KUALA LUMPUR: A minister is baffled as to why more and more families of various ethnicities are not keen to send their children to national primary schools.
In raising this matter, Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor urged the Federal Territories Education Department to find out the root cause behind this development.
“We must find out why the Chinese like to send their children to Chinese primary schools.
“Even some Malay families send their children to these schools or opt for private ones.
“In the past, many parents chose national primary schools. But now, many Chinese and Malay families prefer to enrol their children in vernacular schools,” he said in his speech during the excellence presentation awards at SM Tinggi Setapak yesterday.
Tengku Adnan said school heads and teachers as educators should hold discussions on this matter.
“The situation now is that our national primary schools are not the top choice. So there must be a problem somewhere.
“It is the Government’s hope to see our children study together at national primary schools,” he said.
Tengku Adnan acknowledged that the current education policy and syllabus could be one of the reasons.
“Maybe, parents are not satisfied with the present system or model. Therefore, we must make the necessary changes,” he said.
“We must find out what the people want and to feel their pulse.”
Deputy Education Minister Chong Sin Woon agreed, adding that up to 20% of students in Chinese schools were non-Chinese.
“In Sabah, it is higher at 40%,” he said when contacted.
Chong, who is also MCA Youth chief, said there was a trend among younger parents to send their children to more competitive schools.
“We see an increase in students not just in Chinese schools but private and international schools as well,” he said.
United Chinese School Teachers’ Association of Malaysia chairman Ong Chiow Chuen said there was a notable rise in non-Chinese students, especially in Sabah and Sarawak.
“This shows that parents have confidence in the Chinese vernacular school system. It also proves that the Government’s decision to have various streams of schools is correct,” he said.
Ong hoped the popularity of Chinese schools would encourage more support from the Government.
“With more students studying in Chinese schools, it will help churn out more Malaysians who can speak three languages. This is important,” he said.