by Jonathan Chia, firstname.lastname@example.org. Posted on July 31, 2013, Wednesday
IN NEED OF ATTENTION: Baru (centre) explaining the situation at SK Long Tuma during the press conference. Also seen are Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How (left) and state PKR information chief Vernon Kedit.
KUCHING: Schools throughout the state, especially those in the rural areas, must be audited to assess their need, says state PKR chief Baru Bian.
Citing SK Long Tuma in Lawas as an example, he said the pupils and staff were still waiting for new hostels and quarters after the old ones were razed to the ground more than two years ago.
He said the proposed new hostels were supposed to be completed in February this year but until today, all that has been done was the foundation work. All works had apparently stopped.
“The staff members are in the dark about the status of the project. They were only told by a sub-contractor that there is a problem with the contract,” Baru, who is also Ba Kelalan assemblyman, told a press conference here yesterday.
The double-storey hostel used to accommodate over 100 pupils (boarders) but after the fire there is room for only 60 pupils in the temporary block. Only Primary 6 pupils are given priority to board. The others are left to find their own way to come to school each day. The pupils come from faraway places such as Pa’ Puti, Pa’ Kepulu and Pengalih.
“Besides the unexplained delay in the project completion, there is another issue that needs some explaining; why are the replacement hostels built in single-storey cabin module style which requires more land. As it is, half of the school football field has to be sacrificed to make room for the hostels.
“The pupils now have no more space for games and sports. This is a real tragedy because sports form an important part of the children’s growth and education. Sports and games contribute greatly to building healthy bodies, encouraging teamwork and cultivating sportsmanship in our children and depriving them of these is robbing them of a vital part of their development.”
Baru said another matter of utmost concern was the old wiring in the schools. He said he had been informed that the District Education office had applied for the school to be re-wired but so far no response.
In the meantime, everybody had to put up with lights and fans that do not function properly.
“A technician from the education office has inspected the wiring and concluded that the problem was due to overloading and old wires. The headmaster of SK Long Tuma, Meripa Geluko, said they were living dangerously.”
Baru said education was key to a nation’s progress and therefore, the state must spare no efforts in providing good basic educational foundation for the students who will be our best resource for the future.
“I am appalled by the conditions of many schools in Sarawak and I doubt that this scenario is what our forefathers had in mind when they signed up (to be part of Malaysia).”