By Jaythaleela K
MIRI, Oct 30: The Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Research Sarawak (MESTR) today handed over RM522,300 worth of non-ICT equipment to 10 schools in the Northern Region that were affected by floods this year.
The affected schools are under the jurisdiction of District Education Offices (PPDs) Tatau and Sebauh (both in Bintulu), Limbang and Miri.
At the simple handing-over ceremony, Minister for Education, Science and Technological Research Dato Sri Michael Manyin Jawong announced that similar aid to replace damaged non-ICT equipment worth RM401,700 was given to schools in the Central Region on Oct 12. The schools were under PPDs in Julau, Kanowit, Selangau, Dalat and Mukah.
Besides non-ICT equipment, the state government would also replace flood-damaged furniture and ICT equipment in 53 schools across the state next month. This initiative would cost RM2 million and RM1.07 million, respectively.
The overall value of assistance given to schools affected by floods across the state this year is RM4 million, said Manyin.
“Most of the schools affected by floods are situated in the rural areas. MESTR and the state Education Department have taken action to ensure that school activities are not disrupted due to the flood,” he said.
On the fire incident at Batu Bungan in Mulu on July 25 this year, Manyin said his office and the Education Department managed to collect a total of RM112,600 from public donations for the fire victims.
The money collected has been handed over to the head of the school management sector, State Education Department, Omar Mahli, who received it on behalf of the fire victims.
According to Manyin, the funds would be distributed to the victims’ family immediately.
“The Sarawak government takes a serious view on matters concerning education,” he assured.
On a related matter, Manyin reiterated that 1,020 schools in the state were dilapidated.
“These schools can be categorised in three categories: ‘Worse’ – 425 schools (more than 50 years and above, never been repaired), ‘Not Too Bad’ – 210 schools, and ‘Better’ – 385 schools.
On schools that are lightly affected by floods all the time, he said, these schools need to be moved to higher grounds as a long-term solution.
“We also have come up with a proposal to centralise small schools and put it under one constituency,” he said.
By doing so, Manyin believed that poor results cause by schools with lower enrolment could be resolved.
“We have submitted the proposal to the previous federal government, but with the new federal government (Pakatan Harapan), the plan is under review,” he pointed out.
On the forthcoming federal Budget 2019, Manyin hoped there would be money to repair dilapidated schools in the state.
Also present at today’s ceremony were the ministry’s Permanent Secretary Datu Sudarsono Osman, District Education officers from Limbang, Sebauh, Tatau and Miri as well as the headmaster of SK Batu Bungan, Mulu. — DayakDaily