Bumiputeras powering Chinese school

Majority of pupils in SJK Chung Hua Beliong in Asajaya non-Chinese

KUCHING: SJK Chung Hua Beliong in Asajaya welcomed seven Primary One pupils for the new school term yesterday, and all of them are Bumiputeras.

Headmaster Liew Kok Hui was not surprised that all the new pupils are Bumiputeras because all this while the majority of pupils in his primary school are Bumiputeras due to its location in a predominantly Bumiputera area.

“The population here is around 4,000; out of that, only about 130 are Chinese. This is one of the reasons why many of our pupils are Bumiputeras.”

He pointed out that although there were two other schools in the area, namely SK Beliong and SK Beradek, many parents opted to send their children to SJK Chung Hua Beliong.

“I’ve spoken to some parents, and they told me the reason they chose to send their children to a Chinese school was because they believe that if their children mastered Mandarin as a second language, it would be better for their future,” said Liew, who has been the school’s headmaster for the past eight years.

Currently, there are 20 pupils at the primary school, of whom 19 are Bumiputeras and one of Chinese-Iban mixed parentage.

“We have 11 teaching staff, including myself, and a religious teacher. Classes may be small, with an average of four pupils, but this enables our teachers to teach every pupil personally to ensure they master Mandarin.”

Meanwhile, the number of Bumiputera children enrolling in Chung Hua primary schools here has been increasing steadily over the years due to greater appreciation of the value of Mandarin as a second language.

Chung Hua Primary Schools No.1 to 6 Management committee chairman Wong Tiong Hook said many Bumiputera parents now opted to send their children to study at Chinese schools as they were aware of the benefits and practicality in mastering Mandarin, which is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world.

“Learning Mandarin as a second language has grown in popularity in many countries, with students in the United States even taking up the language, whether for personal reasons or business opportunities,” he told The Borneo Post yesterday.

With China’s growing global influence now seen across political, cultural and economic spectrums, he pointed out that parents recognised that if their children were to learn Mandarin, they could discover new and exciting ways to succeed.

“Mandarin has become very convenient as more and more people are now conversant in the language. This is especially helpful for our Chinese-speaking students when they grow up,” he said.
To cater to the growing number of Bumiputera students, the management has taken the liberty to include amenities, such as prayer rooms and a hand-washing facility for Muslim pupils.

“We are very happy to see more Bumiputera students joining us and for parents who are interested to send their children to study at Chung Hua primary schools. They are always welcome to enrol them.”

He also extended his gratitude to Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem for his strong support of Chinese schools.

“We hope that with our chief minister’s support towards Chinese schools in the state, more Bumiputeras now know the importance of mastering Mandarin.” -Borneo Post.

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