The situation faced by schools in Sarawak, especially rural schools, seems to be going from bad to worse.
In making this observation, PKR Mas Gading branch chairman Boniface Willy Tumek said over the past few years, Sarawakians had been inundated with stories of dilapidated schools, some of which collapsed and some burnt down.
“On the third day of 2017, we were greeted with the news that 369 schools would be without electricity because there is no diesel to power their generators.
“All in all it looks like schools in Sarawak will not be sharing in the government aspiration to better prepare Sarawakian children for the need of the 21st century, an aspiration stated in the national Education Blueprint 2013–2025,” he said in a press statement yesterday.
Boniface, who is also state PKR vice chairman, was commenting on The Borneo Post’s report entitled ‘Blackout hits 369 rural schools’, which among others stated that these schools were running low on fuel or out of it when school reopened due to the dispute between 30 contractors and Education Ministry on refilling the tanks before the expiry of their contracts on Dec 31, last year.
Boniface said in addition to the obvious problem of not having electricity for lighting and to power crucial equipment like computers, it also contributed to the difficulties experienced by the Education Department in getting teachers to agree to transfer to rural schools.
“Teachers serving in rural schools are among the most dedicated for not many are willing to endure the hardships and discomfort associated with rural living for the sake of children in rural areas.
“The least the government can do for them is to ensure that basic utility like electricity supply is available to these rural schools so that they can teach and live with some measure of comfort.”
Boniface said if the Sarawak state government was truly concerned with the wellbeing of Sarawakians, their future and by extension, the future of the state, the state government must take a hard look at the result of the federal government policies with regards to Sarawak and recognise that the policies did not dovetail with the aspirations and objectives of the national education blueprint.”
With this in mind, he said PKR Mas Gading branch strongly urged the state government to abandon all talks on the devolution of power and instead demand complete autonomy from the federal government.
“The state government must reclaim full rights over education in Sarawak. Anything short of complete autonomy will see similar problems continuing to fester in the state, in our school system and other crucial sectors like the medical and health sector.”
Source : @ The Borneo Post Online