KUCHING, Oct 20: The state government’s fight for devolution of power in the matter of education will not include taking over education in the state due to the high cost involved.
Education, Science and Technological Research Minister Dato Sri Michael Manyin said the state government will not take over state education because it will be too costly for the state.
He said the state could only take over education if the federal government was also willing to allow Sarawak to collect the state’s revenue and taxes.
“We will not take (over) because it costs a lot of money, unless we take over the Inland Revenue also.”
“Because it will cost a lot of money. Because our taxes are all going to the federal (government). So we are only here to complement,” said Manyin when asked if the state government would take over education completely since education was included in the discussion of devolution of power.
He said there are 1,246 primary schools across the state and the state’s plan to raise the standard of education was to empower the headmasters, and not to take over the schools.
“We would like to help the headmasters of the primary schools. So our ministry will organise seminars also. We will divide them into three zones — the northern zone, that is Miri; the central zone in Sibu and the southern zone in Kuching.
“We will also get good speakers, just like what we are doing for the Sarawak English Language Education Symposium (SELES), a three-day seminar, to update them on the new developments in education,” said Manyin at a press conference on SELES held at his office at Bangunan Baitul Makmur today.
He said, currently, when headmasters and principals are posted to rural places such as Ulu Lubai or Belaga, they would be left alone there until retirement.
“For any school, the key person who will determine whether the school is performing or otherwise is always the head sitting on the chair — the headmaster or the principal, and of course the quality of the teachers.”
He said that has been why some countries were very particular in their selection of teachers.
Singapore, Japan and Australia, he added, take only the top 30 per cent of graduates applying for teaching jobs; while Finland takes only the top 10 per cent and South Korea, the top five per cent.
“In Finland, the teachers’ salaries are the same as doctors and engineers. They are highly respected. Same as in Singapore.”
He said it was still a long journey ahead for Sarawak to raise its education standards. — DayakDaily