KUCHING, May 19 ― Sarawak is in urgent need of funds to repair 70 per cent of its 1,454 schools which are dilapidated, state Education and Technological Research Minister Datuk Seri Michael Manyin Jawaong said today.
He added that of the 1,020 total found dilapidated, 415 were critically in need of repair, with most of them located in rural areas.
“If you ask me what is my top priority, I say it is to repair and upgrade those dilapidated schools,” he said while winding up debate in the state assembly here.
He later told reporters that massive funds were needed to either repair or replace the dilapidated school buildings, though the full cost has yet to be calculated.
“We have sat briefly with the State Education Department officials and we have not been able to calculate the total allocation yet that we need to repair dilapidated schools and build new ones,” he said.
He said he will meet with the federal Education Ministry to seek more allocation to repair the crumbling schools and build new ones.
“If we were to look at the normal method of seeking for funds from the federal government, it may take 50 years to address the issue,” he said, pointing out that many rural students are greatly affected the total lack of facilities.
He said his ministry will propose to the federal Education Ministry to consider centralising rural schools with low enrolment, many of which are as low 10 students.
“Many parents think that low enrolment is good as it allows the teachers to concentrate more on the students, but this perception is wrong because schools with low number of students will not be provided with better facilities and service,” he said.
Manyin said that students will enjoy better facilities by creating centralised rural schools.