The Sarawak Foundation (SF) or Yayasan Sarawak was established under the Sarawak Foundation Ordinance as a statutory body on May 27 1971 and has six objectives:
· Grant scholarships and provide loans or financial assistance to any Sarawakians – and Malaysians in general – to further their studies in schools, colleges, universities or higher learning institutions within or outside the country, following the terms and conditions set by the board;
· Actively promote educational opportunities for Sarawakians in the country and any higher learning institutions around the world but universities in the country receiving priority;
· Provide scholarships and other financial assistance as well as seek similar sponsorship from other bodies whenever deemed appropriate;
· Provide assistance and facilities to anyone who requires such assistance and facilities;
· Provide assistance, whether by loan, grant or otherwise to institutional organisations established and administered for scientific, medical, educational, charitable, social or charitable purposes; and to make a contribution and provide assistance in the event of an emergency or national disaster.
The Sarawak Foundation vision is to be a world-class entity in quality human capital. Secondly, it aims to drive the development of quality human capital through effective assistance and support.
Both its visions and missions are formulated based on the core values of Sarawak’s civil service, namely integrity, prudence and care, professionalism, promptness and ownership, team spirit and achievement-oriented.
The Sarawak Tribune on February 17 1974, reported that the late Tun Abdul Rahman established the foundation to help Sarawakian children by providing them with scholarships.
The involvement and camaraderie by Sarawakians mobilised helped to obtain funds for the initial operations of SF.
For example, members of D’Company, the 4th Sarawak Rangers Battalion based in Binatang (now Bintangor), donated RM300 to SF. Residents of the Nanga Mujang longhouse in Sungai Skrang, Second Division (now Sri Aman Division) donated RM20, the Kampung Baru National Day Celebration Committee, Samarahan donated RM50, staff and students of Sekolah Merpati Jepang, Kuching donated RM180 and more.
In addition, several large organisations at that time, for example, The Fourth Division Centenary Charitable Trust Board, contributed RM10,000. The Sarawak Government Employees Cooperative also contributed RM2,500.
Organisations and individuals who were not from Sarawak also contributed towards the fundraising for SF. Among them, the Consul General of Indonesia in Kuching at that time, Colonel Darsono Kuslan, presented a personal contribution of RM375 to the foundation.
Federal government staff organised the Kelantan Cultural Night and managed to raise RM8,000 for SF.
The current younger generation should be made aware of the grassroots of SF as it shows the challenges faced during the early stages.
· Sarawak Foundation Tun Taib Scholarship (BYSTT) to outstanding students in STEM courses (Science, Technology and Mathematics) only.
· Sarawak Tunku Abdul Rahman Scholarship Foundation (YBSTAR) provides scholarships to non-STEM (Science, Technology and Mathematics) students only.
· Special Medical Programme Scholarship for students pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Programme at Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas).
· Sarawak Foundation Local Scholarship (BTYS) which provides scholarships to underprivileged secondary school students in Sarawak and to fund schooling for students to enable them to continue their education, and to encourage students to improve their academic performance.
a. Tertiary/Technical Institution Enrolment Assistance (HGipt) to help fund the initial costs of students who start their studies at higher learning institutions.
· Education Scholarship-Loan (local) for students studying at IPTA/IPTS.
· Overseas Education Loan to finance partly the cost of study abroad.
· Technical Training Scholarship Loan which assists Sarawak children who are interested in pursuing technical courses at any Skills/Technical Training Institutions under the SF panel.
· Sarawak Higher Education Loan (HiED) which provides loans to students pursuing full-time studies Engineering & Materials Surveying at selected IPTA/IPTS in Sarawak.
Programme and assistance
Student Exchange Programme: A scheme aimed at creating national integration between the Peninsula, Sarawak and Sabah. This scheme involves sponsoring and sending outstanding students to Form 1 and Form 4 in:
· Full Boarding Schools/High-Performance Schools and Permata Pintar College in Peninsular Malaysia,
· Selected schools in Sarawak for students from Sabah and the Peninsula, and
· Selected schools in Sabah and WP Labuan for students from Sarawak under the sponsorship of Yayasan Sabah.
Community Education Programme is a community programme that helps and makes the community aware of prioritising education as a catalyst for family development. The target groups are primary and secondary school students, and parents, school leavers and community leaders.
· School Uniform Assistance Programme to alleviate the financial burden of parents in providing for their children’s schooling needs.
· Free School Bus Service Programme – a pioneering initiative by the Sarawak government to improve the well-being and ease the burden of the people, especially the low-income earners in major cities.
· High-Performance Rural Schools (HiPERS) to improve the performance of selected primary and secondary schools in rural areas and to bridge the achievement gap between urban and rural schools.
· Reading Material Assistance Programme to encourage students to build structured reading habits in various disciplines, especially in the fields of Science, Mathematics and English.
· Sarawak Foundation High-Performance Achievement Student Aid which is an incentive to students who have achieved excellent results in public examinations and encourages students to work hard to achieve academic excellence.
· Chief Minister of Sarawak Special Award (AKKMS) which is a gift of appreciation to schools, their leaders, teachers, students and education service officers who have shown exceptional performance in contributing to educational excellence in Sarawak. It is also to promote excellence and healthy competition among schools, students and education service staff.
· YS-JPNS Cooperation Programme which aims to help the Education Department implement special programmes that are considered critical but have no allocation in their annual budget.
SF provides incentives to borrowers to repay their education loans based on the terms and conditions set by the foundation.