The Sabah education policy proposed by Shafie Apdal’s multiracial party will recognise the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) and will seek improvements in vocational education and the teaching of English, according to Penampang MP Darell Leiking.
Speaking to FMT, he said a group of technical advisors, educationists and professionals were still refining the draft of the policy, but essentially, the focus on English, vocational education and the recognition of the UEC would be among the key initiatives.
“English is still the common language that breaks down walls for socialising and in economic and even politic activities,” he said, adding that he had met many graduates who would struggle to even string together an English sentence.
“This is not entirely their fault. It is the current education system that has failed us. So I am all for the enhancement of English teaching in a Sabahan education policy.”
He said this did not mean that native languages should be forgotten or that Bahasa Malaysia would not remain important.
The reason for the focus on vocational education, he said, was that the current education system was too focused on academic studies at the expense of vocational skills.
However, he gave credit to Sabahans as “very talented people” in the areas of art, science and skills.
“I often hear foreigners speak of how skilled Sabahans are in the hospitality and oil industries,” he said.
He noted that many Sabahans ended up taking post-secondary vocational courses, but he said these could have been elective subjects in secondary school.
As for the UEC, he said Sabah should recognise it like Sarawak had.
“UEC is recognised by many countries around the world, including top-ranking institutions such as the California Institute of Technology, Harvard University, the University of Tokyo and the National University of Singapore,” he said.
“So why shouldn’t we recognise it as well? Why should we lose out on the talents of those who have UEC?”
Leiking said he believed that as the party moved forward in sharing this education vision, more Sabahans would accept it.