Rural-urban education gaps need to be tackled

Hamid speaking at the MOU and MOA signing ceremony at Pustaka Negeri Sarawak. Photo: Ummi Munirah

KUCHING: Gaps in the quality of education between rural and urban areas in Sarawak must be addressed constructively, said Pustaka board chairman Tan Sri Datuk Amar Hamid Bugo.

Noting that Pustaka will continue to play its role in educating the public, he stressed that the education system needs a paradigm shift.

“Please bear in mind that this cannot be exclusive. We want to promote inclusivity. Especially in rural areas.” he said in his speech at a ceremony for the signing of an MOU and an MOA between Pustaka and University College of Technology Sarawak (UCTS), Association of Research and Development Movement of Singai Sarawak (Redeems) and Land and Survey Department held at the state library in Petra Jaya here on Monday (Dec 14).

The most glaring problem of the current education, he pointed out, was the digital divide between rural and urban areas especially during this Covid-19 pandemic.

“The main problem here is that we have done it wrongly by only emphasising education at the tertiary level.

“And if you look, many of the people who are teaching in our kindergartens are not qualified,” he said, saying that the system must use more holistic approaches.

“The one-way teaching approach is not effective. Education must begin at a very young age. When in university, all we need is to polish and upscale talents.

“This is the challenge and the state library will continue to educate the community,” he said.

Another loophole, Hamid noted was the perception of learning.

“Educating and learning does not only involve schools. They don’t end once we finished our tertiary education. It is a lifelong journey,” he asserted.

With more strategic partnerships with Pustaka, he hopes Pustaka can reach communities in the remotest areas of Sarawak.

“Our library has been mandated to reach out to the community so that none of our people will be left out,” he said.