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Historical Background of Chinese Schools in Malaysia

By ShiqinJozof Dec 02, 2012 530 Words
History of Chinese national type school
Starting out early in the 19th century, the Chinese society has already made a stand on sustaining their language and culture to the point that they decided to request for their own Chinese national type school. Realizing that this could cause an up stir in racism in Malaysia, still the Chinese society in Malaysia strongly believed in preserving the Chinese language among the Chinese youths.

In the beginning, they were asked to give up their properties to be incorporated with the National School system, which for the Chinese caused an uproar but after negotiating a deal was made and they agreed to instead become “National Type” schools. Through this system, the government could only be in charge of the school curriculum and teaching personal while the buildings still belonged to the schools. During this time, primary schools were allowed to keep Chinese as the medium in the schools and their book but for Secondary schools they were required to switch to English-medium schools. More than 60 schools changed to National Type schools, including the famous Chung Ling High School, Penang Chinese Girls School, Jit Sin High School and Ave Maria Convent High School, Sam Tet High School. Even though according to the proposal that most subjects are allowed to use the medium of English, the teaching and learning of Mandrin remained compulsory in these schools, with most of them dedicating at least one seventh to one fifth of their teaching time per week to Mandrin studies.

Even with all the compromising the proposal was looked at as almost impossible for a tad of them, making some of some of the Chinese schools turn to become private high schools or Chinese high schools as they were called later on. During the 1960s and 70s this concept slowly turned under the lime light making many of the National Type schools reopen their independent high school branch.

The numbers kept increasing to a point where the political situation made it difficult to set up additional independent Chinese high schools. There are 60 independent Chinese high schools in Malaysia, including Foon Yew High School which is the largest secondary school in Malaysia with over 7000 students. Foon Yew High School was the first school to object and decline the government’s proposal, as well as the first high school to have a branch campus (located in Kulai)

National-type Secondary Schools are called Malaysian Independent Chinese Secondary Schools (MICSS) which came into being after the Education Act 1961, determined to use their mother tongue to preserve the Malaysian Chinese culture. In 1973, Dong Jiao Zong formed the MICSS Working Committee, to develop the examination and syllabus of the 60 Independent Schools in Malaysia. The “Unified Examination started in 1975 and has continued to be run every year since. (UCSCA, page 1)

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