MALACCA: The pupils stay back after classes, take their baths and have their lunch in school.
SJK (C) Pay Fong III is probably the first school in the country offering after-school day care to increase the number of students for Year One.
It was a move by the Chinese school to stop the decline in student enrolment over the years.
Parents pay RM100 a month for the day care from 1pm to 4.30pm for Year One to Year Four pupils.
Between 1pm and 2.15pm, the pupils take turns to have their showers at modified toilets and then eat lunch prepared by the canteen operator.
This is followed by a 15-minute break in the library where they listen to classical music such as the Blue Danube and folk songs.
Then they do their homework until 3.30pm, followed by a guided learning session where they read English poems and Chinese texts such as the teachings of Confucius .
Later, the pupils play board games for 30 minutes before they are taken home by a schoolbus at 4.30pm.
The plan for the after-school day care was announced in November and it has been proven effective because there are now 43 Year One pupils.
This was unlike the previous intakes – there are only 27 Year Two pupils and 24 in Year Three.
The total enrolment in Pay Fong III, which is located at the foot of Bukit Cina, is 185. In 1970, the enrolment was 791.
Now, 27 pupils are under the day care session, and parents strongly support this plan.
Several parents even volunteer to help out, and the teachers take turns to stay back in school to coach the pupils in their homework.
“Everybody is working towards the same goal,” said headmistress Ng Chui Leng.
Although the school was ranked fifth highest in UPSR examination results among the Chinese schools in Malacca last year, Ng said many parents would rather not enrol their children in Pay Fong III because cemeteries surrounded the school compound.
Another deterrent was the narrow roads leading to the school that made it difficult for bus drivers and parents to park their vehicles when sending the pupils to school or waiting to fetch them, she said.