Chief Minister Adenan Satem has urged Sarawak Foundation (Yayasan Sarawak) to source for more funds by digging into its resources, to assist students pursue technical and tertiary education.
The Foundation, which started off in 1971 with a few million ringgit, has almost RM1 billion in properties and other assets.
“Its timber revenue and even that from plantations was depleting,” said Adenan who is also the Foundation’s chairman. “The Foundation has to find alternative sources of income.”
This can be used to sponsor students especially those in need of further education, he said in his speech reported by the Borneo Post.
Adenan also announced a RM10 million grant for the Foundation at its 45th anniversary dinner during the weekend.
“I have a few million ringgit remaining this year from funds, so I can donate to the Sarawak Foundation.”
The money, he cautioned, should not be used for “other purposes”.
The chief minister said there were students already overseas pursuing even Masters, under the Foundation’s sponsorship, and who would continue to need assistance.
“We can help increase the number of qualified people especially in technical education,” he said.
He agreed there was a time when the Foundation was “very selective” on scholarships and loans but it was now more “open” under his chairmanship.
The result was that more students were given opportunities to pursue further education, he said, adding there was no point in limiting the people who wanted to learn.
He urged the scope for learning be widened for all students and not just for the Orang Asal.
In reiterating the state’s policy on education, under his administration, he said emphasis must be given to technical education and promoting the use of the English language.
He expressed confidence the twin approach would see greater employability of students.
“We can no longer continue with the old ways which made it harder, in the end, for school leavers and graduates to be employed,” said Adenan.
The 45th anniversary celebrations saw the presentation of the 24th Anugerah Khas Ketua Menteri to students, teachers, administrators and schools for various achievements.
Yayasan Sarawak Director, Azmi Bujang said since 1971, the Foundation had spent RM611 million on education in the form of scholarships and study loans, grants for scientific research and charitable purposes.
The various programmes have benefitted almost 150,000 individuals, said Azmi.
Yayasan Sarawak spent RM18.4 million last year on scholarships and loans.
The money was spent on 3,057 students in the arts, science and technical fields from certificate to PhD levels, and professional courses.
Yayasan Sarawak has direct interest in two universities – Curtin University of Technology Sarawak in Miri and Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak in Kuching.
These two universities have a total of 8,000 students.
Source : FMT Reporters Online