KUCHING: Sarawakians must strive for a more expansive world view to deal with the socio-economic development happening on their doorsteps.
Minister in the Chief Minister’s Department Datin Fatimah Abdullah said the only way the people can meet the demands of Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) is by pursuing the right education and acquiring relevant skills.
“The issue of ‘brain drain’ and ‘unemployed graduates’ will be a thing of the past with job opportunities being created in SCORE,” she said, when opening The Borneo Post International Education Fair (BPIEF) 2011 yesterday.
The fair, which runs from Feb 19-20 at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK), saw a 36 per cent increase in participation from Australia, Great Britain, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, People’s Republic of China, Russia, Singapore, Switzerland and America.
Fatimah, who is the BPIEF patron, said 38,082 (94.5 per cent) out of 40,297 children in Sarawak attended preschool education.
“For us, this is not enough. Our government is making every effort to achieve a 100 per cent target that every Year One pupil goes through preschool experience,” she said.
The government is opening more playschools and kindergartens in remote areas and near longhouses, and they need more teachers, Fatimah added.
She also said the government would like to see all tertiary institutions provide relevant and quality courses with proper accreditation that will give high employability for their graduates.
“The government will never compromise on quality education and training,” she said.
“In this respect, it established the Malaysian Quality Education Authority (MQA) and the Skills Development Council to ensure that education and training curriculums, facilities and personnel in Malaysia are of quality.”
Increased access and opportunity in education and training are the main focus of the Barisan National (BN) government through the 1Malaysia Concept in which nobody is left behind in the development of human capital, she added. “With sufficient education and training, it is possible to achieve a balanced socio-economic development in Sarawak,” said Fatimah.
She expressed her hope that Sarawak’s 40,029 school leavers, 35,349 for SPM and 5,680 for STPM, will take the opportunity provided by BPIEF 2011 to realise their further education and training aspirations.
BPIEF 2011, now in its second year, is a corporate social responsibility (CSR) project by The Borneo Post.
Fatimah said that it is an example of how private companies can work hand in hand with the government to benefit the people.
“By bringing educational institutions, skills training providers, financial assistance providers and even early childhood and education support-related institutions, BPIEF is evolving into a truly one-stop premier education event in Borneo,” she said.
Fatimah also presented trophies for the Best Booth Award 2010 to ACCA Malaysia (first place), Masterskill University College of Health Sciences (second) and Limkokwing University of Creative Technology (third).
In his speech, BPIEF organising chairman Dorge Rajah said Sarawak is fortunate that both the federal and state governments are committed in ensuring education for all.
“Strong government support is the cornerstone of ensuring education for the masses.
“We all know that quality education has the power to uplift lives, empower the individual and most importantly build a nation,” he said.
As the most widely read newspaper in Borneo, The Borneo Post feels that it is part of their corporate social responsibility to help empower their readers in making informed choices that will define the career they undertake, Dorge added.
“This will in turn benefit our country,” said Dorge.
Present at the launch of BPIEF 2011 were the BPIEF 2011 advisor Phyllis Wong, Clement Langet Sabang, representing Human Resource Development and Quality Unit director; Lim Boon Wah, representing UCSI University CEO and Chinese Consulate General Xi Fugen.