KUCHING: The Sarawak Initiatives (TSI) is impressed with Datuk Seri Michael Manyin Jawong’s stand on education in Sarawak.
Not only that, TSI was also impressed that the Minister of Education, Science and Technology Research Sarawak fully supported the vision and intention of the state government to bring quality education within the reach of every Sarawakian.
In a statement, TSI said the state government had demonstrated its political will to bring about major changes to Sarawak education by taking the first step in realising its vision by planning to establish five international schools in Sarawak.
It said the move by the state government was highly commendable.
“Under Article 17 (a) in the Report of the Inter-Governmental Committee 1962 (IGC Report 1962), the jurisdiction on “Education” effectively lies within the power of the state government and Article 17(a)(i) clearly stated that “the present policy in the Borneo States regarding the use of English should continue;”.
“Therefore, the statement made by Professor Dr Teo Kok Seong of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) on the illegality of the initiatives of the state government to build and run international schools is therefore clearly baseless.
“The response by Manyin is more than enough to refute Teo’s fallacy and there is no need to add further — other than the fact that Teo has demonstrated a tendency in creating controversies in many aspects on education in the past.
“His recent comment on Sarawak international schools touching on law and legality and the Education Act without further enquiry and research shows inadequacy on the subject matter.
“TSI visualises that education in the 21st century where learning process will be very different and challenging will require the state government to make major preparations for the benefit of future generations,” the statement said on Monday (Oct 5).
TSI’s chairman Datuk John Tenewi added that the organisation would like the state government to implement the English language as the medium of instruction either under the International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO) or the Cambridge programmes for all subjects for the kindergarten and the primary school levels as well.
“This is because it is important to train and educate the young learning minds during these formative years as many international schools in the state are using the Cambridge programmes for the kindergarten and primary school levels.
“Sarawakians definitely do not want their young children to be deprived of quality education during their formative years,” the statement added.
TSI also urged the state government to build more international schools and eventually convert all government schools in the state to the English medium of instruction.
“The objective of choosing English as the medium of instruction is not only to allow children to master the English language but also in keeping up to date with the constant education development around the world.
“There is no need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to education syllabuses as these have been well developed by countries which have carried out advanced research on education.
“The results of a good and advanced education system can be seen from the progress made by these countries in their economic frontiers and breakthrough in their technological capabilities and stretching and expansion of the limits of their minds,” it said.