More Bumiputras In Chinese Schools Could Threaten Its Education System

PERAK Independent Chinese Secondary Schools Revival Movement president Foo Wan Thot regards the increasing number of bumiputras enrolling in national-type Chinese primary schools with mixed feelings.

While admitting that it is a good sign, he is worried that the Education Ministry might use this as an excuse to post more non-Mandarin-speaking teachers to such schools, resulting in the erosion of their characteristics in the long run, Oriental Daily News reported today.

He stressed that he is not against having more bumiputra pupils in Chinese schools – in fact Chinese schools very much welcome them – but has to bring up the "possible outcome of such a phenomenon" and be concerned that the Chinese school education system might come under threat.

"When more and more bumiputras send their children to Chinese schools, the authorities would have an excuse to allocate more (non-Mandarin-speaking) bumiputra teachers to these schools, eventually affecting their education system, to the extent that they might one day become national schools."

Citing the case of a notable Chinese primary school near his house, he said that in a departure from the norm, the school's headmaster or teachers were heard addressing its weekly assemblies in Bahasa Malaysia lately.

He later found out that it was because some non-Mandarin-speaking teachers had been posted to the schools.

Foo, who is also the honourary chairman of both Perak Hakka Association and Shen Jai High School's board of directors, said this at the 41st anniversary dinner of the school's old students association in Ipoh last Saturday night.

He said Malaysian Chinese, particularly those passionate about championing the Chinese language, are well known for their efforts and contributions towards the development of Chinese education in Malaysia.

Pointing out that the pioneers of the "Revival Movement" who aroused the community's interest in propagating the Chinese language are already in their twilight years, Foo hoped to see a crop of young leaders picking up the baton.

- The Sun Daily
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