KUALA LUMPUR: The controversy over whether students of SM Chong Hwa Kuantan are allowed to take the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) has come to an end with reassurance from the Government.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong has reiterated that the students would be allowed to take the test meant for Chinese independent schools.
“We will see the first batch of Chong Hwa Kuantan’s students taking the non-government exam in 2016,” he added.
Early last month, the Pahang Education Department had – in a reply to enquiries from the state Chinese Schools Committees Association (Dong Lian Hui) – stated that the school could not conduct the UEC.
The department later retracted the letter and apologised, said Dr Wee.
To further clarify the matter, he said, Education director-general Datuk Dr Khair Mohammad Yusof had written to the Pahang Dong Lian Hui, reassuring it that although the school was registered as a private institution, its students could sit for the UEC exam.
Chong Hwa Kuantan, which opened this year, has around 150 students. It is the 61st Chinese independent school in the country.
Dr Wee, who is also MCA deputy president, said several strategies had been used to ensure the continuous growth of Chinese education, including the construction of new schools and the relocation of schools with low enrolment from the rural areas to the cities.
With the rise of China as an international power and the increase of people learning Chinese worldwide, Dr Wee said more than 90% of Malaysian Chinese parents sent their children to Chinese schools, adding that 15% of students studying at the nearly 1,300 Chinese primary schools in the country were non-Chinese.
“Having knowledge of several languages is an advantage for Malaysians as they can compete in the international arena,” he said in his speech at the ground-breaking ceremony for a new four-storey classroom block at SJKC Kuen Cheng 1 here yesterday.
The century-old school with 1,100 students has raised RM4.7mil. It includes an allocation of RM700,000 from the Government which was raised with the help of Dr Wee over the past few years for the construction of the building.