S’wak has 417 schools with less than 10 UPSR candidates

Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS) vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Mohamad Kadim Suaidi (front left) presents a souvenir to Education, Science and Technological Research Minister Datuk Seri Michael Manyin Jawong (centre) at the function.

KUCHING: There were 417 schools throughout the state with only 10 or less candidates sitting for the recent UPSR, said Education, Science and Technological Research Minister Datuk Seri Michael Manyin Jawong.

These schools are mainly rural schools from the northern part of the state in Baram, the central region of Kapit and also the southern region of Serian, with some schools having only two Primary Six students.

“So you can imagine the number of students in one school,” Manyin told reporters after closing the International Conference on Borneo Book Publishing & Borneo Books here.

Manyin said the low enrolment was the ‘killer’ that caused the state to rank 13th out of 15 in the country for many years when it came to overall school performance.

Also, there are as many as 1,020 dilapidated schools across Sarawak with 415 categorised as being in ‘critically dilapidated’ condition. There are 651 schools with less than 150 students.

To improve on academic performance and to solve the dilapidated schools issue, Manyin said the state would like to convince the parents to centralise schools.

Manyin said he had had dialogue with representatives from Catholic mission schools, and Anglican, Methodist and Chinese School Boards.

“We had a long dialogue. The Chinese think that the moment they are closed, they will lose their licences and that is the main reason (they object it).”

However, Manyin said the Chinese schools could transfer to town areas with overcrowded schools so they don’t lose the licences.

Manyin gave his assurance that the Chinese schools will not lose their licences and that the state government would assist in the school relocation.