KUCHING, March 3: St Joseph is mooting the idea of setting up a vocational school in Kota Samarahan.
Roman Catholic Archbishop of Kuching Archdiocese Most Reverend Father Simon Poh said the proposed vocational school, to be named St Joseph Institute of Technology, is to give opportunities to students especially from the rural areas and those who are not academically inclined to have a place in society.
Speaking during the official opening of St Joseph International School’s new building at Jalan Tan Sri Datuk William Tan near Padungan here this morning, Poh said this would be the third school in the St Joseph school family after St Joseph Private school and St Joseph International School.
“We are going to expand St Joseph School because initially St Joseph was a place of education for all people especially in rural area. It has been in our heart to expand to the (proposed) St Joseph Institute of Technology which is a vocational school for the rural children who are not very academically inclined, to give them a place in society.
“I hope at our piece of land in Kota Samarahan, where the proposed site for this vocational school to be built, we will have a vocational school in the family of St Joseph Schools,” he said in his speech.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg lauded the efforts by the St Joseph School Board of Governors in providing education opportunities to rural students while the state is in need of professionals to realise its Digital Economy aspirations.
He said while Putrajaya is responsible in ensuring the smooth execution of the country’s education policy, Sarawak could not depend solely on Putrajaya if it is to improve its education standards.
“That is why I formed our own state level Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Research headed by Dato Sri Michael Manyin Jawong. The reason is we cannot rely only on our national education policy. Sometimes we have to deviate a bit from the national policy because we are allowed to have our own approach after secondary school specifically tertiary education.
“Hence since Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud’s time, the late Pehin Sri Adenan Satem’s, and now mine, we allow international universities to operate in Sarawak. The state government through Yayasan Sarawak invested in Curtin University, Swinburne University and University College of Technology Sarawak in Sibu. Those are worthwhile investments because the result will be long term, where our students can mix with other students from overseas, enhancing our cultural interaction and understanding while at the same time exploring new ideas from their universities,” he said.
Abang Johari added: “Though the money from Putrajaya for the national policy sometimes never arrives, I have even raised our own funds to supplement their budget. We have our own higher learning institutions funded by us. We can also formulate our own policy in terms of tertiary education.
“Once you have this interface between international institutions, we can upgrade our standard of education. Apparently I must admit the standard is now (heading) a bit downhill because the national policy has too many polemics. One of the results is our standard of English declining,” he said.
Abang Johari also encouraged schools to strengthen their English lessons, and students to improve their command in that language to be able to catch up with current knowledge and technology.
This, he explained, was because the manuals and training materials for these latest knowledge and technologies were almost all in English.
“That is why the late Tok Nan (Adenan) said to preserve English as one of Sarawak’s official languages,” stressed Abang Johari. — DayakDaily