The State Government will come up with a comprehensive plan to address the issue of dilapidated schools in Sarawak through the newly-established Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Research.
According to its Minister, YB Dato Sri Michael Manyin anak Jawong in his winding-up speech during the First Meeting of the Second Term of the 18th State Legislative Assembly on 19th May 2017, out of 1,454 schools in Sarawak, about 1,020 (70 per cent) have been categorised as ‘dilapidated’ while 415 schools were categorised as ‘critically dilapidated’.
He pointed out that due to issues such as lack of facilities, students would not be able to enjoy a conducive learning environment to excel in their studies, resulting in a loss in terms of human capital.
Aside from that, the issue of ‘low enrolment schools’ in the rural areas due to scattered settlements was also a main concern for the Ministry, as it deprived students of better facilities and amenities including access to specialised teachers, which is crucial for the performance of the students.
He added that as the State has invested substantially in tertiary education through various institutions and agencies, it was therefore crucial for the Ministry to monitor and facilitate the development and contribution of these institutions and also to help meet the market demand of employment in the State.
YB Dato Sri Michael Manyin explained that the new Ministry was also vital for nurturing and cultivating interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.
As of now, only 26 per cent of students in Sarawak were enrolled in the science stream, which is still far behind the State’s target of 60 per cent, and this has resulted in the lack of qualified students taking up science and engineering programmes.
Besides that, the Ministry will study and develop a comprehensive plan to tackle the issue of lack of proficiency in English among students.