Chinese schools report increase in enrolment as Dragon Year students enter secondary level
CHINESE independent schools in Perak are all geared up to receive their biggest batch of Form One students — a phenomenon which happens once every 12 years, as those born in the Dragon Year in 2000 enter secondary school tomorrow.
“Dragon babies” are traditionally sought after by the Chinese community due to the belief that the dragon brings luck and good fortune and is a master of authority.
Except for SM Kampar Pei Yuan and SM Tsung Wah in Kuala Kangsar, all Chinese independent schools in the state have recorded a drastic increase in intake of Form One students in 2013.
SM Hua Lian principal Ng Beng Pen said the school in Taiping was no doubt, ready to face the challenge.
“There is a drastic increase of 350% in our Form One intake compared to last year.
“To cope with the demand, we have opened up seven classes whereas there were only two Form One classes last year,” he said.
The school, he added, had hired 20 new teachers to cope with the influx of new students while aiming to provide a better student-teacher ratio in coming years.
“It also helps that we have recently upgraded the facilities in our classrooms and also other parts of the school,” Ng said.
Over at SM San Min in Teluk Intan, the higher demand for enrolment in Form One has led to the school offering an extra class.
Principal Foo Wing Meng said the school had initially planned to have four classes but finally opened up five classes due to popular demand and after taking into consideration factors such as manpower and facilities.
“After giving it some thought and weighing the possibilities, we felt it was feasible for us to offer an extra class,” he said.
SM Poi Lam principal Leong Ping Chow said as of last week, the school in Ipoh had accepted 480 students.
“We are prepared to accept up to 500 students, which equates to 10 classes.
“That is the maximum number of students we can accommodate,” he said.
As for Sitiawan’s SM Nan Hwa, its principal Chin Lee Pin said the school had stopped accepting students to avoid overcrowding in classrooms.
SM Yik Ching board of governors chairman Chiang Saw Chau said the number of Form One students registered with the school in Pantai Remis had increased by 69% this year, resulting in it having to offer two additional classes for the year.
Meanwhile, a similar trend is taking place at conforming schools in the state.
SMJK Yuk Choy principal Chen Hen Huan said the school had accepted about 500 Form One students whereas similar intakes in previous years was only about 350.
“Based on the increased demand, we used a formula prescribed by the Education Ministry with regards to division of classrooms and teachers,” he said.
SMJK Kampar Pei Yuan principal Tan Lek Soon said the school would open up two additional classes due to a 34% increase in intake of Form One students.
“We have 340 students this time compared to only 225 students last year,” he said.
Due to the large population of dragon babies in the year 2000, Tan foresees stiff competition among the current batch of Form One students.
“They will need to work extra hard to rise above the rest,” he said.