SIBU: The federal government had consented to allocate RM34 million for Chinese aided primary schools in Sarawak to ensure that they can continue playing a crucial role in education.
Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin in announcing this, said from the amount, the sum of RM20 million came from the development allocation while RM14 million was through allocation for management.
A total of 187 Chinese aided primary schools and 10 conforming schools statewide received the allocation.
“As for development allocation, the assistance to start with this evening (Monday) is RM50,000 for each school. This means that the government will allocate a total of RM9.85 million for such purpose,” he said at a cheque presentation ceremony to Chinese aided primary schools and conforming schools.
Muhyiddin, who is also Education Minister, disclosed that the balance of RM10.15 million would be distributed to all these schools according to their needs for this year and next.
As such, he had decided that a committee, comprising ministers from Sabah, Sarawak and peninsular and from the Chinese community would decide on how best the allocation of RM70 million set aside by the prime minister since last year be utilised among the Chinese schools in the country.
And from that amount, a sum of RM20 million will be given to the schools mentioned earlier, he said.
He said for year 2009/2010, the government spent RM11.23 million on Chinese aided schools in Sarawak through the development allocation.
“This allocation has been distributed to 101 Chinese aided schools in the state. For the same period, as for allocation for management, the government had spent RM14.06 million for per capita grant for such schools statewide,” he told the audience of about 1,000 people.
This, he added, reflected the BN government’s commitment and sincerity in helping aided schools to succeed in providing education to children.
He gave assurance that the government had always given high priority to Chinese education as they too played a role in imparting knowledge to children.
He echoed the prime minister’s view that aided schools which had long existed be accepted since they had become a legacy.
For that, BN government had played its role to assist such schools in their quest to produce human capital, adding that aids came in the form of financial assistance, building infrastructure, training of teachers and paying of teachers’ salaries.
“Each year in the national budget, the government spends some RM1.8 billion on salaries of teachers in both Chinese and Indian aided schools in the country,” he revealed.
He further said the prime minister had even given leeway to Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) graduates.
Elaborating, he said beginning this year they would take in a portion of university graduates as Mandarin teachers in teachers’ training institutes. He described this as part of the government’s effort to provide career opportunities for graduates from Chinese schools.
Muhyiddin also stressed that the federal government had always given education top priority as evidenced by allocation for education which accounted to more than 26 per cent of the national budget.
“The government gives high priority to education to produce quality human capital as the country sets course to achieve a developed nation status by 2020,” he said, adding that more professionals and skilled workers would be needed in time to come.
Among those present were Sibu combined education officer Wong Chong Kung, chairman of the United Association of Chinese Primary Aided School Board of Management, Sibu and Kapit divisions, Hu Siew Liong, treasurer Tie Teck Hiong and Sacred Heart Old Students’ Association (Shosa) Sibu chairman SMC councillor Robert Lau Hui Yew.