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Reps Aye To Schools Merger
Masing (seated centre) in a group photo with six other elected representatives and education officers after the meeting.
October 11th, 2017 | 09:29 AM | 701 views
Upper Rajang MPs, assemblymen say centralisation of low enrollment schools in their area good move provided certain conditions fulfilled
The elected representatives in two parliamentary and five state constituencies in the Upper Rajang hinterland of the state’s central region have agreed in principle with the proposal to centralise schools with low enrolment.
This was disclosed by Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Masing who is also assemblyman for Baleh, one of the seven constituencies in the area, after meeting with the elected representatives at his office in Petra Jaya yesterday.
The others were Kapit MP Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi, Hulu Rajang MP Datuk Wilson Ugak Kumbong, Belaga assemblyman Datuk Liwan Lagang, Pelagus assemblyman Wilson Nyabong Ijang, Bukit Goram assemblyman Jefferson Jamit and Murum assemblyman Kennedy Chukpai Ugon.
“I was chairing a meeting on the proposal to centralise rural primary schools with low enrolment and elected representatives in attendance agreed with the centralisation policy provided certain criteria are fulfilled. The Education Department will decide on the locations and how many primary schools are to be put up as a centralised site.
The chosen centralised schools must be equipped with enough boarding facilities, enough teachers’ quarters, enough classrooms, good internet facilities, proper laboratories to be made available, and water and electricity supplies.
The other conditions are that students from feeder schools are free to choose which centralised school they wish to attend. Once the students have moved out, the feeder schools must be closed, the Education Act 1996 must be amended to allow for all other conditions to take effect, and parents cannot object once a decision to move has been decided,” Masing said when contacted.
Education officers from Belaga, Kapit and Song also attended the meeting.
“All the elected representatives present wanted for a start a pilot centralised primary school in each state constituency. A pilot school in each of the eight DUN would be identified,” Masing added.
The proposal to merge low enrolment schools in rural areas into one was mooted by Minister for Education, Science and Technological Research Dato Sri Michael Manyin on May 31 this year.
He was reported to have said local elected representatives – state assemblymen and members of parliament – had been told to convince parents to opt for centralised or merged schools so their children could get better services and facilities.
Schools with low student enrolment cannot perform well in academics for the simple reason that they lack basic facilities and specialist teachers, he told a press conference.
People should opt for centralised schools because it would not be cost effective for the government to repair or rebuild schools with low students enrollment, particularly when they were already broken down, he added.
Sarawak schools rank a lowly 13th (out of 15) in overall academic level in the nation despite improvement in the last few years.
Manyin said there are 1,454 schools with poor condition throughout Sarawak and out of this figure, 190 are secondary schools. From the figure (1,454) 1,020 school are in dilapidated condition and 434 critically dilapidated.
The government could not simply rebuild or repair schools with low student enrollment, he added.
courtesy of THE BORNEO POST
by Churchill Edward
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