KOTA KINABALU: The official announcement by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Shafie Apdal on the recognition of the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) that allowed the certificate holders to be hired into the state civil service was a long-awaited great news for teachers and students of the nine Chinese independent secondary schools in Sabah.
The United Association of Private Chinese Secondary School Committees, Sabah (Sabah Dong Zong) chairman Datuk Jimmy Yong Kyok Ming expressed his gratitude to Shafie for upholding moderation and giving UEC its due recognition.
“This is unprecedented in the political history of Sabah and also signifies that the State Government recognizes the contribution of Chinese independent secondary schools in nurturing the younger generation.”
He said Sabah was the first state to provide annual funding to Chinese independent high schools in Malaysia.
He said the State Government led by Shafie even increased the allocation for Chinese independent secondary schools last year from RM250,000 to RM300,000 for each school, with the promise to provide more funding should the State’s financial circumstances improve.
Yong said the nine Chinese independent secondary schools in Sabah adopted dual-track education system whereby students sat for Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examination at Senior 2 and UEC examination at Senior 3.
“Due to this system, only half of the Senior 2 students opt to progress their study to Senior 3.
“If our Malaysian government fully recognize UEC, our students will be able to enroll in both local and overseas universities, which will encourage more students to stay in school till they have completed Senior 3.”
He added that allowing UEC-holders to enter the state civil service or state-owned learning institutions would also prevent brain drain in Sabah.
Apart from Shafie, Yong also thanked the Minister of Education and Innovation Datuk Dr Yusof Yacob for compiling the report, Deputy Chief Minister cum Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Datuk Christina Liew, Minister of Agriculture and Food Industry Datuk Junz Wong, the late Minister of Health and People’s Wellbeing Datuk Stephen Wong, State Youth and Sports Minister Phoong Jin Zhe and other Chinese elected representatives and the State Cabinet for making UEC recognition a reality in Sabah.
At the same time, Yong hoped that the Federal Government would grant recognition to UEC as soon as possible.