SIBU (June 26): Chinese independent schools should look into developing technical and vocational education and training (TVET) into their curricula so as to meet the demands of the local economy.
This was pointed out by the United Association of Private Chinese Secondary School Boards of Management chairman Temenggong Dato Vincent Lau in his opening remarks for a dialogue involving the board of management of Ming Lik Secondary School, conducted at Wisma Hua Wen Duzhong here yesterday.
The paramount Chinese community leader said he noted the demand for talents had intensified due to the rapid industrial and economic development.
However, he also acknowledged the daunting challenge of establishing TVET in Chinese independent schools, especially in terms of teaching manpower and facilities.
“Still, technical and vocational education is important in ensuring that the (Chinese independent) schools could keep up with the times.
“Of course, if possible, we want to develop TVET to meet the demand of the economy today. Therefore, if the Chinese independent schools wanted to offer TVET, they should focus on the local areas and the local economy,” he said, underlining TVET as among the key factors contributing to the enhancement of employability prospects of the students.
“Thus, try to study the local economy.
“In my opinion, if we’re to develop this education, all the basic facilities must be provided by the school,” said Lau, who also believed that having TVET would not affect the traditional curriculum upheld by the Chinese independent school.
Additionally, he expressed hope for the board of management of every Chinese independent school to have its own plan to ensure continuous development.
“The Chinese independent schools have been facing lots of challenges since the height of the Covid-19 pandemic back in 2020.”
Lau also spoke about the students’ population in five Chinese independent schools in Sibu, of which the number this year to date reached 2,205.
“In 2021, there were 2,412 students – that’s a decline of 207 students, or 8.58 per cent,” he said, also noting that the number of new intakes had also dropped.
“In view of this, I believe that major changes in the system are necessary to ensure that our schools would not fall behind others.
“We must take some initiatives and formulate good strategies to ensure that our schools can continue to grow.”
Lau also affirmed that the Chinese language must be used as the medium of teaching in any Chinese independent school, although he also understood that parents would want the schools to also pay equal attention to Bahasa Malaysia and English.
“Yes, they are all important, but what is most important is the academic level.
“The acceptance of Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) is not about the language, but is the academic achievement,” he stressed.
The Ming Ling Secondary School board of management chairman James Wong was present at the dialogue.