Sarawak hopes Putrajaya will agree to school-merger plan


KUCHING, July 10: There are 1,404 schools in Sarawak, and out this, 1,264 are primary schools and 140 are secondary schools. The problem is that 849 of these primary schools are ‘low enrolment schools’, meaning they have less than 300 pupils.

Because of that, the state government is keen to merge 357 schools in the rural areas in order to have better use of resources and specialised teachers as well for more centralised infrastructure to be built for the benefit of the teachers and pupils.

However, education comes under the federal government’s purview, and being only two-months old, Sarawak is unsure if the “new” Putrajaya shares Sarawak’s vision on this matter.

On Sarawak’s side of the equation, Assistant Minister of Education, Science and Technology Development Dr Annuar Rapaee told Batu Danau assemblyman Paulus Palu Gumbang during question-and-answer time at the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting today that the state was very keen to merge these rural schools.

“The number of schools in plan to be merged in Sarawak is 357 schools. This has been our aspirations since the commissioning of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Research,” he said.

But Dr Annuar added that with the federal government now helmed by Pakatan Harapan (PH), he was unsure if this proposed merger would proceed.

But he said he had faith it would be carried out because Works Minister Baru Bian had openly declared yesterday that his emphasis was on three areas: schools, hospitals and roads.

“With the new federal government, we do not know whether this plan (merger) will be implemented or not.

“But it is interesting to take note that in the press conference, the newly minted Minister of Works (Baru Bian) has put emphasis on three things – schools, hospitals and roads,” Dr Annuar pointed out.

He stressed that the Sarawak government was looking forward to working with the Mahathir administration on this matter as it was important for the state. — DayakDaily