State will not take back licences of centralised under-enrolled Chinese schools — Pau

Datuk Pau Chiong Ung

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KUCHING, Nov 2: Sarawak United Associations of Aided Chinese Primary Schools Boards of Management president Datuk Pau Chiong Ung says the state government has given the assurance that licenses of Chinese aided schools will not be taken from them if under-enrolled schools are centralised.

He said the assurance came from both Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg and Education, Science and Technological Research Minister Dato Sri Michael Manyin.

Pau thus called on all under-enrolled aided Chinese schools to think positively of the new policy for the benefit of the greater Chinese community.

He said the management is now in the midst of meeting up with school boards of under-enrolled schools to explain the intention of the state government.

The effort to communicate with the boards of low-enrolled schools started last month. Foreseeing that the effort will be completed next month, Pau said a report would be submitted to Manyin for further action and discussion.

“Many school boards are still worried that their licences may be taken away if they were to merge. That is why they are very reluctant and have taken a lukewarm attitude.”

“Their previous experience with the federal government told them that it was extremely hard to apply for a licence. So I have to tell them, the initiative is from the state government, and not the federal government.

“The state government is very sincere in helping the aided Chinese schools. We have to convince them on this before we can get them to agree to the centralisation policy,” Pau told DayakDaily recently.

He was responding to Manyin’s comment that the Chinese schools have given a lukewarm response towards the centralisation policy due to the fear that once the schools close down, they would lose their licence.

There are 130 aided Chinese primary schools which have less than 150 students. Among the 130 under-enrolled schools, 26 of them are have 30 students or less.

Pau said he has to first convince the school boards and parents that the schools’ licence would not be taken away and that the state government has all the sincerity to help them once they participate in this policy.

“Then, I have to convince them to relocate their schools to some densely populated housing estates where a Chinese primary school can be set up.

“At the moment, the state government is willing to help us to relocate. We don’t have to struggle on our own like before. So we must take up the opportunity,” said Pau.

Pau said, it was obvious that many young Chinese parents are not returning to the villages of their parents.

“Since the young generation of Chinese parents have moved to urban areas, the schools should also move with these young parents,” he said. — DayakDaily