Where are new Chinese schools, asks Dong Zong

dongPETALING JAYA: The leading Chinese education group, Dong Zong, has questioned the government’s lack of commitment to Chinese education needs.

Dong Zong pointed to two memorandums they had submitted to Prime Minister Najib Razak in 2011 and 2012 to highlight the need for 45 more Chinese primary schools, Oriental Daily reported.

“The government has not paid any heed to the request as we have noted that not a single Chinese primary school was approved for construction by the education ministry since we submitted the two memorandums,” Dong Zong chairman Vincent Lau said at a press conference in Kajang last Saturday.

According to the Chinese daily, Lau suggested that Putrajaya was basing its decision not to approve new Chinese primary schools on political reasons.

“The fact that many national type primary schools had been built since then also goes to show that the government was not serious about the requests from the Chinese community, he was quoted as saying.

Lau told reporters that the formal requests made for the 45 new Chinese primary schools was based on a study it had carried out.

Under the report called the Build and Relocate Chinese Primary Schools Report, the breakdown of the 45 new Chinese primary schools by state were 16 in Selangor/Kuala Lumpur, Penang (13), Johor (8), Sarawak (6) and one each in Perak and Sabah.

The reason for Dong Zong’s frustration over the lack of support from the government for new Chinese primary schools is compounded by the lack of funds allocated for vernacular education in general.

“In 1991, about 89% of the total budget allocated for education went to national type primary schools, and this increased to 96% in 2010,” Oriental Daily quoted from Dong Zong’s report, which also highlighted that there had been no mention of education grants to any type of primary schools under the 10th and 11th Malaysia Plans, which covers the 10-year period of 2011-2020.

The Dong Zong report also revealed that between 1970 and 2016, about 1,600 Chinese primary schools were built throughout the country, though 49 of these schools, as well as 133 Tamil schools had since closed down over the same period.