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Drop in students taking Chinese language paper alarming

September 14, 2017

Decline in number of candidates sitting for the Chinese paper may affect source of qualified Chinese language teachers, thus hindering development of Chinese education.

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chinese-student-stpm-chinese-paper-1By Sin Chew Daily

There have been fewer than 300 candidates who sat for the STPM Chinese paper for the past three consecutive years, and this has raised alarm bells among the Chinese community about the sustained development of Chinese language education in this country.

According to the statistics shown on the Examination Council’s website, 550 people sat for the paper in 2013, down by almost half to only 275 and 284 in 2015 and 2016, respectively.

From what we have been told, during the heydays of Chinese education, up to 4,000 STPM candidates who sat for the paper.

54,947 students took SPM Chinese in 2010, but only 44,208 did so last year.

Clearly, the steady decline in the number of STPM and SPM students sitting for the Chinese language paper has become a trend .

On the other hand, we have seen a dramatic rise in the number of students taking STPM Tamil in recent years, with approximately 800 students expected to sit for the paper this year. Despite the lower ethnic Indian population in Malaysia, more students are taking the Tamil language vis-à-vis a steady decline in the number of candidates sitting for the Chinese paper.

How is the local Indian community promoting the learning of Tamil? What are the key factors for this phenomenon? These are the things we should explore seriously.

Following the rise of China as an economic power, the economic value of the Chinese language should be remarkably boosted and by right there should be more people eager to learn the language.

Unfortunately this is not the case in real life, and there must be factors that have contributed to this phenomenon.

The decline in the number of candidates sitting for the Chinese paper may not have a near-term impact on the development of Chinese education in Malaysia, but if this trend were to persist, it will definitely affect the source of qualified Chinese language teachers and will hinder the continued development of Chinese education in the long run.

Clearly, the local Chinese community is increasingly alarmed by the downtrend.

To reverse the trend, it is imperative that the education ministry look into the problem whereby it is difficult for students to score a credit in the Chinese paper.

In addition, parents and students must also reassess the value of the language and not have the wrong stereotyped impression that those taking Chinese will have limited job prospects.

Sin Chew Daily is a local vernacular publication.

The views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.


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