Chinese schools in need of funding
DESPITE THEIR REPUTATIONS for producing high scholastic achievers – especially in Math and Sciences – Chinese primary schools face such challenges as over-congestion, lack of basic facilities and aging infrastructure.
Among those is Chung Hua Primary School No. 4 at Nanas Road, Kuching.
Notwithstanding expansions done incrementally over the years from funds raised and donated by the general public, Chung Hua No 4 still faces a shortage of necessary, basic equipment such as desks and chairs for the students.
According to Pemanca Liu Thian Leong, president of the Sarawak United Association of Chinese Primary Aided School Board of Management, Chinese schools were not entitled to these basic equipment.
To overcome this problem, the Chinese community has had to raise funds to purchase their own desks and chairs for the students. Sometimes used furniture is also purchased from government schools.
In addition, Liu also stated that Chung Hua No 4 did not have enough classrooms for its students. Chung Hua No 2 and Chung Hua Sungai Tapang Hilir, for example, also face over-congested classrooms. Although only built several years ago, the number of students have now exceeded the capacity of their classrooms.
In some cases, other schools in the rural areas are in need of reconstruction because they are more than half a century old and are worn down.
On June 11, Liu met with Chief Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Adenan Satem at his office at Wisma Bapa Malaysia to highlight on the financial assistance and conditions faced by Chung Hua primary schools around Sarawak.
According to Liu, about 220 Chinese primary schools were established and built before and soon after the Second World War. As a result, a lot of funds are required for maintenance and repair. Some schools even need to be totally replaced because they are worn down and aging from time.
So far, the federal government allocated RM6 million which is yet to be released to Sarawak but the amount is drastically lower than the estimated amount needed.
Liu elaborated that about 46 schools had come up with plans for reconstruction and extensions which, in total, require funding of up to RM57 million – RM7 million more than what the federal government had allocated in its special grant to all Chinese primary schools nationwide this year alone.
“We are trying to appeal to the Chief Minister to initiate some capital or annual grant for the Chinese schools to made good for deficit,” said Liu.
Currently, 69,000 students are attending Chinese primary schools in Sarawak, 19,100 or 27% of the students of whom are Bumiputera.
Aside from the dialogue session to discuss about the need of more funds for Chinese primary schools, the Federation of the Chinese Associations Sarawak also handed over a memorandum summarizing 12 requests touching on several issues such as education, economy, infrastructure, domestic flight service and public health care.