By Lian Cheng
KUCHING, June 9: The annual educational grant by the state government is indeed an opportune relief for the Chinese independent secondary schools, says the Sarawak United Association of Private Chinese Secondary School Management Board.
The board pointed out that the 14 Chinese Independent Secondary Schools in Sarawak typically incurs operational expenses totalling over RM35 million annually, RM10 million of which is supported by sundry collections and donations.
“In other words, the schools are running on deficits totalling to more than RM25 million every year,” said the board in a press statement after receiving the seventh Educational Grant amounting to RM9 million from Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg this morning.
According to a survey carried out by the board in May, a total of 7,755 students are studying at 14 Chinese Independent Secondary Schools within Sarawak this year, including 3 per cent non-Chinese students.
There are 633 teachers and staff in these Chinese Independent Secondary Schools. A growth of 7 to 15 per cent has been recorded in the total number of students studying at four small scale Chinese Independent Secondary Schools, i.e. Min Lit Secondary School, Batu Kawa, Public Secondary School, Serian, Citizen Middle School, Sibu and Kiang Hin Middle School, Sibu.
“The Chinese Community has been taking upon themselves the responsibility to sustain the Chinese Independent Secondary Schools in Sarawak all these years, and contributing their efforts relentlessly towards the development of Chinese Independent Secondary Schools.
“This is especially true in constructing new infrastructure and improving the existing facilities of the schools,” said the board.
The board said that because they were private schools, Chinese Independent Secondary Schools do not receive funding from the Malaysian government. Moreover, to ensure affordable education, school fees collected are quite minimal.
The main source of income for Chinese Independent Secondary Schools is thus generated through donations from the private sector as well as the public, and almost exclusively the Chinese community.
“We are extremely grateful to Sarawak Government for recognising the contribution of vernacular education, particularly the contribution of Chinese education towards the progress and development of our nation, and allocated RM3 million in 2014 to the 14 Chinese Independent Secondary Schools in Sarawak.
“The grant is being increased every year, RM4 million in 2015, RM5 million in 2016, RM6 million in 2017, RM7 million in 2018, and RM8 million in 2019. The Sarawak Government has allocated a total of RM33 million throughout the last six years,” said the board.
It extended its appreciation to Abang Johari for being very supportive all these years and providing continuous financial assistance to ease the burden of the 14 Chinese Independent Secondary Schools in Sarawak.
“On that note, we wish to acknowledge the relentless support and contributions of the Chinese Community as we continue our journey preserving and developing vernacular education as part of academic advancement in the country. We render sincere thanks to you all.
“It is hoped that the Chinese Independent Secondary Schools in the state, with the collaboration of the State Government and the Chinese Community, will carry on striving for excellence and continue to provide quality education to our young generations into the future,” said the board.—DayakDaily