By Peter Sibon
KUCHING, Nov 6: As education is under the purview of the federal government, Minister of Education, Science and Technological Research Dato Sri Michael Manyin Jawong said the amount of RM81 million allocated under State Budget 2019 was to ‘complement and supplement’ federal obligations.
He said it was unfair to expect the state government to give money for the purpose as it was not under its purview and responsibility.
“The lack of funds allocated by the new federal government for dilapidated schools in Sarawak has forced the state government to step in and allocate its own funds under State Budget 2019 for this purpose, even though education is the responsibility of the federal government,” Manyin told a press conference at his office at the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) complex here yesterday.
He was responding to Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg’s budget speech, where he announced a sum of RM81.7 million to rebuild, repair and upgrade dilapidated schools, including providing water and electricity supplies.
On a related issue, Manyin said through the Rural Transformation Initiative, the state had also allocated RM17 million for the repair and upgrading of schools.
He said the chief minister’s walkabout projects also include building two primary schools in Maludam and Bintulu, with ceiling costs of RM100 million.
On a related issue, Manyin said Sarawak had almost reached the target of 90 per cent local teachers. The remaining 10 per cent is from West Malaysia.
“It’s an ongoing process, whereby now we are already reaching 87 per cent,” he said.
Manyin also revealed that Sarawak urgently needed 500 Mathematics and Science teachers. Currently, the 500 teachers who are teaching these two subject in schools across the state do not specialise in these subjects.
“Yes, they are qualified teachers, but it’s not the subjects that they specialising in,” he highlighted.
Manyin, who was a former educationist, disclosed that his ministry had taken various initiatives such as organising English symposiums, headmasters’ conference, in-service training for headmasters and train-the-trainers courses for teachers teaching Science, Mathematics and English.
Meanwhile, in his budget speech, Abang Johari revealed that there are a total of 1,020 dilapidated schools in Sarawak, out of which 415 are considered critically dilapidated.
“In fact, the previous federal government had in its 2018 Budget approved RM1 billion special allocation for the repair and upgrading of the dilapidated schools. The new federal government ought to fulfil this obligation by providing the funding as approved.
“In fact, the amount is hardly sufficient. We need much more than RM1 billion to repair, replace and rebuild all the critically dilapidated schools in the state. Unfortunately, the 2019 Federal Budget did not indicate any allocation for dilapidated schools in Sarawak,” lamented Abang Johari. — DayakDaily