MALAY parents who chose to send their children to Chinese primary schools in Kedah want their children to learn the Chinese language and be exposed to other cultures.
Dental clinic assistant Fakrulnisah Mohd Yunus, 41, of Taman Utama, Jalan Gangsa in Alor Setar, said she decided her son should start Year One in SJK(C) Pumpong in Alor Setar so that he could learn an additional language.
“The education system in Chinese schools is more advanced compared to the national type schools,” she said.
Salwa Ibrahim, 32, of Kampung Seberang Pumpong, said she sent her daughter Putri Alya Ezriena, eight, to a Chinese school to learn and adapt to the culture of students from other races.
The officer from the Pokok Sena Prison said that so far, her daughter had not faced any problems and got along well with her Chinese friends.
Senior tax executive Norshahida Haris, 33, from Taman Wira Mergong, said she enrolled her daughter Nur Afrina Nabeelah Mohd Amirul, eight, in a Chinese school as she found the discipline there to be good.
SJK(C) Pumpong’s headmistress Kua Saw Lian said seven Malay students, including four boys and three girls, turned up on the first day of school yesterday.
She said 52 Year One pupils registered this year, comprising 45 Chinese and seven Malay pupils.
She said the students were placed in two classrooms - 1 Ren (with 27 pupils) and 1 Ci (25 pupils).
Kua said the enrolment of Malay pupils at the school increased by two or three each year.
Over at SK Convent Jalan Datuk Kumbar in Alor Setar, two pairs of twins who registered for Year One yesterday grabbed the attention of others.
The first pair of twins Hani Qistina and Hani Qaisara Mohd Hazrizaidi and the other pair Puteri Rania Syakira and Puteri Rania Syakirin Bukhari said they were happy to make new friends and study together at the same school.
“I’m just so happy that I’m in the same class as my sister Hani Qaisara,” said Hani Qistina.
Puteri Rania Syakira said she and her sister were looking forward to excelling in their studies.
Headmistress Norlilawati Mohamed said 72 pupils registered for Year One this year.
She said the school held an orientation programme on Saturday to allow pupils and parents to familiarise themselves with the school.
Kedah Education Department director Datin Azuyah Hassan said 30,290 pupils were registered for Year One this year at 544 primary schools in the state.
“A total of 25,624 pupils are registered at 396 Sekolah Kebangsaan (SK), 3,495 pupils at 90 Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan Cina (SJKC) while 1,171 pupils were enrolled in 58 Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan Tamil (SJKT) here,” she said.
In George Town, parents and their children were seen doing their last-minute shopping for school uniforms, shoes and other items.
A parent, who wished to be known only as Nithya, said she took advantage of the additional week of school holidays to get some uniforms and shoes for her children.
“I wanted to buy the items earlier but when it was announced the holidays were going to be extended, I decided to wait,” she said.
Sunshine Wholesale Mart Sdn Bhd retail operation director Yee Kam Ming said the ‘Back-to-School’ promotion at Sunshine Square in Bayan Baru was extended for another week.
“However, most parents had already done the bulk of their shopping last weekend. Most who came this weekend just bought stationery,” he said.