Sarawak Premier backs private initiative to expand STEM education to schools in Baram

Abang Johari (grey suit) and the group during the briefing. Photo credit: Office of the Premier of Sarawak

KUCHING, Sept 29: Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg has given his endorsement to a private group’s initiative to introduce STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education through distance learning to all nine government secondary schools in Baram.

A post on the Facebook page Sarawakku today reported that on Wednesday (Sept 27), the private group, led by Datuk TH Tan, presented the Premier with an update on the program’s success at SMK Temenggong Datuk Lawai Jau (SMK TDLJ) in Long San since 2017.

Tan demonstrated to the Premier that in the Class of 2021, 25 per cent of students achieved 4 A’s and above, compared to only 3 per cent in the group without access to computer-aided tuition.

This significant difference was further confirmed in the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) results released in June, with 34 per cent of students in the Class of 2022 obtaining 4 A’s and above, while only 3 per cent in the Control Group achieved the same.

The computer-aided tuition program utilizes the globally recognized “Khan Academy” software, where students progress through a self-paced curriculum in Science, Math, and English certified by the ISA College Board.

Abang Johari emphasized the importance of replicating the success of SMK TDLJ across the nine other SMK schools in the interior of the Baram region. He also stressed the need for close monitoring of academic performance and rigorous financial reporting.

The Premier expressed his satisfaction with the initiative, noting its alignment with the previously announced plan to provide free tertiary education to qualified Sarawakian students by or before 2030.

During the briefing, Tan unveiled a master plan that leverages an enhanced version of ‘Khan Academy,’ developed as a response to the pandemic, to facilitate distance learning through internet connectivity, using the Starlink satellite system.

Tan has established the Hornbill Foundation to execute this Master Plan. To make this endeavor a collaborative effort between government and the private sector, Dato Richard Wee, Chairman of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce, Augustine Wong, President of the Sarawak Housing and Real Estate Developers’ Association (Sheda), and Datuk Seri Richard Jong of East Full of East Design Architect SB each pledged RM250,000 to the Hornbill Foundation. — DayakDaily