‘PTAs need to be informed about school curricula’

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Chambai (left) and Petrus field questions from members of the media.

Chambai (left) and Petrus field questions from members of the media.

SIBU: Parent Teacher Associations (PTAs) need to be informed about the Standard Primary School Curriculum, including options to pursue if any of the preferred compulsory electives is not available in school.

Sarawak Dayak National Union (SDNU) deputy secretary-general Chambai Lindong who gave the suggestion, said such a situation could arise if a particular primary school did not have the required expertise or did not offer the elective subjects.

The curriculum revised in 2011 necessitated all pupils to take one of the electives such as Bahasa Iban, Bahasa Tamil, Bahasa Cina and Bahasa Arab.

Chambai said pupils should not be compelled to take up other electives just to fulfill the requirement if the preferred subjects like Bahasa Iban were not taught in the school.

He was worried that this could eventually lead to confusion among parents if they were not well informed.

“For instance, there is confusion among some parents on this matter in a primary school here where 90 per cent of the pupils are from the Dayak community.

“Therefore, it is imperative that the school management cascade down the necessary information to the PTAs.

“In that way, parents will be advised of ways to tackle the situation should it crop up later,” Chambai told a press conference in his personal capacity here yesterday.

He also suggested that parents write to the district education officer to request for the preferred elective such as Iban Language to be taught if there was ready expertise but the subject was not being offered in the school.

To do that, there must be at least 15 parents making the request, he explained.

He, however, figured that parents had to find out the availability of such expertise.

“On the other hand, if the school does not have the expertise to teach the elective, the education department could consider outsourcing for one.

“But the person engaged needs to be a teacher and well-versed in that particular subject to be able to impart the knowledge effectively.”

He said Bahasa Iban was being offered in Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris and Rajang Teachers Training Institute.

On another matter, Chambai said the new school term posed a headache to many parents especially those from the lower income group.

He bemoaned that parents needed to spend about RM200 per child attending secondary school.

“Parents need to buy workbooks (RM80), exercise books and stationery (RM50), T-shirt (RM25), track suit (RM25), school magazine (RM10), and nametag (RM4) among others.”

He also noted it was costly to send a child to a private kindergarten where parents had to fork out about RM500.

He hoped the government could distribute the school aid of RM100 early to lessen the parents’ burden.

“Those parents receiving BR1M should save up some for their children’s education,” he added.

SDNU Kemuyang unit chairman Petrus Tandang is all for Chambai’s suggestion.

Petrus advised the community to approach SDNU for more information on higher education.

“Parents are urged to give more focus on their children’s education as that is the way forward,” he said.