The Unity Government has delivered an encouraging piece of news for independent Chinese high schools nationwide just days before the Lunar New Year.
This year, the government is prepared to set aside a RM18.9 million special allocation for 63 independent Chinese high schools across the country, translating to RM300,000 for each school.
The sum also marks the biggest government allocation for independent schools in history.
For the first time, the previous Pakatan Harapan administration set aside RM12 million special allocation for independent high schools in the 2019 Budget. The amount was raised to RM15 million the following year.
Although the Pakatan government collapsed in 2020, successive administrations continued with the RM15 million annual allocations for 2021 and 2022. Last year, the Unity Government upped the amount to a record RM15.75 million.
Record high allocations for independent high schools for two consecutive years show that the government indeed recognizes the contributions made by these schools in nation-building.
Local Chinese community welcomes the government’s kind gesture, as the allocation from the government will help alleviate the burden from hefty operating expenses.
Dong Zong Chairman Tan Tai Kim expresses his gratitude on behalf of the organization to Prime Minister and Finance Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim for approving the application of independent high schools for allocation, saying this shows the government’s sincerity and support for the schools.
Although independent Chinese high schools are outside of the national education system, they have nevertheless contributed remarkably to the country’s education, and therefore deserve the government’s recognition and support.
As non-profit educational institutions, independent Chinese high schools have been able to provide high quality education to young Malaysians and help churn out large numbers of talented workforce for the country, by pooling together civil resources from the public.
At the same time, independent high schools have also helped lighten the government’s education burden because all their expenses are paid for by the students as well as society.
Thanks to the strong support from the Malaysian Chinese community over the years, the performance of independent high schools in the country has improved remarkably and has won international acclaims for their exceptional academic qualifications.
Unfortunately, due to limited financial resources, further development becomes a daunting task. Higher input is therefore necessary for these schools to be equipped with better facilities and equipment in a bid to lift their teaching quality further.
The allocation from the government will effectively relieve some of the financial pressure from the school authorities.
The authorities need to help independent Chinese high schools grow and maximize their educational functionality in grooming young Malaysians for the country’s future.
It has slowly become a norm for the government to continue providing fiscal allocations for independent high schools for several years in a row. That said, these allocations have yet to be formally institutionalized.
To ensure the right of Chinese education in the country, and to help independent high schools grow and prosper, it is essential for the authorities to institutionalize allocations for these schools, so that they have a basis upon which they can draw up their respective long-term school development plans.
No one should question the institutionalization of allocations for independent high schools. For the sake of educating the young, the Malaysian Chinese community has been putting in a lot of effort and taking up the hefty responsibility without taking into consideration whether such an undertaking benefits them or is profitable at all. They have done this out of sheer sacrifice and duty.
No one should envy the allocations dished out to these schools, as they are insignificant compared to educational allocations that have been handed out generously to other schools.
As Umno Secretary-General Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki pointed out last year, even as the government provided RM3.2 billion to Malay education, people were still questioning the RM15.75 million for the country’s 63 independent Chinese high schools!
This is squarely a matter of education. Moreover, independent high schools have not been asking liberally for financial aid. All they want is for the government to institutionalize allocations so as to reduce the burden of the community and students. This is not too much to ask for, right?
Additionally, we need to stress that the talented young people nurtured by independent high schools can help boost the country’s overall competitiveness and spearhead national development, which will benefit the entire nation eventually.
In view of this, the authorities need to help these schools grow and maximize their educational functionality in grooming young Malaysians for the country’s future.