SJKC more than academics, say Malay parents [NSTTV]

Learning Mandarin is the initial reason why many Malay parents enrol their children in Chinese schools, but they quickly learn that the primary education institutions offer more than just academics.

A parent, who wanted to be known only as Aminah, said she initially decided to send her child to a vernacular school mainly due to the language advantage.

"These days, it is common to see people having a good command of English, so Chinese schools are a good avenue for my daughter to learn Mandarin.

"As we went along, however, I found that the school offers more than academics and parents are highly involved in their children's development, something I didn't see much when attending national schools," said Aminah from Seri Kembangan.

She said the teachers updated her regularly on her daughter's academic performance and pushed her to be more supportive towards her daughter's overall development.

School administrators provided an after-school daycare nearby for parents who were only able to fetch their children after office hours, she said.

While she spent a lot on books, Aminah said nominal fees were imposed on the various extracurricular activities.

"I paid an annual computer class fee of less than RM100 and about RM50 for a ukelele monthly class at the school, while I don't remember paying for other activities.

"I heard that the alumni always contribute to the school and would hold an annual dinner to raise funds."

Another parent, who wanted to be identified as Noor Hazwani, 36, from Ampang Jaya, also cited Mandarin language for her reason to enrol her three children at t a vernacular school.

"All of them go to a Chinese school, so I can't compare my children to others who enrol in national schools today, but I observed that they get a lot of homework on a daily basis," said the mother of four.

Hazwani said extra-curricular activities provided by the school such as gymnastics and robotic classes were also cheaper than the ones offered by private companies.

Over the last decade, the enrolment of non-Chinese students, particularly Malays, in Chinese vernacular schools has steadily increased, climbing from 9.5 per cent in 2010 to 15.33 per cent in 2020, according to the Education Ministry.

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