Centralised schools possible solution to state schools languishing on bottom rungs

KUCHING: For many years, Sarawak schools ranked as low as 13 out of 15 in terms of overall performance of schools nationwide.

Assistant Minister of Rural Electricity Dr Abdul Rahman Junaidi said it is because there are too many schools scattered all over the state. Many of them have very low enrolment, lack of facilities and specialist teachers.

Abdul Rahman, who is also Pantai Damai assemblyman said in his constituency for example, SK Sibu Laut has only 32 students and eight teachers while SK Sungai Aur only has four students and six teachers.

“It is a very different environment when one student is looked after by 3 teachers. If possible, we will group these students and teachers and combine with SK Telaga Air, which has sufficient facilities and more teachers,” Abdul Rahman said.

He is scheduled to meet the village security and development committees (JKKKs), headmasters of these two schools and their parents on Sept 5, and thereafter present the feedback in a separate meeting between the state Education Department, state assemblymen and Members of Parliament the next day.

The later meeting is organised by the state Education Department.

He added that when all the schools with low enrolment are merged into a centralised school within an area, students will have the advantage of learning from the specialist teachers who are posted to the centralised school.

Abdul Rahman also lamented that the opinion he received from the state Education Department is low enrollment has affected the results of public examinations such as Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR) and at one time Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM).

“Sarawak is such a big state. We have so many small schools around and they are unable to catch up. One of the solutions is to consolidate our schools and pick up from there. Our state government will pump in whatever assistance is needed, mainly in finance.”

“At the moment we are relying on the federal government. I was made to understand that the federal side is unable to cater for the needs of Sarawak.

“Our Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg did mention that with the formation of our own state Education Department, and additional funds from Petronas, we will able to stand on our own and focus better on channelling funds and allocating quality facilities for our schools.”