By DD Team
KUCHING, Sept 27: It will be a great waste for talented but underprivileged children in Sarawak to not have the opportunity to receive quality and international education despite being expensive.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg emphasised that talented people must compete with talented people in a high nurturing and competitive environment.
“If you put your talented child together with the untalented, they cannot grow and reach greater potential. Their brain will grow in a normal or standard setting that is unchallenging,” he touched on this issue at ‘A Sunday Morning with CM: Dialogue Session with Young Entrepreneurs in Sarawak’ held at a hotel here today.
Highlighting this, Abang Johari hit back at a certain quarter who had yesterday (Sept 26) criticised the state government’s move in setting up five private international schools in Sarawak, saying “it was against the law”.
“I want to set up international schools (for Sarawak) and somebody said yesterday it is against the law.
“I have faith in our own (Malaysian) education system. Yes. But, sometimes it (the policy) keeps changing as with different ministers, the policies are different,” he said in pointing out the problems faced by Sarawak.
It was for this reason, he emphasised that the state government pushed forward to set up private international schools especially to benefit children in Sarawak.
“So I set up a company under Yayasan Sarawak to build private international schools which will use the international Cambridge syllabus that is recognised by the universities throughout the world.
“This is so that children whose families have constraints as the parents cannot afford the fees. Sayang bah (it is a pity), if they cannot have the opportunity to attend quality international education,” he said.
Abang Johari elaborated that the state-owned private international secondary schools will be of residential concept to enable students to stay in the campus where character building will take place.
“I’m not saying ‘kampung’ or rural standard is not good but they (brilliant and potential children) need to be exposed in order for their brains to grow. Like how Stamford is the premier university that produces technology experts.
“And all these are through quality education in a competitive setting,” he added.
Meanwhile, professor Teo Kok Seong of University Kebangsaan Malaysia was reported to have said that education came under the purview of the federal government and allowing state-owned international schools would go against the Education Act, which requires all government schools to use Bahasa Melayu as a medium of instruction.
He also suggested that Sarawak should import British teachers to improve the command of English in the state instead of building five international schools.
‘A Sunday Morning with CM: Dialogue Session with Young Entrepreneurs in Sarawak’ is an event organised by Dayak Daily and Kuching Freelance Journalists Association (Pewarta) to provide an avenue for professional and young entrepreneurs from various sectors to engage with the Chief Minister.
The Dialogue was moderated by DayakDaily’s senior writer Peter Sibon and entrepreneur Nigel Wee.-DayakDaily