Yu Cai Foundation Increases the Potential of Vernacular Education
Date posted: 07 Jul 2015

Nan Yang Siang Pau | 7 July 2015 | Tuesday

As Chinese Malaysians, we have an innate advantage - the trilingual ability. Even if you do not master all three languages, you cannot deny that you understand the languages fairly. However, among the three languages, do you constantly seek to improve your mother tongue?

Nurture talent for Chinese educationSecondary and university students, in-service teachers will be benefited

Xiao Tian is a graduate from SJKC. He scored well for Chinese subject but once he entered the SMK or SMJK, he only focuses on subjects like Malay, English, Mathematics and Science. He no longer seeks to improve his Chinese.

He took Chinese during his first semester exam. When answering the paper, he thought to himself “Why Chinese is so tough?” It comes as no surprise that he did not score well for his Chinese but did well for other subjects. Before second semester, Xiao Tian has decided to drop Chinese subject in order to secure a good report card. 

Are you Xiao Tian? “The Chinese subject in secondary school is not that difficult as SJKC graduates went through six years of Chinese education. The problem is that they have lesser time to learn their mother tongue in secondary school. When you put in less effort, of course you gain less,” says Tiong Ting Ming, General Manager of Yu Cai Foundation.

“It also depends on the learning attitude of a student. Some think that they are good at Chinese and do not need further improvement. Besides, the exam system is also causing students to lose interest in learning vernacular language. I am a former principal of SMJK Dindings, Setiawan, Perak. During my tenure, I always encourage students from SJKC to sit for Chinese subject in exam so that they can continue their vernacular education.”

Open to all Malaysians

“Yu Cai” means “nurture talent” in Chinese. YCF’s vision is to enable deserving students to achieve the fullest potential of their academic and vocational goals through education. The current biggest goal of the Foundation is to promote vernacular education. A series of scholarship which is specially designed for vernacular education aims to benefit secondary, university students and in-service teachers.

He pointed out that a complete education system consists of three parts, namely teachers, students and physical facilities. The Foundation will have a series of education programmes focusing in this direction.“Education can transform life. We provide scholarships to all Malaysian, regardless of race. If SJKC graduates from other races want to pursue their Chinese education, we also welcome their applications.”

Scholarships to encourage more students to sit for Chinese subject in exams

At present, Yu Cai Foundation provides three types of scholarship as below: 

Scholarships for deserving SJKC students

>> Specially cater for deserving SJKC students from low income family.

>>Provide 100 scholarships yearly for deserving SJKC students to study in SMK. Scholarship will cover tuition fees for five years. Recipients must sit for Chinese subject in  exams. Requirements for application: Applicants must obtain at least 5As and a minimum grade of B for Chinese subject in the UPSR examination, and family income should not exceed RM5,000.

>> Provide 50 scholarships yearly for deserving SJKC students to study in Independent Chinese Schools. Scholarship will cover tuition fees for six years. Recipients must complete a 3+3 programme. Scholarship might be revoked if the recipient does not score well for Chinese subject.

>> Details will be announced soon.

Scholarships for in-service teacher training

>> Based on internal surveys by Yu Cai Foundation, approximately 60% of the teachers in all Independent Chinese Schools are untrained. The recipients of scholarship for in-service teacher training will participate in a 6-week intensive training programme in New Era College in this December.

>> The Foundation will provide RM250,000 for 62 in-service teachers to enroll in the programme. Upon completion, teachers will obtain Diploma in Education from New Era College. The programme is also recognized by the Ministry of Education, Taiwan. Teachers can transfer their credits and continue Bachelor of Education in National Taiwan Normal University.

>> Requirements for application: Applicants must be in-service teachers of Independent Chinese School and recommended by the school’s principal.

>> This year, the scholarships only open for in-service teachers of Independent Chinese School in Perak, Johor and Negeri Sembilan. In future, the application will opento all teachers in Independent Chinese Schools.

>> Details will be announced soon.


Scholarships for teacher training

>> Provide 20 scholarships for those who are interested to study a 4-year Bachelor in Education programme, majoring in Chinese at Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris.

>> Applicants must be accepted by the University and obtain a minimum grade of B for Chinese subject in the SPM examination or a minimum grade of C for Chinese subject in the STPM examination.

>> Upon completion of the programme, recipients can teach Chinese subject in SMK.

>> The programme will start in this September.

>> Details on the scholarship for teacher training will be announced soon.

Bright future for vernacular education

Yu Cai Foundation is a charitable organization initiated by Ananda Krishnan Tatparanandam, Chairman of Usaha Tegas Group. The Foundation was launched in January this year. The Foundation works with Chinese schools towards collaborations with other institutions within the Malaysian education system to improve the quality of education and in producing and funding qualified students for undergraduate and post-graduate studies in Malaysia and abroad.

Tiong Ting Ming mentioned that besides China and Taiwan, the level of Chinese education in Malaysia is considered high in Asia, even higher than Singapore. The best proof would be many universities from China and Taiwan came to Malaysia to recruit students. It also proves that the Chinese level of Malaysian Chinese school students is high.

Salary package will be improved

“Thanks to the rapid economic growth of China, Chinese education can bring great potential to the Chinese descendants. Talent with trilingual ability will surely be recognized by multi-national companies. One must understand that the future of vernacular education is not limited to education. It has high potential in other areas as well.”

When mentioning about the 60% untrained teachers, he clarified that the education level of the untrained teachers are actually quite high, most of them are university graduates but the quality of education system failed to improve the professional quality of teachers effectively.

“A good teacher must go through professional teacher training, use the most effective pedagogy skills to help students to achieve the fullest potential in order to improve the academic level of the school. Having basic knowledge is not enough to be a teacher. Teachers must reach the professional level. As for salary and benefits, the salary package for teachers with professional teacher training qualification will also be improved.”

He hopes that by nurturing Chinese school graduates through education, they can contribute to the SJKC, SMJK and Independent Chinese Schools in education, at the meantime, develop the Chinese society. “Of course, we do not forget the mother tongue of other races. In future, we will also include them in our vernacular education programmes.”

Provide funding to solve problem

Not long ago, our Ministry of Education announced that the Peperiksaan Berpusat Amali Sains in the SPM examination will be postponed. Since the science practical exam will involve many parties, the examination board decided to postpone the exam which supposed to be implemented in 2015 to 2016.

According to him, problems include many SMJK do not have sufficient equipment in their science labs. In fact Independent Chinese Schools are also facing the same problem. One of Yu Cai Foundation’s education programmes is to provide funding to refurbish science labs in SJKC, SMJK and Independent Chinese Schools. Moreover, the Foundation plans to set up a Faculty of Education in a community-based college to solve the problem of teacher shortage.

For any enquiries about scholarships, you may e-mail to tmtiong@ut.com.my.