Saturday, October 19

State govt open to top China universities setting up branch campuses in S’wak with help of private sector

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A group of school children visit Tsinghua University campus in Beijing. The state government is encouraging such top universities to set up branch campuses in Sarawak. AFP Photo

MIRI: The state government recognises the technological advances of China and is open to any top university setting up a branch campus in the state with the help of the private sector, says Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

Abang Johari said this was in line with the STEM education emphasis by the state to progress into the Industrial Revolution 4.0 (IR 4.0) economy, where the wealth of intellectual capacity would trump resources in contributing towards a country’s wealth.

“We recognise China has made great strides in technology and is now the global 5G technology leader, and therefore we must adjust to that so that we can also become a very important country in this region like what Estonia is to the European Union,” he said.

The chief minister said this at the opening ceremony of a classroom block cum earth-breaking ceremony of a multi-purpose hall at SJK( C) Chung Hua Tudan in Miri today.

He said China has top universities such as Tsinghua University, which is equivalent to what Stanford University is to the United States.

“I hope some top universities from China can set up a branch in Sarawak, particularly those which can excel in science, English and technology and if they are willing to come, we can work together,” he said.

Abang Johari was quick to add that he referring to such a private sector driven venture as a possibility in the state’s march towards IR 4.0 economy and its emphasis on investing in intellectual capital in the state.

The chief minister gave the thumbs up to SJKC Chung Hua Tudan for its progressive outlook where students were multilingual and are already immersed in an e-classroom ecosystem which facilitates learning.

Impressed with a Malay student speaking fluent Mandarin, a Chinese and Iban student rattling off flawless Malay and English on stage to welcome guests, the chief minister said: “This is something unique which I am seeing for the first time – this school has produced multilingual students and I think this bodes well for the future of our state.”

He said Sarawak is proud of its stand on education that emphasises learning multiple languages, including Mandarin which is the global language of economics currently while English being the lingua-franca of science and technology.

The school has over 1,300 students with 71 per cent consisting of Bumiputera students from 28 ethnic groups – a phenomenon not seen anywhere else in the state

Also present at the function were former Deputy Chief Minister and school board chairman Datuk Patinggi Dr George Chan Hong Nam, Assistant Minister of Tourism, Culture and Arts Datuk Lee Kim Shin, SUPP Secretary-General and ADUN Piasau Datuk Sebastian Ting Chew Yew, Miri Resident Haji Mastapha Julaihi and other dignitaries.