KUCHING: The Education, Science and Technological Research Ministry has deemed 415 schools in the state critically dilapidated and in need of rebuilding or relocation to a new site.
“The department has identified 205 schools to be included in the Eleventh Malaysia Plan (11MP), using normal allocation. The repair of the remaining 110 schools will be implemented through special funding as announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak during the national budget 2018,” said Minister of Education, Science and Technological Research Dato Sri Michael Manyin.
The ministry is in the process of identifying the schools which are considered as priorities, he said in his response to Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How’s question at this morning’s question and answer session during the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting today.
“One of the things they are thinking of is to centralise the schools because there are too many under-enrolled schools (SKM or Sekolah Kurang Murid) with less than 150 students, and some with only 10-20 students.”
Manyin pointed out that there are many dilapidated schools in Sarawak and the RM1 billion allocated in the 2018 budget is for the period of 2018 to 2019.
“Details are still under negotiation and will be finalised soon.”
He also urged assemblymen of rural constituencies to convince parents in their respective constituencies to agree to a centralised school as a way forward.
“We believe that small schools cannot perform in any developing countries. In developed countries like Australia, New Zealand, Finland and Irelend, small is beautiful because they have the resources.”
He added that those countries have a conducive environment where small schools can thrive, and highly-educated parents who can support the teachers.
They can also afford to provide specialist teachers to teach key subjects, but not so in Sarawak.
“We want to give every rural constituency one centralised school but that again depends on the response of the parents. If parents agree, we will start building centralised schools as early as next year and that will become a model. For those who don’t agree, we will wait and let them see the model.”
Of the 1,264 primary and 190 secondary schools in Sarawak, 1,020 are considered dilapidated, while 415 are deemed critically dilapidated.