19 AUGUST 2015
The announcement by the Chief Minister that he is keen to reclaim full control of education from the federal government is welcome news as this is one matter that I am passionate about and have constantly brought up in my statements and DUN speeches. In almost every State Assembly sitting I attended, I have highlighted the weaknesses and failures of the education system in this country, including the inadequate infrastructure, insufficient funding, lack of qualified and suitable teachers and the declining standards of education. The Chief Minister is spot-on in what he said on the various issues regarding education in Sarawak. I am glad that the he shares my views and has indicated that he is keen that Sarawak regains control of education.
In the 18-Point Roadmap unveiled by PKR Sarawak last weekend, we have stated our intention to reclaim Education under Point 1 item 8: To reclaim Education and its related government ministry and departments in Sarawak from the Federal List to the Concurrent List as per the spirit of the Malaysia Agreement of 1963 with a view to address and redress weaknesses and failures of previous education policies affecting Sarawak.
Point 8 of the Roadmap sets out our plans for the improvement of Education, recognizing that a superior education system is the key to a nation’s progress and development. As the Chief Minister appears to be on the same page as PKR Sarawak on matters of education, he is welcome to study our proposals under this point and I urge him to immediately implement those that the government is in a position to do so currently before the next State Election, for the benefit of Sarawakian students.
In his address at the State Assembly sitting, much of what the Chief Minister said echo the position of the opposition including the importance of the use of English and the decentralization of power. It remains to be seen how successful he will be in his negotiations with the federal government, failing which it would be perceived as another political gimmicks at garnering for votes. As of now, he has been unable to achieve much – even the request for 20% oil payments has been rejected. A faster way to achieve the changes we want is for Sarawakians to vote for PKR in the next Sarawak elections. This will pave the way for the people of this country to reject the BN government at the next general elections, and at the same time, bring a much needed change to Sarawak.
ADUN N70 Ba’ Kelalan
Extract from PKR’s 18-Point Roadmap
Point 8. Education.
We need to lift rural and urban students alike, leaving no child behind, to put them on par with their peers in other developed nations. We need our teachers to excel in the classroom, not at pushing paper. The strong, prosperous future that Sarawakians want and deserve starts with quality education today.
1. Immediately channel RM1 billion towards the renovation and upgrading of rural schools and dormitories.
2. Increase the prominence of English from Primary level to Form Six and commence a study for the introduction of a progressive dual language education system after those of Australia, Canada, Singapore and the United Kingdom, and recalibrate educator courses to realise this policy.
3. Review food and beverage supply mechanisms in all residential schools with the prime objective of ensuring our boarders are more than adequately fed nutritional meals four times a day, every day including public and school holidays.
4. Cede the preeminence of race-based quota policies in the state to needs-based affirmative action policies, nonetheless aware that inequalities between ethnic groups are real and therefore disburse needs-based grants to all primary, secondary, collegiate and university students upon enrollment.
5. Review and rewrite, on the advice of educators and policy-makers, syllabi of subjects taught from Primary level to Form Six, specifically HISTORY, to restore “The History of Sarawak” in school syllabi to reflect how Sarawak became party to the formation of the Federation of Malaysia.
6. Foster Borneonisation of the teaching corps and address administrative issues faced by teaching corps, especially with reporting via online servers.
7. Increase intake of qualified teachers and other education staff to decrease ratio of teacher-to-student in classrooms.
8. Protect Sarawak’s diversity with annual grants for vernacular and religious schools, with particular emphasis on native languages to Form Five level.
9. Allocate special grants to kindergartens and pre-school organisations that have special focus and emphasis on the teaching of their respective ethnic mother tongues.
Found new universities in targeted hubs specialising in specific fields and disciplines to support local growth.