Samiksha Jaiswal (Editor)

Chinese independent high school

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
Chinese independent high school chonghwaedumywebwpcontentuploadsb17jpg

Chinese Independent High School (simplified Chinese: 华文独立中学; traditional Chinese: 華文獨立中學; pinyin: Huáwén Dúlì Zhōngxué) is a type of private high school in Malaysia. They provide secondary education in the Chinese language as the continuation of the primary education in Chinese national-type primary schools. The medium of instruction in these schools is Mandarin with simplified Chinese characters writing.


There are a total of 60 Chinese independent high schools in the country, including 23 from East Malaysia, and they represent a small number of the high schools in Malaysia. The United Chinese School Committees Association of Malaysia (UCSCAM, the association of Chinese school teachers and trustees, simplified Chinese: 马来西亚华校董事联合会总会; traditional Chinese: 馬來西亞華校董事聯合會總會; pinyin: Mǎláixīyà Huá Xiào Dǒngshì Liánhé Huì Zǒng Huì), also known as the Dong Jiao Zong (simplified Chinese: 董教总; traditional Chinese: 董教總; pinyin: Dǒng Jiào Zǒng), coordinates the curriculum used in the schools and organises the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) standardised test. Despite this, the schools are independent of each other and are free to manage their own affairs.

Being private schools, Chinese independent high schools do not receive funding from the Malaysian government, unlike their national-type cousins. However, in accordance with their aim of providing affordable education to all in the Chinese language, their school fees are substantially lower than those of most other private schools. The schools are kept alive almost exclusively by donations from the public.

penang chingay parade 2013


Chinese schools were being founded by the ethnic Chinese in Malaya as early as the 19th century. The schools were set up with the main intention of providing education in the Chinese language. As such, their students remain largely Chinese to this day even though the school themselves are open to people of all races and backgrounds.

After Malaysia's independence in 1957, the government instructed all schools to surrender their properties and be assimilated into the National School system. This caused an uproar among the Chinese and a compromise was achieved in that the schools would instead become "National Type" schools. Under such a system, the government is only in charge of the school curriculum and teaching personnel while the lands still belonged to the schools. While Chinese primary schools were allowed to retain Chinese as the medium of instruction, Chinese secondary schools are required to change into English-medium schools.Over 60 schools converted to become National Type schools, including famous schools like Chung Ling High School, Penang Chinese Girls' High School on Penang Island, Jit Sin High School, and Ave Maria Convent High School, Sam Tet High School. While the medium language for most subjects is switched to English as according to the proposal, the teaching and learning of Mandarin remained compulsory in these schools, with most of them dedicating at least one seventh to one fifth of their teaching time per week to Mandarin studies.

This plan was still viewed as an unacceptable compromise amongst some Chinese, and a minority of the Chinese schools refused the proposal and became private high schools or Chinese independent high schools as they were later called. This concept slowly gained popularity and, during the 1960s and 70s, many of the National Type high schools reopened their independent high school branch. Their numbers continued to grow until a period when the political situation in Malaysia made it impossible to set up additional independent Chinese high schools. Currently there are 60 independent Chinese high schools in Malaysia, including Foon Yew High School which is the largest secondary school in the country with over 7000 students. Foon Yew High School was the first school to refuse the government's proposal, as well as the first high school to have a branch campus (located in Kulai). The second largest is Chong Hwa Independent High School, Kuala Lumpur, which is known for its excellent academic performance as well as award-winning performance in inter-school competitions.

Chinese Independent High Schools in East Malaysia

In 1960, there were 18 high schools using Chinese as the medium of teaching and 22 high schools teaching in the English medium in Sarawak alone. In the year, the British Crown Colony who were then in control of Sarawak proposed that the 18 high schools using Chinese as the medium of teaching be converted into using English. In 1961, a letter was sent to all of the Chinese-medium high schools demanding them to convert teaching of all subjects into English before 1 April 1962. Failing to do so, the schools would not be given any allocations from the government. Despite strong rejection by the local Chinese community, the plan still took place.

In the end, six high schools out of the 18 refused to convert to teaching in English; they were the Chung Hua Middle School No.1, Chung Hua Middle School No.3, Chung Hua Middle School No.4, Guong Ming Middle School, Kiang Hin Middle School and Kai Dee Middle School. The rest of the school which converted into English medium schools ended up as "Sekolah Kebangsaan" after Sarawak joined Malaysia. In 1983 these English medium schools were once again converted into using Bahasa Malaysia as the medium of teaching.

The Chinese community not only continued to support the six high schools which retained the teaching in Chinese (founded in between 1945 and 1960), they had even founded another eight high schools between 1962 and 1968. These 14 high schools then became a part of Malaysia's Chinese independent high school and still exist today.

In Sabah, all of the nine Chinese independent high schools in the state were formed in between 1960 and 1969.

Chinese Independent High Schools

Beaufort Middle School 沙巴保佛中学 Kian Kok Middle School, Kota Kinabalu 沙巴建国中学 Lahad Datu Middle School 沙巴拿笃中学 Papar Middle School 沙巴吧巴中学 Pei Tsin High School, Kudat 古达培正中学 Sabah Chinese Secondary School, Tawau 斗湖巴华中学 Sabah Tshung Tsin Secondary School 沙巴崇正中學 Tenom Tshung Tsin Secondary School, Tenom 丹南崇正中学 Yu Yuan Secondary School 山打根育源中学

Kian Kok Upgrading In Year 2016

Kota Kinabalu: Kian Kok Middle School this year is looking forward to various upgrades in terms of its facilities and curriculum programmes.

"We have plans to add more E-learning classes, increase our collaboration with local and foreign schools as well as universities to improve our curriculum programmes, upgrade the student's hostel, improve the school's landscaping as well as to increase teachers' training courses and welfare," said its Principal Paul Voo during the School Term Opening Ceremony held at the school hall here, Monday.

According to him, there are a total of 170 Form One students, similar to last year's intake with a total of five classes, two of them being top classes.

In addition, he said, this year, there are a total of 89 Form Six students, divided into Science as well as Arts and Commerce classes.

Meanwhile, SM Kian Kok Board of Directors Chairman Datuk Clement Yeh said they also plan to offer Mathematics for Business as a subject and the International English Language Test System (IELTS) to Form Six students.

Apart from that, the school will also include the C Computer Programming course for Form Six Science students and the Autocad module for Commerce students in order for them to acquire the Diploma in London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), he explained.

Voo also announced a total of 38 students out of 195 candidates achieved 4As and above in their PT3 last year.

"The students' performance has improved a lot compared to 2014. A total of 123 students scored A in their history subject compared to only 52 students in 2014."

"The number of students who scored A in their Geography also increased from 57 in 2014 to 91 in 2015," he said, adding that a total of 64 students managed to score A in Bahasa Malaysia.

On the other hand, he said the passing rate of students in their Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) examination was 83 per cent with a hundred per cent pass in Additional Mathematics, History, Geography, Economy and Art subjects.

"The school alumni has also decided to offer a six-year scholarship to a student," he said, welcoming the eight new teachers into the school.

Later, Yeh said, recently, the school was rated five stars by the Ministry of Education.

"The evaluation was based on the school's facilities, management, teachers' capability, students' performance, curriculum, discipline and leadership skills, international collaborations as well as community service," he said, adding that the school has received the award for three consecutive years.

The History of Papar Middle School

Papar Middle School is the only Chinese Independent School in Papar and it is as well one of the smallest Chinese Independent school in Sabah. Since 1962, the British colonial government implemented the new Education Policy which fixed the age for students entering the school and implemented the Examination system, only the one who passed the Primary Six Examination were allowed to go for the Secondary Education.

Many Chinese students who failed the Primary Six Examination had nowhere to turn, it raised up the concern of the Chinese community, Chinese started to build their own schools to shelter most of these students. With the same founding purpose, Papar Middle School was built not only to give education to the local Chinese students who failed in the Primary Six Examination, but also with the aim to provide Secondary school education, to promote the fine Chinese culture as well as to train qualified personnel for the nation.

In March 1965, a preparatory committee was set up led by Datuk Chai Ching Tuan(The 1st Board of Director), to raise fund for the establishment of the first phase of Papar Middle School. After a year of hard work, the committee successfully reached the fund-raising target of RM15 million. On 22 January 1966, Papar Middle School officially had its first school opening ceremony. 103 students enrolled. In 1969, the school began offering Senior Curriculum. 1970, it started to have Commerce Stream. At the beginning, the number of students had reached more than 200 people. In 1970s, the Government's abolished one of the Education Policy for Primary Six Examination, and began to recruit Primary Six students into the Government as well as the Subsidized Secondary School, this brought seriously effects. In 1979, the number of students has dramatically decreased to only 68 left.

In 1980s, the management of the school turned stable, and students increased to 100. The school began to have a progressive development. For Students, the school adopted a policy of quality and not quantity. For the school establishment, at first, the school built a school hall equipped with 2 badminton courts. In addition, with the assistance of the school's Alumni Association , the school offered computer classes and provide scholarships to attract good students. In the 1990s, everything seemed running well. With the stable donation from the Sabah state government, a new school hostel, specially designed classrooms for KH, a big school hall equipped with 5 badminton courts and a double-storey administration building were built. In 1992, a uniform body, the Chinese Orchestra was set up too.

For the School curriculum, we emphasis both on the government examinations which include PMR( Penilaian Menengah Rendah) and SPM(Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia) as well as The Unified Examination Independent Chinese Secondary Schools for Junior and Senior Section, we as well stress on the Trilingual (Mandarin, Malay and English) Education. Since our school has Commerce Stream, so students are all arranged to take the LCCI (London Chamber Of Commerce & Industry Commercial Education Trust) examination, level 1 in Senior One and level 2 in Senior Three. The total number of students till present is 192,including the principal, we have another 9 teachers, we have no secretaries and janitors. Papar Middle School is a Chinese Independent School wholly supported by the Chinese community.

2012 Australian Mathematical Tournament - Beaufort Middle School Heroes

Teacher Liu encouraged:

First of all congratulate all the winning students, Kim name title. Inspirational film "Carter coach COACH CARTER" where there is a sentence of deep sentences ------- he often asked the players: "What are you afraid of?" Players can not answer. In fact, the answer is "we are most afraid of their own too successful, promising future." Because we are too accustomed to when the winner, and we are in a small single, he has painted self-limiting, low self-esteem lingering, He is safe and alive. "Born I will be useful", from today, we have confidence in their own, have confidence in the school, do not ask the school to do what you do? And ask yourself what is the contribution of Paul? Do not try to find a reason for failure, your potential to play it? HAVE YOU TRIED YOUR BEST? Thousands of miles, beginning with a single step, do not hesitate, and now, in the security, the book read good, then on the university.


Students usually spend six years in a Chinese Independent High School. The six years are divided into two stages: three years in junior middle and three years in senior middle, similar to the secondary school systems in mainland China and Taiwan. Students are streamed into tracks like Science or Art/Commerce in the senior middle stage. At the end of each stage, students sit for the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC). A few schools offer an additional year in senior middle, catering to students taking the government's Sijil Tinggi Pelajaran Malaysia (STPM, equivalent to A-level).

Chinese independent high schools use the same academic year as government schools. An academic year consists of two semesters: Semester 1 from January to May and Semester 2 from June to November, with examinations at the end of each semester. The overall academic performance of a student in an academic year determines his/her promotion to the next study year in the next academic year. Failing requires repeating the study year. Usually, failing to be promoted for two years in a row results in a dismissal. In contrast, students in government schools are automatically promoted regardless of academic performance.

The curriculum used in Chinese independent high schools is developed and coordinated by the Curriculum Department of UCSCAM with reference to secondary education curricula around the world, particularly Malaysia's national secondary education curriculum and those of mainland China as well as Taiwan. UCSCAM publishes textbooks for use in Chinese independent high schools.

Unified Examination Certificate (UEC)

The Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) is a standardised test for Chinese independent high school students organised by the UCSCAM since 1975. The UEC is available in three levels: Junior Middle (UEC-JML), Vocational (UEC-V), and Senior Middle (UEC-SML). Examinations for non-language subjects in the UEC-JML (except in Sabah) and UEC-V are in Chinese. In Sabah, UEC-JML science and mathematics are available in Chinese and English. The UEC-SML has examinations for mathematics, sciences (biology, chemistry and physics), book keeping, accounting, and commerce available in Chinese and English, while other non-language subjects are only available in Chinese.

The UEC-SML is recognised as a qualification for entrance into many tertiary educational institutions around the world, including the United Kingdom, the United States, Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Australia, Canada and many others. It is not recognised by the government of Malaysia for entry into public universities, but most private colleges recognise it.

Because the UEC is not recognised by the Malaysian government, some Chinese independent high schools opt to teach the national secondary school curriculum (in Malay) alongside the independent school curriculum (in Chinese) and require students to sit for the government standardised tests (PMR, SPM or even STPM) as private school candidates, providing the students an opportunity to obtain government-recognised certificates.

Chinese educationalist Dr Kua Kia Soong mentions the introduction of the UEC in his book Protean Saga: The Chinese Schools of Malaysia. According to the book, the introduction of the UEC led to Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the then Minister of Education and later the Prime Minister of Malaysia, summoning the Chinese educationalists to parliament. To quote the book, "The latter (Mahathir) did not mince his words but told the Dong Jiao Zong leaders that UEC had better not be held or else ... He did not ask for any response and dismissed the Chinese educationalists with a curt ... 'that is all'."

In May 2004 the National Accreditation Board (LAN) required students entering local private colleges using any qualification other than the SPM to pass the SPM Malay paper. This drew protests and then the Minister of Higher Education Dr Shafie Salleh exempted UEC students from this requirement.


Chinese independent high school Wikipedia