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Malaysia’s Chinese independent schools face uphill climb in quest for qualification recognition

Malaysia’s Chinese independent schools face uphill climb in quest for qualification recognition

KUALA LUMPUR: The clock struck 3pm on a Friday afternoon and a sharp school bell pierced the quiet Taman Kaya neighbourhood in Kuala Lumpur. Moments later, hundreds of students piled out of the gates; the all-white uniform of the male students giving away their identity as pupils of independent high schools.

On the façade of this Chong Hwa Independent School, red signage has been put up in commemoration of its centenary. The couplets in Chinese read: “Storms looming over the journey of Chinese education. We have been through 100 years and we will march on.”

Like many of the other 60 self-funded Chinese independent high schools in Malaysia, Chong Hwa has grown over the years.

It started as a primary school back in 1919 and housed some 80 students in three shop lots in Setapak. Today, its 5,000 students study in a 24,000 sq ft site off Jalan Ipoh, which recently saw the addition of a 13-storey building.