Twenty-three per cent of the 19,095 pupils in the 57 aided Chinese primary schools in Kuching, Samarahan and Serian are Bumiputeras.
In 2013, according to a report in the Borneo Post, it was 21 per cent and last year it was 22 per cent.
In at least 15 schools, the number of Bumiputera pupils exceed the number of Chinese pupils.
The report quoted Liu Thian Leong, the head of the Association of The Boards of Management of Aided Chinese Primary Schools Kuching, Samarahan and Serian Division, as saying that the number of pupils registering at Chinese schools over the past 10 years had been increasing.
This, he said, was equally true of rural and urban areas.
Citing the city as an example, he said 28 per cent or 148 pupils of the 524 pupils at SJK Chung Hua No.1 in Jalan Pending were non-Chinese, while at SJK Chung Hua Pending in Jalan Kwong Lee Bank, the figures stood at 52.5 per cent or 114 pupils of its 217 pupils.
These two schools are situated right in the city.
“More Bumiputera parents have realised the importance of Mandarin as a communication tool to enhance their children’s employability,” the Borneo Post quoted him as saying.
Liu said part of the reason most Bumiputera parents sent their children to aided Chinese primary schools was because of these schools’ academic performance, particularly in Mathematics and Science.
Also, he said, the boards of management had taken very good care of their schools and school heads and teachers were efficient in their work.
He said aided Chinese primary schools also promoted integration and unity.
“Some extremists (have) condemned aided Chinese primary schools for segregation, claiming that they would lead to disunity. In fact, aided Chinese primary schools have the highest ratio of mixed race and yet they exist in a harmonious manner and are well managed by their boards,” Liu was quoted as saying.
He said it was possible that a contributory factor to the increase in Bumiputera pupils was that the Chinese population had not seen any major increase.
Of the 57 schools, he said only one registered 100 per cent of Chinese pupils – SJK Chung Hua Sg Tapang Ulu, which has 37 pupils.
“Take a look at SJK Chung Hua Beliong, which has only one Chinese pupil. But the school board keeps it going for the community in the area,” he was quoted as saying. The school has 21 pupils.
Apart from SJK Chung Hua Beliong, 14 other schools have more than 50 per cent Bumiputera pupils, according to the Borneo Post report.
FMT Reporters Online