… operational by 2023
Sarawak’s first state-owned international secondary school, or also known as Yayasan Sarawak International Secondary School, is expected to be operational by 2023.
Located at Mile 12, Kuching-Serian Road, it will be the first of five state-owned international secondary schools, to be established in Sarawak.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg officiated at the ground-breaking ceremony at KM 20, Kuching-Serian Road on Sept 22 last year.
The idea of the private school was mooted by Abang Johari himself. It is an initiative to provide quality education to Sarawakians in light of the constant flipflops in the federal government’s education policy.
In his address, the chief minister said the planned international schools will cater for children of rural dwellers, where they can be groomed and benefit from the high standard study environment and education system.
“This is because Sarawak’s social policy has always been fair to all. Currently, only the elites can afford to send their children to private international schools in the state,” he said.
Abang Johari explained that the Sarawak government is not competing with the private sector but trying to provide an avenue for the smart kids from rural areas to have the same opportunity as the children of the elites in urban areas.
“In another word, at the end of the day, we can have people across the board who are smart and have the opportunity to study further.
“This will definitely encompass every member of the society and they are eligible to go to world-class universities,” he said.
He also reiterated the need for Sarawak to be connected internationally, considering the small population despite the large land mass.
The chief minister said Sarawakians must be trained to have a global mindset and be connected to the world through digital means. The setting up of these international schools would help to facilitate this connectivity.
The other schools will be located in Sibu, Miri, Bintulu and a yet-to-be announced second site in Kuching. These schools will identify high potential students and provide them with the opportunity to realise their full potential by giving access to international standard education.
In making the decision to set up these schools, the Sarawak government has considered the following factors: the responsibility of the state to protect its rights with regard to its education policies as stated in paragraph 17 of the Inter-Governmental Committee Report, 1962 (IGC Report) as follows: “ … although education, item 13(a) of the Federal list in the Ninth Schedule will be a federal subject, the present policy and system of administration of education in North Borneo and Sarawak should be undisturbed and remain under the control of the government of the state until that government otherwise agrees.”
The Sarawak government has studied the relevant laws and has had extensive engagements with the federal Ministry of Education and has complied with the requirements of the ministry in setting up these schools.
All Yayasan Sarawak International Schools will be managed and owned by YS International Education Sdn Bhd (formerly known as Sanjung Services Sdn Bhd) which is a subsidiary of Yayasan Sarawak.
Each school will need RM40 million to RM45 million to implement with extra funding also required to run the school.
The schools will cater to students from Year 7 to Year 11 or Form 1 to Form 5. Student selection will be inclusive, meaning that students from all races, strata and origin can enter as long as they are Sarawakians and meet the selection criteria.
It will accept students regardless of economic status, but there will be a quota for students from well-to-do families. About 80 percent of the students will be provided with boarding facilities.
According to Sarawak Minister of Education, Science and Technological Research Datuk Amar Micheal Manyin, the Kuching Yayasan Sarawak International Secondary School will offer the International General Certificate of Secondary Education offered by the Cambridge Assessment International Education Board.
Three of the classes will be for Science, Technology, English and Mathematics stream and one class will be for Arts stream.
Students in this school will also be asked to prepare for the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia examinations as private candidates.
Bahasa Malaysia subject will be offered in these schools to meet the demand of the Malaysian public universities’ requirement if the students of these schools were to opt for local public universities.