KOTA KINABALU: The Federation of Chinese Associations Sabah (FCAS) has called on Chinese community to continue to support Chinese independent schools in the state, so as to stabilise the number of students in these schools, which has been decreasing in the recent years.
Its President, Tan Sri T C Goh said the latest statistics which showed that the number of students enrolled in Chinese independent schools in the state this year was only 944 student, which was comparatively less than the previous year’s number of over 1,000 students.
Currently, Sabah has a total of 5,550 students enrolled in Chinese independent schools and there are 483 teaching staff.
Out of the nine Chinese independent schools in the state, only one school has more than 2,000 students, three with more than 500 students and the rest of them have less than 300 students.
He further noted that for Form One enrolment this year, only four Chinese independent schools have a three-digit enrolment, while the other five schools only have two-digit enrolment and is rather concerning.
Saying this in a statement today, Goh, who is also President of the Federation of Chinese Associations Malaysia (Huazong) and a Honorary Board Director for three Chinese independent schools in Sabah namely, Tshung Tsin Secondary School, Kian Kok Middle School and Kudat Pei Tsin High School, also acknowledged that Chinese independent schools in Peninsular Malaysia continued to see a steady student enrolment this year, but not in the case of Sabah.
He further noted the latest statistics revealed that out of the nine Chinese independent schools in the state, Tshung Tsin Secondary School is the largest school with 2,478 students and each form has three-digit enrolment while the number of teaching staff is 162. It is also the only Chinese independent school with more than 100 teaching staff, and its overall development too has been an encouraging one.
However, the number of students in the other eight Chinese independent schools was less than 1,000 students. Only three of them have more than 500 students namely, Yu Yuan Secondary School in Sandakan with 804 students, Kian Kok Middle School with 776 students, and Sabah Chinese High School, Tawau with 734 students. The other five Chinese independent schools have less than 300 students and they are Lahad Datu Middle School with 229 students, Papar Middle School with 172 students, Tshung Tsin Tenom with 145 students, Beaufort Middle School with 108 students, and Kudat Pei Tsin Middle School with 104 students.
As for this year’s Form One enrolment, Sabah Tshung Tsin has the highest number of enrolment with 467 students, followed by Yu Yuan Secondary School with 122 students, Kian Kok Middle School with 118 students, Sabah Chinese High School, Tawau with 104 students, while Papar Middle School has 36 students, Lahad Datu Middle School with 34 students, Tshung Tsin Tenom with 25 students, Beaufort Middle School with 23 students, and Kudat Pei Tsin Middle School has only 15 students.
Goh acknowledged that regardless of the number of new student intake or the total number of students, the situation in some of these Chinese independent schools was rather concerning and it needed serious attention from the Chinese community.
While noting that the declining Chinese population in the state could be a contributing factor to the dwindling number of students, he nonetheless opined that Chinese parents should be encouraged to enrol their children in these Chinese independent schools.
He went on to note that each year, there were around 26,700 students enrolled in the 83 Chinese primary schools in the state. However, statistics showed that only six of these schools have a number of students exceeding 50%, while out of the total number of students in the 83 Chinese primary schools, Chinese students only constituted a quarter or 26% of it.
“Coupled with the fact that after graduating from the Chinese primary schools, a majority of the non-Chinese students had opted to continue with their secondary education in the national-type secondary schools which provide free tuition, has essentially made the Chinese independent schools to depend on the Chinese students in Chinese primary schools, as the main source of supply for their student enrolment,” he said.
Meanwhile, Goh, who is also President of the Federation of Sabah and Labuan Hokkien Associations (FSLHA) welcomed and commended the State Government for continuing to give allocations to Chinese education institutions in the state, Chinese independent schools included.
He believed such a move would effectively help boost the overall development and standard of these Chinese independent schools.