BATU PAHAT: For the past 19 years, the number of Chinese independent school students increased from 52,860 in 2003 to 80,397 last year, an increase of 27,537 students or 34 percent, says Tan Tai Kim, chairman of the United Chinese School Committees’ Association of Malaysia, also known as Dong Zong.
The mushrooming of international schools does not affect the intake of Chinese independent schools.
From 2019 to 2022, the number of students studying at Chinese independent schools remained over 80,000, said Tan.
The number of international schools increased from 70 in 2012 to 209 last year, an increase of 139 schools in a decade.
Tan said the number of international school students increased from 27,804 in 2012 to 69,147 last year.
“According to the statistics, foreign students make up 37 percent (25,584) of students at international schools. The number of Chinese students is about 20,000.
“These schools do not affect the intake of Chinese independent schools,” he said after attending the oath-taking ceremony of new committee members of five school boards in Batu Pahat on Monday.
The decline in the number of students at Chinese primary schools and Chinese independent schools is due to the plunge in fertility rate of Chinese, he said.
Despite the dip in fertility rate, Tan said the number of students studying at Chinese independent schools had increased.
The rate of Chinese primary school students continuing Form One in Chinese independent schools increased from 9.95 percent in 2004 to 17.61 percent in 2021.
“It is estimated that the number of Chinese primary school pupils continuing their secondary school studies at Chinese independent schools will continue to surge,” he said.
For the past 19 years, the number of Chinese primary school pupils declined from 647,647 to 495,386, a 23.5 percent drop or a decrease of 152,261 pupils.
However, the number of Form One students at Chinese independent schools increased from 10,090 to 14,568 for the past 19 years, a surge of 44.38 percent or 4,478 students, he said.