TUARAN: Upko’s hard work in promoting the teaching of Bible Knowledge in schools is bearing fruits with more than 1,000 students taking up the subject throughout Sabah now.
“I have just received orders for 600 more sets in addition to the 750 textbook sets that have been distributed to the various schools in the state.
“This is unprecedented. We will have a big number of students studying Bible Knowledge in Sabah,” said Upko acting president Datuk Seri Wilfred Madius Tangau.
In two separate ceremonies on Monday, Tangau who is Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation handed over 50 sets of the Bible Knowledge textbooks to SM St John here and 35 sets to SMK Tun Fuad Stephens in Kiulu.
The Tuaran MP said although the subject had been in the education curriculum for quite sometime, there were not many takers due to challenges associated with it.
“Since not many students are taking up the subject, coupled with challenges such as the shortage of teachers among others, Bible Knowledge studies were almost forgotten,” he said.
Promoting Bible Knowledge has been Upko’s priority, since the request for it to be an elective subject in SPM was made by former president Tan Sri Bernard Dompok when he was a member of the Federal Cabinet in 2011.
“We knew the challenges when the government gave the nod … so Tan Sri Bernard said Upko would do its part and he offered to provide the textbooks,” he said.
Apart from helping to provide the textbooks – Acts of the Apostles and Gospel of Luke – he said the party also helped to start the ball rolling for the setting up of funds to help pay allowances for Bible Knowledge teachers.
As an elective subject, lessons are being taught voluntarily by teachers after school hours.
Tangau reiterated that Upko was working hard to have more schools and students take up Bible Knowledge because he considered it as a critical subject.
He told the students that Bible Knowledge is a subject that can help improve one’s command of English and that it can also be a form of literature.
Tangau said it would also instil noble virtues among the students, which in the future could help them make the right decision when faced with difficult situations.
“I hope they will use the knowledge gained from the subject to become a better useful person in their adulthood,” he said.
Meanwhile, SMK Tun Fuad Stephens super principal Lokuin Gintos expressed gratitude to Tangau for the assistance in supplying the textbooks that were sourced from Peninsular Malaysia.
She admitted that it was the first time that she was seeing the Bible Knowledge textbooks simply because they were not available in Sabah.
“We are very thankful with the initiative of our leader, Datuk Seri Madius Tangau to provide us with the textbooks,” she said.
Receiving the textbooks for SM St John was principal Marcus Salagan. Also on hand was Conrad Wong representing Upko religious and racial harmony bureau.