Manyin: Malaysia’s education system failing our kids

Manyin is seen delivering his winding-up speech in this photo of the DUN in-house broadcast feed.

Follow and subscribe to DayakDaily on Telegram for faster news updates.

By Nancy Nais

KUCHING, May 8: The education level in the country is declining as Malaysia has lagged behind most Asian countries, despite high expenditure over the years.

State Education, Science and Technological Research Minister Dato Sri Michael Manyin Jawong said it was unfortunate that despite the fact that Malaysia acknowledged the importance of education by all quarters, children were not getting the quality of education they deserved.

In December 2013, the World Bank released a report ‘Malaysia Economic Monitor: High Performing Education’ in which it raised concerns about the declining quality of Malaysian education and commented that “schooling has not been translated to learning” in Malaysian Schools.

In June 2018, the World Bank released another report ‘Productivity Unplugged: The Challenges of Malaysia’s Transition into a High-Income Country’.

Delivering his winding-up speech in the State Legislative Assembly sitting today, Manyin said the situation in Sarawak was far worse.

“After more than 50 years of neglect, the physical conditions of our schools have deteriorated, our proficiency in English has plummeted, and our performance in science and mathematics has fallen,” he lamented.

Warning certain quarters not to blame the teachers for the low quality of education that the country is having now, Manyin said they were very dedicated and hardworking.

“The constant changes in policies and system are the ones that have failed them. Our school leaders do not get sufficient opportunities to develop their capabilities. Our teachers have limited continuous professional development and many of them have been forced to teach subjects which they have not been trained for,” he lamented.

The sad state of affairs has prompted Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg to establish Sarawak’s own Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Research (MESTR).

Although education is a federal matter and Sarawak cannot interfere in the federal ministry’s policies, Manyin said the idea was to have a ministerial level platform to have more leverage in the state’s negotiations with the federal government.

It is also to supplement and complement efforts by the Ministry of Education (MOE) in strategic areas and help improve the standard of education in Sarawak.

With the formation of MESTR and the presence of political will on education in Sarawak, Manyin said the state government was able to highlight the deplorable condition of the schools and to impress upon the federal government for a special allocation to address the issue.

“It was agreed by the previous government to allocate a sum of RM1 billion, which was supposed to be over and above the annual allocation under the 11th Malaysia Plan. A total of RM500 million was to be spent in 2018 and another RM500 million in 2019.

“However, the RM1 billion allocated by the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) government was never honoured by the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government. Instead, the PH government allocated RM100 million in 2019 to repair and upgrade 32 schools,” Manyin said.

The project, which is directly under MOE, with JKR Sarawak as the implementing agency, is expected to start in July and completed by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, the state has implemented its own projects to improve the school conditions through the Special Development Allocation Fund (SDAF), with at least RM37 million to assist government-aided schools to improve their facilities.

Under the Rural Transformation Initiatives (RTI), Manyin said 63 schools had been identified for repairs and upgrades at a cost of RM21 million over the period of 2018 to 2020.

Of these, 26 schools have been completed. — DayakDaily