No need for PTAs in Chinese primary schools

Lau (second left) speaks during a press conference as (from left) Wee, Pau and Chai look on.

KUCHING: The Sarawak United Association of Private School Management Board (Sarawak Dong Zong) is appealing to the federal government to exempt them from setting up parent-teacher associations (PTAs) in Chinese aided primary schools in Sarawak.

Its chairman Temenggong Datuk Vincent Lau Lee Ming said, “The board understands that the PTAs serve certain functions but it seems that once the PTAs are formed, the Education Department will consciously or unconsciously sideline the role of the school board.

“All these years, nobody can deny that the boards of management in primary schools have contributed tremendously to the wellbeing of the schools and the efforts should be recognised,” he told a press conference after submitting a memorandum to Chief Minister Datuk Abang Johari Tun Openg at Wisma Bapa Malaysia today.

He said as far as the Chinese primary schools were concerned, the boards of management did a good job in helping the schools.

“Therefore, we also hope the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Research (MESTR) will support our appeal so that the Chinese primary schools in Sarawak do not need to form the PTAs and will maintain the role of the school boards of management,” he said.

Sarawak Dong Zong honorary secretary Jonathan Chai Voon Tok hoped the state government could intervene in the matter because the Education Department had issued a circular to the school headmasters to set up the PTAs before March 1 next year.

“The boards of management have been doing well in managing the schools. We do not want bodies to be set up to duplicate their roles.

“Most importantly, we do not want the status or the function of the boards of management to be sidelined because of the setting up of PTAs,” he said.

Chai added that currently, most Chinese schools had parent support groups and sufficient platforms to allow the parents to be involved in the running of the schools.

“We hope the Ministry of Education (MoE) will understand our concern. In fact, most of the school boards of management have parents as their members. 

“Any schools without the boards of management can always set up the PTAs. But for those with the board of management, we are of the opinion that we don’t need another body to duplicate the roles,” he said.

Earlier, the board also raised several issues pertaining to the Chinese education to Abang Johari and hoped they could be addressed accordingly or further brought to the attention of the federal government and relevant department.

Among the issues raised was allowing to schools to conduct computer classes. This is because the MoE has given a directive that all computer classes are not allowed to be taught during the normal school teaching hours.

To this, Chai urged the government to allow the school boards of management to carry on with the computer classes during the normal teaching hours.

“Of course, with the condition that the running of the computer classes will not reduce the minimum teaching hours in the schools,” he said.

Also present were Sarawak Dong Zong deputy chairman Datuk Pau Chiong Ung and Sarawak Dong Zong honorary treasurer Datuk Richard Wee Liang Chiat.