Education dept clarifies ample time for Gawai following criticism over 2024/2025 academic calendar

Musicians in traditional Iban attire and accessories perform at the Gawai Dayak open house held at Kapit Civic Centre on June 3, 2023. Photo credit: Alexander Nanta Linggi Facebook page

KUCHING, Nov 14: The Sarawak Education Department has clarified that there is ample time in the academic calendar for 2024/2025 for celebrants of Gawai Dayak.

In a statement, the department said although the 2024/2025 academic calendar stipulates a break from May 25 to June 2 next year, the school session will only resume on June 4 (Tuesday) since June 3 (Monday) has been gazetted as a federal public holiday in conjunction with the Agong’s birthday.

“The 2024/2025 Term 1 Holiday allocation is in line with the initiative of the Education Ministry (MoE) to return the school academic calendar to January 2026, which was announced through a media statement dated May 24, 2023,” said the department.

This was in response to an article stating that travelling time for rural Dayak students was overlooked in the Gawai Dayak 2024 school academic calendar by MoE and prompted the administration to be sensitive to issues concerning the people in Sarawak.

It also said that should there be an urgent need, schools could extend an application for a leave of absence, with reasonable and practical justifications, to the department for consideration.

Under the Education (Terms, Days, and School Holidays) Regulations 1998 (Amendment) 2021, the number of school days in the academic calendar should not be less than 190 days.

The department also stated that headmasters or principals must organise alternative school days to replace school days that cannot be held due to any reason deemed necessary under 6A of the same regulation. — DayakDaily