More efforts needed to improve general education in Sarawak

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Media Statement By YB Chong Chieng Jen:

State-owned International School in Sarawak

I am glad to note that finally the State Government has finally embarked on the project of State-owned International School in Sarawak.

This idea of State-owned International schools was first mooted and proposed by DAP Sarawak back in 2015.

On 8.12.2015, I have moved a motion in this House for the State Government to allocate 10% of the State Government expenditure budget be allocated for the development of the State private education system with English as the medium of instruction and to set up and operate private schools with English as the medium of instruction and provide free education for the students studying in these schools.

That was the first time anyone ever suggested that the State Government runs private school, use English as the medium of instruction and provide free education to Sarawakian students.

At that time, Mr. Speaker, as usual, find all excuses to reject my motion. One of the reasons was that the matter is a federal matter under Federal List.

Notwithstanding your finding that it is a matter under Federal List, the State Government has now undertaken the matter.

While I am glad to note that 6 years after we first suggested this idea of “State-owned Private School”, the State Government finally embarked on the implementation of the idea, I regret that the State Government is only putting a very minimal effort into such endeavour.

According to the Premier in his Budget speech, the first Stated-owned International School in Sarawak has entered its 2nd year of operation with 178 students. The second international school will only be in operation in 2025. For next year, only a budget of RM16 million was allocated for this purpose.

Such token effort and amount will not make any impact to improve the general education standard of the state but more for window dressing purpose only.

I therefore call upon the Government to multiply its effort and allocation and set a target of at least 10 State-owned international schools to be up and in operation within the next 3 years.