Muhyiddin Yassin must resign as education minister as he has failed to address the plight of the rural schools in Sarawak, almost all of which are in dilapidated conditions, says Sarawak Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR).

"Muhyiddin knows that students in rural schools in Sarawak perform very poorly in their examinations and yet there is nothing at all in his education blueprint to address this problem," Sarawak PKR chairperson Baru Bian said today.

NONE"I was looking at a special emphasis in the blueprint to ensure that rural schools in Sarawak are at par with that in Peninsular Malaysia. But there is nothing in the blueprint. I am very disappointed," Bian (right) said when commenting on the education blueprint.

Bian, who is Ba'Kelalan assemblyperson, added: "I don't know how many rural schools in Sarawak Muhyiddin has visited. He does not know even where SK Ba'Kelalan is. To say it is in Sabah is a clear evidence that this guy does not know much about Sarawak.

"Ba'Kelalan is in Lawas. It is in my constituency. Muhyiddin should be replaced by someone who knows about Sarawak and understands its problems, especially the problems that affect the rural schools. 

"The man who takes over from Muhyiddin need not necessarily be a Sarawakian or a Sabahan as long as he does his job."

Basic facilities sorely lacking in schools

Pointing out that Sarawak was far, far behind in the field of education than Peninsular Malaysia, Bian said every time there was a new education minister, he started to change the system and policy just to boost his ego.

"However, the country, especially Sarawak suffered. This is not good for Sarawak as we are two generations behind Peninsular Malaysia," he said.

the antidote article sarawak native logging school children 280409 06He cited a recent survey on the parity of educational attainments of the populations in Sabah and Sarawak and in Peninsular Malaysia.

"For those with degrees and advanced diplomas, Sabah was recorded as having 4.53 percent attainment and Sarawak at 3.89 percent, while Peninsular Malaysia had an attainment of 91.58 percent.

"Sarawak's attainment was the lowest, so don't talk of a blueprint that tries to equip students with the knowledge and skills of international standards.

"For us, we are more interested in basic facilities," Bian said, adding that in some rural schools, parents and teachers came up with their own money to repair schools, teachers' quarters and boarding facilities.

In some schools in the rural areas, the conditions were deplorable, some with old and exposed wiring, some with no water and electricity supplies and some with no proper facilities or books.

So, what hope do Sarawak children have?

"What does the education blueprint offer these rural Sarawakians who have been suffering for so long and are disadvantaged? Are the rural children being offered any hope of becoming part of the ‘global generation' that Muhyiddin aims to produce?

"Or will they continue to be marginalised as they have been for 50 years?" Bian asked, pointing out that the odds were stacked against schoolchildren in Sarawak.

He reminded the federal government not to forget that one of the reasons Sarawak agreed to join in the formation of Malaysia was that Sarawakians would be helped to close the economic and development gaps that existed between them and Malaya.

"After 50 years, rural schools have not progressed much at all. I consider this to be a failure on the part of the federal government to fulfil its part of the Malaysia Agreement.

"It appears that there is no advantage for the federal government in educating the rural folk and we have to wonder why this is so. 

"Could it be that it suits them well to keep the people (in Sarawak) uneducated, fearful and dependent on the (federal) government?" Bian asked.

~ Malaysiakini