SERIAN: Minister of Education, Science and Technological Research Dato Sri Michael Manyin says Sarawak has to focus on education in order to move forward and survive.
He believed education was the driving force for any nation to progress, the key that can drive nations to move forward.
“I don’t think anybody can dispute that. Whether it is in Asia, in America, in Africa, in South America or in Europe, it has been proven there is clear evidence that those who have concentrated on education have and are moving forward.
“There are many instances which we cannot name. There are also countries which have lots of natural resources but cannot progress because they don’t focus on education,” he said at the launch of Serian English Language Proficiency Initiative (SELPI) in Pichin near here yesterday.
Manyin believed that education probably was the only single factor that could change a child’s future.
Whatever one was going to do, he or she has to have education.
“It is not just education for yourself and your family to improve your future but education to improve the whole community and the country. There is no community and no country which can progress without education,” he said.
He said international studies have found that there were differences between those countries that did not focus on education and those countries that did. There were countries that have abundant natural resources and countries that don’t have any or much.
“Those that have no natural resources would normally concentrate on education and building their human capital. They have no natural resources but they focus on education, and now they are among the most progressive nations in the world.
“Countries that have abundant natural resources but do not progress are those that do not concentrate on education,” he said.
On English language, Manyin said there was a definite decline in the standard of proficiency of English in Sarawak.
This was expected, he said, because in 1976 there was a law passed in Parliament to change the medium of instruction in schools from English to Bahasa Malaysia (BM).
He and his team were now promoting English but not to the extent of downgrading BM.
He acknowledged that BM was very important, and he believed Malaysia had achieved its objectives by introducing BM in 1976.
Introducing BM provides Malaysia its identity and unite the races through one language.
“If ever we have any differences, if there is disunity in Malaysia, it’s not because of language. Probably it’s because of other factors.
“We are not downgrading BM. BM is still important but because of changes in the world, we have no choice. We have to learn and speak English because we must move with the times,” he said.