KUCHING, Oct 5 — The Sarawak Education, Science and Technological Research Ministry today extended an invitation to a critic of the state’s international private secondary schools for a face-to-face discussion on ways to improve their performance.
Minister Datuk Seri Michael Manyin said Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s Professor Teo Kok Seong can contact his ministry and that it would be happy to furnish him with additional information if he cannot visit Sarawak in person.
“The state government is very concerned about the performance of our students which is behind the national average and happy to discuss with anyone having the required expertise and the correct facts, to help improve our education system,” he said in a statement.
He was responding to Teo’s claim that Sarawak-owned international private secondary schools would go against the Education Act if they did not use the national curriculum.
Teo also claimed that Sanjung Services Sdn Bhd was a statutory body and the schools owned by it were considered government schools.
Manyin explained that Sanjung Services Sdn Bhd is not a statutory body but a private company incorporated under the Companies Act 2016, although it is wholly-owned by Yayasan Sarawak.
He said Yayasan Sarawak is a statutory body established under an ordinance enacted by state legislature.
“Therefore, Sanjung Services Sdn Bhd and Yayasan Sarawak are separate legal entities,” he added.
Manyin also clarified that the Education Act 1996 defines “government educational institutions” as those established and fully maintained by the government.
He said the state government, according to the Education Act, refers to the federal government as represented by the latter’s education minister.
“As such, the establishment of international schools by Sanjung Services Sdn Bhd does not qualify the schools as government schools.
“The establishment and registration of international schools by Sanjung Services Sdn Bhd is in accordance with the provision of Section 73 and Section 79 of the Education Act 1996
(Act 550) and the Education Rules (Registration of Educational Institutions) 1997 [P.U(A) 534/97].
“Section 15 of the Education Act 1996 states that international schools are exempted from the national education system and as such are not required to implement the national curriculum,” Manyin said.