KUCHING: About 70% of the 1,454 schools in Sarawak have been categorised as dilapidated and in need of immediate attention from the authorities.
Of the 1,020 schools concerned, 415 are categorised as being in critically dilapidated condition, said state Education, Science and Technological Research Minister Datuk Seri Michael Manyin Jawong.
He added that 960 of the schools, among them 62 secondary schools, were located in rural areas while 60, including 13 secondary schools, were in urban areas.
In total, the state has 190 secondary schools and 1,264 primary schools.
If we are to wait for the normal allocation through conventional channels, we will probably be unable to address the issue for the next 50 years, Manyin said at the state legislative assembly sitting yesterday.
This is why the Chief Minister established this new ministry, so that the sitting (state) Education Minister can go to Putrajaya and discuss the issue with the relevant agencies there.
Manyin said the conditions and inadequate facilities at these schools would affect students adversely, depriving them of a conducive environment and quality education.
This had led to poor performance in most of the affected schools, he added.
The minister also proposed building centralised schools in rural areas to overcome the problem of low enrolment in outlying schools because of scattered settlements.
In such situations, students were also deprived of access to key facilities and specialised teachers, he said.
Asked about the budget needed to refurbish or rebuild the dilapidated schools, Manyin said a comprehensive study of each case was needed.
On another matter, he said the state Education Department was seeking religious teachers from other states as a temporary measure to fill some 400 positions until Sarawak could train enough to meet requirements.
He said at the moment, 83.5% of all teachers serving in the state were Sarawakians and he was confident that the figure would hit 90% by next year.
The Education Department, he said, had also drawn up plans to help schools without electricity and water supply.
The Star Online