Sarawak’s Education Minister Calls the Proposal to Construct Ten State-owned International Schools in Three years Unrealistic

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It is not feasible for Sarawak to construct ten state-owned international schools in the next three years, as stated by Dato Sri Roland Sagah Wee Inn, Minister of Education, Innovation, and Talent Development.

Sagah dismissed Chong Chieng Jen, the head of the Democratic Action Party (DAP) Sarawak, saying that the state government is already setting up five state-owned foreign schools in Kuching, Sibu, Bintulu, and Miri in response to present needs. He clarified that five of these schools were considered ideal at the time the ministry was founded in 2017, and the locations were selected to guarantee that instructors and students had access to the necessary neighboring services, including clinics, supermarkets, hospitals, and other amenities.

In addition to being difficult, “building five school facilities” also involves thinking about the correct curriculum, hiring the right teachers, providing them with the necessary training, and getting the right kids enrolled in the schools.These factors are the reason why only five institutions were suggested. Building ten schools in three years is simply not feasible. In a statement released today, he stated, “I’m sure the Sarawak government would consider building more should there be a demand for more state-owned international schools in the future.”

A video of Chong’s address from the most recent State Legislative Assembly (DUN) session, in which he recommended that the state government aim to establish at least 10 state-owned foreign schools within the next three years, was made available online.

Sagah also rejected Chong’s assertion that the Sarawak government’s approval of his idea eight years prior led to the establishment of these state-owned foreign schools.

He clarified that researching the potential for building Sarawak’s own international schools was one of the ministry’s initial responsibilities upon its establishment in 2017.

Anyone with experience in the education industry is aware of how difficult and time-consuming it is to open a school. A thorough examination of the socioeconomic ramifications is necessary.

“To ensure that the proposed international schools can be implemented effectively and efficiently, the ministry had to engage and discuss with all stakeholders, NGOs, various educators, and the State Education Department,” Sagah added.

He also mentioned the announcement made by Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg at the most recent DUN sitting, that RM16 million has been set aside for the running of the current international school in Petra Jaya the next year.

This sum is subject to change at any time. Furthermore, all of the funding for the schools’ development has been set aside. For the record, each of the first three schools (Petra Jaya, Kuching, and Sibu) has a development budget of RM60 million. Thus, RM180 million is the sum for these three schools.

“As they haven’t been tendered yet, the development budget for the remaining campuses in Bintulu and Miri hasn’t been determined yet,” he stated.

According to the Premier, Sagah further added that the ministry will keep a careful eye on how the state-owned schools are developing to make sure they are giving our kids the greatest education possible to grow into the next generation of thinkers, movers, and shakers in Sarawak.

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