‘Let S’wak determine fate of its IPGs’

KUCHING: The Sarawak state government wants the future of two Teachers’ Training Institutes (IPGs) that are in the federal government’s definite list of closure to be decided by the state.

State Education, Science and Technological Research Minister Dato Sri Michael Manyin Jawong said there are 27 IPGs nationwide, with most of them under-enrolled.

Thus, the federal government had decided to convert nine IPGs nationwide into polytechnics under the Ministry of Higher Education.

The decision was made in a parliamentary sitting last year.

IPG Miri and Rajang Campuses are to be converted into Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) facilities, thus leaving IPG Batu Lintang Campus as the only IPG in the state.

Manyin said although the late Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Seri Adenan Satem has written to the federal government last year to oppose the proposal, it was rejected because the decision had already been made by the Cabinet.

“We do not have the authority to introduce policies. We have no choice but to abide with the decision, otherwise the buildings will be left empty and become useless. However, we will submit a proposal on this issue very soon.

“We want to decide on our own, as to what programme is suitable for (IPGs) Miri and Rajang,” he said after the launching of the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly 150th anniversary logo today.

Manyin said the IPG in Miri can be turned into a TVET facility because there are a lot of industries based there.

However, that is not the case for Rajang which the state sees as unsuitable because there are zero industries around that area.

“A TVET institution must be surrounded by industries so we can collaborate with the industries to help graduates with job employment in the future,” Manyin said.

However, the state government has yet to decide on what is the best programme to replace IPG Rejang.

“We are still studying the various programmes before they are submitted to Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg, who will later write to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on the proposal.”

Manyin said only the prime minister that can overturn the decision made by the Cabinet.