KUALA LUMPUR – Non-Chinese students may form up to 30 per cent of the student population in Chinese primary schools (SJKC) in the future, deputy education minister Datuk Chong Sin Woon has said.

Chong said that the estimated figure is possible given the fact that SJKCs are becoming more multiracial in nature.

Chong noted that SJKCs — the national-type primary schools which use Mandarin to teach the national syllabus — currently have non-Chinese forming 18 per cent of its student population.

He said that this figure could rise up to 20 per cent or 30 per cent in the future if the current annual trend of declining figures of fresh enrolment of Chinese students and increasing numbers of students from other ethnic communities continues.

Chong attributed the multiracial scenario in SJKCs to the lower birth rates among the Chinese community and the recognition from other ethnic communities towards the vernacular schools’s curriculum.

“SJKCs nowadays are no longer having a purely Chinese student population, there are also other races, the face of SJKCs will change, therefore we have to make adjustments, Chinese education no longer belongs to the Chinese, but belongs to the education of all.

“I hope Dong Zong, Jiao Zong and Chinese associations can keep in touch and contribute to Chinese education together,” he was quoted saying yesterday by local daily Sin Chew Daily.

SJKC schools were previously more homogenous in nature as shown in the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025, where it noted overwhelmingly Chinese enrolment of 92 per cent in 2000 and 96 per cent in 2011 in such schools.

In recent years, SJKCs have been recording a higher proportion of non-Chinese students.

According to a January 2015 report by the United Chinese School Teachers’ Association of Malaysia (Jiao Zong), 11.84 per cent or 72,443 students at SJKC schools in 2010 were non-Chinese, a figure which grew to 15.31 per cent or 87,463 in 2014.

A reported 18 per cent out of the 2016 SJKC batch were non-Chinese, which would come up to around 97,252 out of the 540,290 students.

– Malay Mail