Thank you for funding, but we need more, mission schools tell federal govt

Uggah (seated centre) flanked by Poh on his right and Unifor director Richard Lon on his left, as well as Danald (seated right) in a group photo after the meeting.

KUCHING, Oct 6: Mission school authorities of Sarawak want the federal government to allocate funds for the setting up and upgrading of facilities in these schools.

While thankful for the current federal funding, Bishop of the Anglican Church of Sarawak and Brunei, Datuk Danald Jute in making this request, emphasised that mission schools in Sarawak needed much more to elevate the standards of these schools.

“Although the federal government is providing financial assistance to the schools, it is only for maintenance purposes.

“To elevate the standards effectively, we need facilities such as laboratories, special rooms and others,” he said after the state Mission School Authorities’ first meeting with Unit For Other Religions (Unifor) here today.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah, who is in charge of Unifor, chaired the meeting to discuss the schools’ needs.

While hoping that the state government could relay its requests and needs to the federal government, Danald also expressed hope the state government could step in to support mission schools if the federal counterpart fails to extend the fund for Sarawak.

“All these facilities will be most helpful to enhance our teaching which can lead to better standards and results in our schools,” he added.

Danald also expressed hope that the state government would support them in promoting Bible knowledge among Christian students.

“With the support, together we can restore in all mission schools, the place of the Bible and Scripture knowledge,” he said while requesting for qualified Christian teachers to be given the opportunity to head mission schools.

Danald also requested the state government to expedite the issuing of land titles to mission schools, churches and their other properties especially those in rural areas.

“At the moment, a number of such schools stand on the pledges given by kampung folks.

“There had been problems when the grandchildren or great grandchildren of the land donors started to claim back such land,” he pointed out.

There are currently 127 mission schools in Sarawak with 113 primary schools and 14 secondary schools, mainly in Kuching, Sibu and Miri divisions.

Of the primary schools, the Roman Catholic ones number 57, Anglican (45) and Methodist (5); while for the secondary schools, seven are overseen by the Roman Catholic church, Anglican church (5) and Methodist church (2).

In addition, there are 92 kindergartens operated by the three denominations.

Meanwhile, the meeting was held in response to the call by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg for mission schools to have their own committee to specifically look after their financial needs as well as to help solve any problems they face.

Roman Catholic Archbishop of Kuching Simon Poh, Revd Lau Kiong Ping representing the Methodist Sarawak Chinese Annual Conference and Kaso Linang representing the Methodist Sarawak Iban Annual Conference were among those present. — DayakDaily