Construction of the first of five residential international schools to start next year

Manyin fielding questions from reporters. Also seen is Assistant Minister of Education, Science and Technological Research Dr Annuar Rapaee (right).

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By Karen Bong

KUCHING, Dec 6: The construction of the first residential international school to be sited at 12th Mile here is expected to commence some time next year with first intake possibly in 2021.

This is one of the five schools proposed by the state government that will cater for the needs of smart children especially in the rural areas. The other four will be located at Kota Samarahan (near Sarawak Heart Centre), Sibu, Bintulu and Miri.

Minister of Education, Science and Technological Research Datuk Seri Michael Manyin Jawong revealed that the cost of implementing the residential school project would be about RM60 million each including equipment which will come under the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) budget.

“The construction of all five residential schools would be done at about the same time but not the operations of schools all at once, otherwise it would be a waste of money and we will have to pay for five principals.

“If everything goes well, we will start with one school first (12th Mile) in the first year and hopefully the first intake can start in 2021, followed by two schools in the second year, three in the third year and so on,” he told reporters today.

Manyin was met after the Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) signing and exchanged of documents ceremony between Sarawak Research Development Council (SRDC) and Curtin Biovalley Sdn Bhd and the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom.

As a start, he explained that each school will take 100 students and altogether there would be 500 students when all the schools were fully operational.

He also noted that all these schools were sited on state land except Miri, which will involve some Native Customary Rights (NCR) land.

He pointed out that they were currently in the process of obtaining the licences for the building of five residential international schools through a company named Sanjung Sdn Bhd, which is fully owned by Yayasan Sarawak.

“We are in the process of applying for the licences. All the sites of the schools have been identified and approved by the Sarawak Planning Authority (SPA).

“As part of the requirement, the company is set up and must have an initial capital of RM1 million. The following steps are appointing the company’s chief executive officer (CEO) and transferring the five sites to the company which will own the five schools. We are in the process of doing that,” he said.

On the selection criteria of students, Manyin emphasised that there will be different sets of criteria for rural and urban students.

“The rural student scoring 2As in UPSR could be equivalent to 5As by urban student considering the (lack of) facility in rural schools. So there will definitely be different criteria.

“The selection will be based on academic performance in UPSR which will be done together with the headmasters of their primary schools,” he explained.

This residential school project, he reiterated, was the brainchild of the Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, who wants to produce technocrats among the less fortunate especially in the lower income (B40) group irrespective of race and religion.

“The B40 students would not need to pay while others will pay according to their means and rural students will be given the advantage,” he said.

He added that the schools would use the Cambridge University-based syllabus in which students will sit for the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) and Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examinations. —DayakDaily