BEING unable to get the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) recognised by the government is Chinese educationist Datuk Ong Chiow Chuen’s biggest regret, reports Sin Chew Daily.
Ong, who retired last December after having served as president of educationist group Jiao Zong for 26 years, recalled how the group had hoped that UEC graduates would finally get to enter public universities and join the civil service when Pakatan Harapan came to power in 2018.
However, their hopes were quickly dashed after then prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad decided to cast that agenda aside.
The 78-year-old said even though DAP, the party with the most number of MPs in the coalition, received overwhelming support from the Chinese, it was unable to represent the community in fighting for their rights.
“Let’s first put aside (the fact) that they admitted they do not only represent the Chinese.
“DAP won 42 of its (parliamentary) seats largely with the help of Chinese voters.
“As such, they needed to use this (as leverage) to perform, yet the Chinese leaders in the Cabinet forewent the opportunity and were too afraid to speak up, ” he said.
He added that during Barisan Nasional rule, MCA had always represented the Chinese in voicing their concerns.
Jiao Zong, also known as the United Chinese School Teachers’ Association of Malaysia, would often make its requests to the government via MCA, he said.
He gave an example of how it raised an issue with MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong, who was then deputy education minister, on the shortage of 4,000 teachers at Chinese vernacular schools.
By setting up a task force on schoolteachers to come up with solutions, Dr Wee managed to reduce the shortage to just 1,000 in a few years.
Ong added that for Chinese education to survive, the country as a whole must first be tolerant of diversity in the education system.
The UEC qualification is taken by Form Six students at independent Chinese schools and is considered equivalent to the STPM in many foreign universities.
However, the UEC is yet to be recognised by public universities in Malaysia, thus forcing its graduates who wish to further their studies to either go to private universities or study abroad.
The above article is compiled from the vernacular newspapers (Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese and Tamil dailies). As such, stories are grouped according to the respective language/medium. Where a paragraph begins with this ' >'sign, it denotes a separate news item.
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