Sarawak has requested federal approval of more private English-medium schools in the state to improve the level of proficiency of the language among students.
Chief Minister Adenan Satem said the state government had pledged its support to establish more of these schools. “We recognise the uniformity the national education policy is set to achieve but it does not necessarily mean unity,” he said today.
Adenan said Sarawak had autonomy over education and should be given the freedom to decide its own policy to suit its needs. He said the state government wanted more English stream schools as the command of English among students in the state was poor.
He expressed the fear that more than 20,000 fresh graduates from Sarawak would have difficulty getting employed because of their inability to master the English language.
“Be more practical, like Singapore and other states; we are not too late,” he said in a speech at the parade for the birthday of the Yang Dipertuan Negeri.
He said Sarawak did want fresh graduates to be “unemployed and unemployable” due to their handicap in English.
He also urged the federal Education Ministry to focus on improving dilapidated school buildings in Sarawak. Some school buildings were in danger of being swept away because of constant erosion of river banks, while others still did not have adequate supply of electricity or water.