to come back to serve their country because they don’t have SPM,” he lamented.

Wee said to have a broader career path, more than 80 per cent of Chung Hua Middle School No 1 students would also take SPM examinations. He said other Chinese independent secondary schools might record a lower percentage, but the school policy had always been to encourage students to do both UEC and SPM examinations.

In Sarawak, he said UEC had been recognised during the time of former chief minister, the late Pehin Sri Adenan Satem.

“On behalf of the Chinese independent secondary schools and their boards, we appreciate the state government’s efforts towards recognising the UEC, providing financial assistance to the schools, and giving us land to have another source of income.

“It has been a dream that the UEC could be recognised by the federal government, regardless of who the government of the day is. We hope that all would stand a chance to help develop this country – at least, UEC holders should not be looked upon as second-class students or citizens in comparison with other streams. We also hope the federal government would continue to give financial assistance to the 60+2 Chinese independent secondary schools in the country, and that the amount would be gradually increased,” he added.