The team of 23 visitors from Sze Chuan, China posing for a group photograph before departing.
A group of 23 educators from Sze Chuan, China visited Malaysia recently to study the secret behind Malaysians’ proficiency in Mandarin.
“We were curious as to why Malaysians in China are so fluent in Mandarin, especially in writing and communication,” said Sze Chuan China Educational Visiting Programme head Lijun during a visit to SJK(C) Ladang Harcroft, Puchong.
School board of governors member Dr Kow Cheong Wei briefed the foreign guests on the history of Chinese language
education in Malaysia, including its curriculum and syllabus.
He said the presence of independent Chinese secondary schools in the country was a contributory factor to the high level of Chinese language proficiency here.
“Since their establishment during the 19th century, these schools have used simplified Chinese as the medium of instruction in subjects such as Mathematics and Science, but also taught Bahasa Malaysia and English to equip students for higher education.”
Simplified Chinese is also the official language of China.
Other than sitting the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC), students at these schools also have the option of taking the
Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia, which gives them the best of both worlds, said Dr Kow.
In 1962, schools that decided not to change their medium of instruction to English or Bahasa Malaysia became independent, or non-assisted schools, thereby receiving no financial assistance from the Malaysian government.
There are currently about 60 Chinese independent schools.
Dr Kow also revealed that there were about 40,000 students from China currently pursuing pre-university, undergraduate and postgraduate studies in Malaysia.
“Chinese students feel at home here as they have no problems in terms of communication and food while Malaysia offers a reputable study environment,” said Kow.
The low cost of living and affordable fees have also led to more Chinese nationals studying in the country.
“Students can obtain an Australian or British degree in Malaysia at a fraction of the cost,” said Dr Kow.
“I’m very happy to see Chinese culture being widely practised and well-preserved here” said Lijun.