HULU LANGAT: A belief that Chinese schools will give their children better grades and an extra language has kept SJK(C) Choon Hwa Batu 18 here thriving.
Only two of the 32 pupils in the school are Chinese. The rest are Malays and an orang asli.
Malay parents in Kampung Batu 18 and nearby villages said Chinese schools were stricter and could help their children achieve better academic results.
“Also, they believe that learning Chinese will give their children an added advantage in life,” said headmistress Chin Bee Foon.
A staunch supporter of Chinese education, Rodziah Lutan, 41, sends three of her children to the school and is planning to enrol her youngest child next year.
Knowing Chinese, she said, had given her son, who is currently pursuing his tertiary studies at the Hulu Langat Community College, more opportunities to be involved in college activities.
“Whenever the college needs someone to translate Chinese, they will seek out my eldest son,” she said.
Seeing the success of their 19-year-old brother, all of Rodziah’s children now want to be sent to Chinese schools.
Rodziah said she was aware that there had been increasing calls for Chinese schools to be shut down.
“I do not wish for Chinese schools to close down,” she said. “I am proud of my children as they have acquired an additional language.”
The school’s decline in student population started in the 1990s when Chinese families moved to Kampung Kenangan 18, a new residential settlement closer to urban Kuala Lumpur.
Many parents then chose to enrol their children in SJK(C) Batu 14, a Chinese school located nearly 10km away from Batu 18.
However, having more non-Chinese pupils in the school has posed several challenges.
Wong Chew Li, who is the senior assistant (administration) for the past eight years, said the classroom was the only platform for the pupils to learn and converse in Chinese.
“When they go home, they usually revert to their mother tongue,” she said, adding that this made acquiring the language much harder.
As a solution, remedial lessons are held after school to make sure that pupils keep up with school work.
“We also get all pupils to participate in storytelling competitions to improve their language and speaking skills,” she said, adding that this would not have been possible in larger schools.
Chin said she was amazed by the warmth of the parents, sharing food with school staff during festive seasons.
“The children interact very well, too. There is no gap between them. They are just like brothers and sisters,” she said.
Some of the pupils who graduated had told Chin that they missed their time at the school.
“They told me what they miss most is the teachers. Each pupil was treated like one of the teachers’ own,” she said.
Source : The Star Online
Published: Friday October 2, 2015 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Friday October 2, 2015 MYT 9:58:50 AM
BY ADRIAN CHAN