By BORNEOTODAY REPORTERS
KUCHING: Solidarity Anak Sarawak is calling on the Sarawak Government to look towards new approaches to plug the gaps in the education system provided by the Federal Government and to address the issues of dilapidated schools and poor facilities provision.
Responding to Michael Manyin’s statement that he would close existing schools and build new ones, the NGO said that this approach is unsustainable in that it is simply a rerun of the current system and does not address any of the issues over the long term.
Therefore, they are asking the Sarawak Government to look into innovations in educational technology and internet provision that will equip Sarawak students for the digital revolution.
Peter John Jaban, a spokesperson for the group, said: ‘Sarawak is being left behind in education. It is being left behind the Peninsula in provision, let alone the rest of the world.
“Education is the key to societal growth. Without progressive education provision, our students will remain poorly equipped for a future world in which technology is playing an increasing role.
“If the system is not updated soon, Sarawak will have an unskilled workforce, unprepared for the future, continuing into the next generation, losing our best and brightest to overseas education systems and consigning those who remain to work as low paid coolies.”
He went on to say: ‘Our students are still travelling miles to reach their schools or else they are being shipped off to boarding schools, losing their link to their traditional communities and indigenous lifestyles.
“When they get to those schools, the buildings are in a dangerous condition, and often poorly staffed and equipped. Even worse, the syllabus needs a complete overhaul. Not only does it not reflect any Sarawak specific content, but also it is frankly outdated.
“The two major world languages in the future of business and commerce, English and Mandarin, are not being emphasized enough. In fact, the most important world languages for the future must surely be in computer code and these are not even being taught to our students.
“How to learn code when our students do not even have access to computers or the internet?’
He added: ‘The Internet is currently one of the world’s largest education providers and there is a wealth of material available.
“The world’s leading education systems, like the Scandinavian countries for example, are increasingly doing away with subject-based learning, using technology to provide project-based learning and putting importance on technical education.
Peter said Sarawak has a relatively small population, though it is geographically very spread out, and as such, smart investment in educational technology and rural internet provision could make a huge impact on the future outlook for Sarawak students.
He pointed out that education has been neglected for decades. Sarawak has just as many bright students as any other country and they deserve a real chance to shine.
“In fact, every student needs to be given the skills required for the future, not for a world that is already obsolete. The digital revolution has provided mobility and flexibility as well as a wealth of new career options. If Sarawak wants to take part in this revolution, it must have a revolution in education,” he added.