Saturday, May 8

Too many schools for too few pupils — Lau

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THANK YOU: Lau (right) presenting a token of appreciation to SMK Methodist principal Yong Choo Tiong while (from left) See Hua marketing manager Kueh Nguan Seng and The Borneo Post Sibu branch manager Lawrence Ling look on.

SIBU: Better road infrastructure and rural-urban migration are reducing the number of pupils in rural Chinese primary schools.

President of Sarawak United Association of Private Chinese School Management Boards, Temenggong Vincent Lau Lee Ming believed these were the contributing factors for poor pupil enrolment in these schools.

“I think a lot of people have actually moved from rural areas to towns and cities in search of greener pastures.
“In the past, rural folks mostly engaged in agriculture activities to earn a living. But over time, the younger ones migrated to urban areas in search of employment, and hence the population in the outskirts started to dwindle. This in turn, affected pupil enrolment in these schools,” Lau told thesundaypost yesterday.

Met after the English Essay Writing Competition 2011 at Premier Hotel, Lau revealed that there were 221 Chinese primary schools all over Sarawak.

“The need for Chinese primary schools in rural areas in the past stemmed from lack of transportation and road accessibility, compelling more schools to be built in those areas then.

“But with the rapid pace of modernisation and development, better road connectivity led to more people settling in towns and sending their children to urban schools. As time goes by and the population dwindled, it appeared that there are now too many schools in rural areas.”

He was asked the reasons for the poor intake of pupils in Chinese primary schools in rural areas.

United Association of Aided Chinese Primary School Boards of Management, Sibu and Kapit Division chairman Hu Siew Liong recently reported that rural Chinese primary schools were facing a shortage of pupils.

Citing an example, Hu claimed that SJK Yong Cheng in Bintangor had only one pupil enrolled for next year so far. SJK Nang Kiang was another school facing shortage of pupils.

Earlier in his speech, Lau advised students to fully utilise their creativity and feelings in essay writing. He pointed out that content alone was inconsequential in making the essay interesting and worth reading.

“The way I see it, essay writing is not just about making it presentable to the judges but must be augmented with the element of creativity and feelings to make the story flow and interesting to read,” he suggested.

He also believed that essay writing competition could be an effective means to get students to improve their standard of English.

Lau said English being an International language was used in all sectors of the economy, and there were no two ways about it.

He said the government had all the time stressed the importance of mastering the English Language.

In this connection, he advised students to practise writing regularly, and in so doing, develop interest in the language.
“I believe if you are determined enough and through hard work, you will gradually develop interest in English and, from there, be on your way to become a potential writer,” he said.