PETALING JAYA : Chinese educationists have expressed concern over the shrinking number of STPM students taking the Chinese Language subject. They are worried that the trend will affect the intake for Chinese Language programmes in both public and private higher learning institutions. According to a report in China Press today, fewer and fewer STPM students are taking Chinese Language, which is considered a relatively tough subject, out of fear that it would drag down their cumulative grade point average (CGPA). Statistics showed that in 2013, 550 STPM candidates sat for the Chinese paper, but the number had reduced almost by half to 284 last year. The Chinese education fraternity believes that the figure would remain below 300 this year. MCA Youth education development bureau chief Lim Ching Hao told the daily that much like the predicament faced by SPM students taking the Chinese paper, STPM candidates find it hard to score A in the subject due to the high cutting point for grades, resulting in relatively fewer candidates scoring distinction in the subject. Many students who opt for STPM do so because they hope to get into public universities, Lim said, adding that these students would avoid taking Chinese Language as a poor grade in the subject would drag down their CGPA and affect their chances of admission to universities and courses of their choice. "Based on the current system, STPM candidates must sit for at least four subjects. "Many choose not to take the Chinese paper as it is really hard to obtain good grades for the subject," lamented Lim. He said only those who are passionate about Chinese language and those who intend to major in the language in tertiary education would take up the subject. Lim said both MCA deputy chief Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong, during his tenure as deputy education minister, and Youth chief Datuk Chong Sin Woon as the current deputy education minister, had raised the matter of SPM and STPM students finding it difficult to score A in the Chinese paper, with the Malaysian Examinations Syndicate.