Wednesday, 14 September 2005

MENGAPA BUKAN CINA MEMILIH SEKOLAH JENIS KEBANGSAAN CINA?


Editor akhbar Sin Chew Daily menulis bahawa terdapat 10 % dari 640,000 murid-murid sekolah cina adalah bukan cina. Mengapa fenomena ini berlaku ikuti tulisan beliau dibawah yang dipetik dari akhbar Sin Chew daily.

If there is really anything which can never be defeated, it must be the Chinese education in Malaysia.

Indeed, because of its hardiness, it has waded past the loneliness of the colonial days and the brutality of the Japanese Imperial Army, to give rise to 1,288 Chinese primary schools, 60 independent Chinese secondary schools and three private institutions of tertiary education in this country.

That is a journey quite unlike others, a long and winding road. Because of the countless uncertainties ahead of it, it forges ahead without looking back. Because of the towering hills blocking its way, it is clad in soothing verdure. Because of the rocks standing on its way, it has created glorious waves. And because of the persistence and selfless contributions of some, it has flourished into something of a legendary magnitude in the country's education history.

Today, there are some 640,000 students enrolled in the country's Chinese primary schools, 60,000 or about a tenth of whom non-Chinese. If not because Chinese primary schools across Malaysia have been packed to the seams, more non-Chinese parents are expected to enrol their kids there.

Why do these non-Chinese parents send their kids to Chinese primary schools instead of national primarys schools which are more superior in teaching facilities?

That, is indeed a question which our former prime minster Tun Dr Mahathir finds it hard to understand. As such, he proposed recently that an academic investigation be carried out to find out why more and more non-Chinese parents have sent their children to Chinese primary schools. He wants to know whether these parents do so purely to make their kids learn the Chinese language, or simply because Chinese primary schools are actually better run.

I sincerely hope that the leaders of this country will break through the limitations of ethnically oriented education to inspect the country's education system from a more objective and macroscopic perspective.

Undeniably, there is a huge gap between what the leaders and what the Chinese community thinks about the country's education issues. Chinese primary schools have often been conveniently labelled as stumbling blocks of the nation's progress and solidarity, which is hardly a secret at all. And because of that, Chinese primary schools have been continuously marginalised and their development neglected, resulting in perennial shortage of qualified teachers.

Some of our leaders believe that as long as we run the national primary schools properly, allowing them to have the best teachers and facilites, Chinese parents would naturally send their kids there to study. But things don't always go that way. Today, not only do Chinese parents send their children to Chinese primary schools, an increasing number of non-Chinese parents are also doing the same.

The reason for Chinese parents to send their children to Chinese primary schools cannot be simpler than passing down the cultural heritage. And because of that, the Chinese community remains unwavering on the issue of Chinese education and will never compromise on it.

As for non-Chinese parents sending their children to Chinese primary schools, their motive is largely profit-oriented. If you don't believe me, you can always find out yourself. Chances are that you will be told that they believe their future is brighter if they get some knowledge of the Chinese language. Simple enough.

As a matter of fact, the increasing enrolment of non-Chinese students at Chinese primary schools pose a very serious question to the schools themselves. Some schools even take the initiative to remind non-Chinese parents that sending their children to Chinese primary schools might not be the right option for them, as their children may encounter communication problems there.

Nevertheless, few parents change their minds.

I still remember an Indian parent said, "This is my youngest son. He has three elder brothers, two graduating from national primary schools, and one from a Chinese primary school. They have all started working now. The two brothers from national schools never take home a single cent, only the one graduating from Chinese primary school cares for the family and sends home money every month. So, that's it!"

Perhaps the Indian parent did not have much idea what the Chinese culture was all about, however he knew very well how different the son in Chinese school was.

If Dr Mahathir has ever heard what he said, perhaps he could have a clearer understanding of the unique features of Chinese education.



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