Missing sinks at the girls’ toilet at the academic block. (Top left) Flashback: The article published on March 4, 2014.
MIRI: It looks like a stormy Monday when SMK Tinjar re-opens today, with no answers as to why this RM46 million boarding school looks like its sliding back into the ghettoes.
Yesterday was too busy a day to look for bone-crunching answers, as weepy parents sent off their children to start the first day of school today.
‘Weepy’ from separation and pitifully sending their children back to the dumps – of stinky toilets, off-on water in some, broken-down facilities and cracked teachers’ quarters. The parents, left with no choice, and students of SMK Tinjar in Lapok have been suffering in silence when they should be screaming for blood to have the ‘ghetto’ fixed since four years ago.
The issue of lack of clean water for drinking and bathing, broken ceilings in some classrooms and cracks at teacher’s quarters and in the hostels were highlighted in The Borneo Post on March 4 last year.
However, the woes never seem to get solved despite the fact that Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who is Minister of Education, approved RM3 million for upgrade of the water supply system at SMK Tinjar in 2012.
Missing toilet doors.
Last month, this The Borneo Post reporter was approached by some parents who voiced out about the poorly maintained boarding school and the safety of their children.
Curious if the woeful situation persisted for yet another new term, one parent drove to the school yesterday, which is located some 120km from here.
She found the student’s toilets at an academic block still out of running water and filthy and foul smelling. Some had no doors and missing sinks.
Students met at the school compound yesterday said they could only use the toilet on the ground floor of the three-storey dormitories.
According to them, they now have running water in the toilets, but only in four to be shared among hundreds of boarders.
“Our hostel is dirty, with holes everywhere, but the good thing now is that we have water supply even though three out of four toilets have no doors,” one student said, adding that they still depend much on rain water and water pumped from nearby Sungai Tinjar to bathe.
Window panes were missing at the boy’s dormitories, which pose a danger with no immediate repairs.
This reporter, parents and guardians were not allowed to enter the dormitories or go near the teacher’s quarters.
However, a few reliable sources said the cracks at teacher’s quarters and at the girl’s dormitories have yet to be repaired – and worsening.
A girl’s toilet at the academic block that is dirty and without a door.
Last year, PTA chairman Joben Sigai expressed his concern on the safety of teachers and the need to build more quarters to accommodate more than 50 teachers at the school, which was built at an estimated RM46.5 million with 24 classrooms, two hostels, and 14 teacher’s quarters. With presently only 14 quarters, teachers had to make partitions to accommodate everyone. It is also understood that some 10 new teachers will be transferring to the school next week.
At the main gate yesterday, some parents were seen heaving crates of mineral water from the nearby Lapok Bazaar to the school for their children. One, who requested anonymity, said he was frustrated with the lack of many basics at the school for years now and had no choice but to send his children to the same school this year.
“SMK Tinjar is the closest secondary school for us who come from a longhouse in Tinjar. This is the only school we can afford, to send and fetch our children easily,” he said.
He admitted scrambling crates of mineral water to his children twice or once a month, otherwise they will come back to the longhouse every weekend.
According to him again, it is a burden to parents who are mostly farmers if their children pined for home every weekend.
“When they come home, we have to pay their fare if they hitch a ride with someone or using boats. And when they return to school on Sunday, they also want pocket money,” he said.
Another parent who also refused to be identified said he wants the school clean and convenient for the children to study.
“The school is still very new and it is sad and frustrating to see that the children and teachers who were sent here to teach suffer the most from this situation. We really hope the ministry or authorities concerned can come up with a solution to these problems,” he said.
Hence, for the first lesson on the blackboard today, who first to answer with authority?