More schools declared unsafe



KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah government is racing against time to repair 587 dilapidated schools as more schools have been declared unsafe.

It is seeking urgent allocation from the federal government to repair the ‘breaking-down’ schools. Minister of Education and Innovation Datuk Dr. Yusof Yacob said he has discussed with the Ministry of Finance to solve the issue, estimating that a total RM3 billion is required to repair all dilapidated schools.

For the time being, he said the government has received RM78 million allocation to repair 15 critical schools which are in the process of designing, among others.

“We will not stop here, there will be 75 schools which will follow and we are working very hard to solve this.

“For now, we have identified (critical schools) and works will be done according to priority including the school’s severity, land approval and such,” he said.

He added that the federal government had also approved RM6 million for maintenance and small repairs with another RM12 million for the same purpose to come.

He explained that the increased number of schools classified as unsafe from only 69 early this year was due to monthly auditing from the Public Works Department.

“We hope to solve this in any way possible within the near future; we cannot wait until these schools collapse, we need to find solution.

“We seek understanding from education officers and the people that we are not keeping silent and we are taking action to solve this issue.

“We are very concerned about the education system and infrastructure; we hope we will be able to change our landscape of infrastructure in our State’s education,” he said.

Meanwhile, he noted that illiteracy among students particularly in rural districts still exists even upon entering secondary schools.

He said while the number is low, it is enough to raise concern with various factors contributing to the matter including late registration to schools.

“It shouldn’t happen in today’s modern world though we admit that even in some developing countries, illiteracy still exists among the citizens but we don’t want to look into that; we want to model developed countries like Singapore, Finland and Japan where their citizens are literate,” he added.

Dr Yusof said that students should also be provided with early exposure on how to create jobs instead of searching for one, by becoming entrepreneurs which he described as the new direction in today’s digital era.

He was speaking during the Kota Kinabalu Education Office 2018 Excellent Service Award (APC), Teacher’s Day, Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Kaamatan celebration here on Thursday.

Earlier, Dr. Yusof presented certificates to 373 recipients of KK District Education Office 2018 APC, Special Awards and the 2019 Tokoh Guru award.

Urging teachers to remain creative in their approaches, he highlighted the importance of English proficiency, exposure to entrepreneurship, and morality among students.

He reminded teachers to modify their teaching methods, adding that students need to also be informed of today’s Industrial Revolution needs.

“I went on a visit to SMK Banggi recently and asked the students what they want to be; most of them want to become policemen, firemen and teachers.

“None of them want to become entrepreneurs which show that they are not aware of what is needed in today’s world.

“We want our youth to become job creators, not job seekers,” he reiterated.

He asserted that the government is committed in attaining autonomy in education, and that it has provided full scholarships to students with excellent academic results to study in top international universities.

Also present were Sabah education department’s head of examination and evaluation sector Bad Hamid Musli, and KK district education officer Tah Nia Jaman.

By :
New Sabah Times