Lukewarm reception from Chinese schools towards centralisation initiative

Minister of Education, Science and Technological Research Datuk Seri Michael Manyin Jawong delivers a speech at the "Speak English Every Day” (SEED) programme in SK Jagoi, Bau.

BAU, Oct 27: Chinese independent schools in the state are not so keen over the proposed merger of schools with low enrolment.

Minister of Education, Science and Technological Research Datuk Seri Michael Manyin Jawong said this is due to the perception that should they close down, they would lose their licence.

The state government is planning to merge under-enrolled schools, particularly those in the rural areas, in order to provide a better schooling environment.

Assuring the schools that they could transfer their licence and used it to build new schools, Manyin said: “There are many schools in the cities and many are overcrowded. The licence can be used to build news schools in areas like Kuching, Sibu and Miri.

“The state government will do its best to assist by making sure they would not lose their licence, if they use it to build new schools in town,” he said at the “Speak English Every Day” (SEED) programme in SK Jagoi today.

He also gave his assurance that the schools will not be forced to moved and only schools which agree to it will be merged.

Just like all government schools, the under-enrolled missionary and Chinese schools will also be involved in the merger.

“Our concern is to provide our young Sarawakians with better school facilities and for them to be taught by specialist teachers so that we can improve the state’s overall academic performance. In the centralised school, specialist teachers (teachers dedicated to teaching one subject) are posted there, and this will improve the academic performance of the students especially in critical subjects such as Science and Mathematics,” Manyin said.

A follow-up meeting will be held soon to fine-tune the proposal and finalise the move.

Manyin also hoped the construction of centralised schools would start early next year, starting off with a few schools as models.

He urged parents of students to look at the bigger picture and think about the future of their children, by agreeing to the centralised schools which would see under-enrolled schools being closed and the students transferred to the centralised school.

Currently, there are a total of 651 schools in Sarawak with less than 150 pupils per school. — DayakDaily