Ministry wants first state-owned private school done in 10 months

Sarawak Education, Science and Technological Research Minister Datuk Seri Michael Manyin.

By Karen Bong

KUCHING, Sept 22: Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Research (MESTR) wants the first Sarawak-owned private international secondary school to be completed eight months ahead of its scheduled date of December 2022.

Minister Datuk Seri Michael Manyin Jawong revealed that building works for the school sited on a 29 acres land at Mile 12, Jalan Kuching-Serian here will commence in June 2021 and was expected to be completed within 18 months by end of 2022.

“But since SJK Chung Hua Bako can be completed in four months, I am hoping the contractors can complete (the international school) in eight months.

“It is strategically located to serve students from three divisions, Kuching, Kota Samarahan and Serian.

“The first enrolment is scheduled for early 2023,” he hinted at the contractors at the earth-breaking ceremony of Yayasan Sarawak Private International Secondary School officiated by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg at the site here today.

Manyin added that the government also planned to begin the construction of the schools in Sibu and Bintulu by early 2022 and the school in Miri and the second school in Kuching by mid-2022.

“By the end of the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP), all the five schools will be in operation,” he emphasised.

On the curriculum, he shared that all five schools will offer the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) offered by the Cambridge Assessment International Education Board.

“IGCSE has a strong reputation for its rigour and is highly regarded worldwide. In Malaysia, more than 10,000 students sit for IGCSE examinations every year.

“In addition to IGCSE, our students will also be prepared to take SPM examinations as private candidates. As there is an 80-85 per cent overlap in the IGCSE and SPM Science and Mathematics curriculum, taking both IGSCE and SPM is possible,” he said.

This, he continued, will ensure that students will have the option to enter quality overseas institutions with their IGCSE certificate or enter local universities with their SPM certificates.

Manyin also confirmed that the Ministry of Education (MOE) has given MESTR the letter of support to start the construction of Yayasan Sarawak International Secondary School in Kuching.

“MESTR is the proponent of the private international secondary school project and the implementing agency will be Yayasan Sarawak. The schools will be operated by one of its subsidiary companies, Sanjung Services Sdn Bhd,” he explained.

When fully developed, he said the schools will cater to students from Year 7 to 11 or Form 1 to 5 with each school taking a total enrolment of 500 students with 100 students in each level.

For each level, there will be four classrooms with 25 students in each class so to keep the class size small to enable effective interaction between students and teachers. Three of the classes will be for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematic) stream and one class will be for Arts stream.

“Our international schools will offer a range of co-curricular and extra-curricular activities geared for character development including leadership capacity, moral strength, communication skills, digital skills and creativity and innovation,” he added.

All the five schools will provide boarding facilities for 80 per cent of its students except for Miri which will provide boarding for all its students.

Other necessary facilities include sufficient classrooms, science labs, computer lab, tinkering lab, language lab, RBT lab, lecture theatre, library, multipurpose hall, hostel, dining hall, sports facilities and high speed internet access. — DayakDaily