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By Karen Bong
KUCHING, Sept 22: Sarawak will have enough qualified teachers to teach in its own private international schools as retired teachers or those thinking of early retirement are welcome to return to the classroom.
Minister of Education, Science and Technological Research (MESTR) Datuk Seri Michael Manyin Jawong expressed confidence that these retired teachers, who are certified and well trained with extensive experience, are able to give quality education to the children.
“A lot of teachers become victims of the law as it is mandatory for them to retire when they reach 60 years of age but they are still healthy, strong and mentally fit. These are the people we would like to hire.
“Secondly, I believe a lot of teachers are eligible for early retirement… I am confident that many of them will apply for the teaching posts in our international schools,” he said, rebutting critics who questioned the shortage of qualified teachers for the successful running of international schools with the first state-owned facility targeted for completion in 10 months.
Manyin highlighted this at the earth-breaking ceremony for the Yayasan Sarawak Private International Secondary School officiated at by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg at Mile 12, Jalan Kuching-Serian here today.
Giving reassurance that there would not be any shortage of qualified teachers, Manyin added that he was aware of the challenges because of the promise to parents to provide quality education which can only come with quality teachers.
“We are very confident to get quality teachers to give quality education to our children,” he emphasised.
Meanwhile, Manyin revealed that all five state-owned international schools have been proposed to be sited close to urban centres with two in Kuching, and one each in Sibu, Bintulu and Miri.
The State Planning Authority (SPA), he added, has already approved sites for all the schools except the location for the second school in Kuching which is being finalised.
“The rationale for siting these close to urban centres is to provide students with the necessary exposure.
“If the schools are sited in rural settings, the exposure and world view of the students will be severely limited,” he explained.
Manyin also emphasised that bringing rural students out from their cocoons and exposing them to life in an urban setting will provide early exposure to the challenges and opportunities brought about by the state’s development.
“Rural students will also have the opportunity to interact with people of different backgrounds and expertise. All these will contribute to enrich their experience and change their views and perspectives and they will become more determined to succeed when they realise the gap between rural and urban Sarawak,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education (MOE) has given MESTR the letter of support to start the construction of the 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.
When fully developed, the schools will cater to students from Year 7 to 11 or Form 1 to 5 with each school having a total enrolment of 500 students with 100 students at each level.
For each level, there will be four classes with 25 students in each class so as to keep class size small to enable effective interaction between students and teachers. Three of the classes will be for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) students and one class will be for Arts students. — DayakDaily