Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Follow Sarawak's UCTS Initiative–Dr. Jeffrey

Kota Kinabalu:     “The Sabah Government need to sit up and take pro-active action to set up its own Sabah State University following Sarawak Government’s initiative in setting up the University College of Technology Sarawak (UCTS)”said Datuk Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan, STAR Sabah Chief, commenting on Sarawak’s additional RM64 million infrastructure allocation to set up an IT library, indoor stadium and science and technology park in UCTS campus in Sibu.

The Sarawak government needs to be commended for taking the bull by its horns and stepping up by establishing its own tertiary institution and not waiting for the federal government to return the education portfolio to State control.

The UCTS comes after Sarawak’s own technical institutes to better prepare young Sarawakians with better vocational and technical skills.  It’s the implementation of the philosophy of teaching one how to fish rather than giving a fish.   

There is no higher price and no greater sacrifice that ensuring that young Malaysians receive the best education possible. Education equips them with a lifelong knowledge.

But, what is more important is that the Sarawak government is taking charge of educational institutions free from interference by the federal government and Malay and Malayan-centric policies.

At the same time, the Sarawak government can ensure that Sarawakians especially their natives are not deprived of educational scholarships and opportunities that are denied them by the federal            “1-melayu” policies that should have no place in the Borneo States where local natives should be given priority.

Despite wanton lies by Ministers and the federal government that the Malaysian education system is one of the best in the world, the failures of the system are evident everywhere.   Malaysian students are faring worse than many third world countries judging from recent PISA resultswhere Malaysia was ranked No. 52 out of the 65 countries polled.

As highlighted by the recently released World Bank Report on education in Malaysia, the over-emphasis and centralized control of education had resulted in a decline in education standards caused by bottlenecks and bureaucracy.   

To arrest the falling standards and the decadence of education in Sabah and Sarawak, the Sabah and Sarawak governments need to take back education under their wings before it is too late.  There is also a need to localize due to differences and unsuitability of curriculum due to local circumstances.   For instance, bajau, kadazandusun and many local mother tongues are spoken in Sabah but not in the Peninsula.

Judging from the Sarawak government’s initiatives, the Sabah government and their leaders have much to learn from their counterparts in Sarawak.   Perhaps, the Sabah government leaders should attend refresher courses in Sarawak to better administer Sabah.

The education of the young Sabahans are too important and the Sabah government should not allow education should not be used as a political tool by the federal government nor manipulated or used to deprive deserving Sabahans from proper educational opportunities.

The Sabah government need to adopt a holistic approach to safeguard the young in Sabah do not fall victims to a declining education system in Malaysia.    For a start, the Sabah government can takeover some of the existing polytechnics and universities as well as to upgrade the Timbang Menggaris Agriculture Institute to be the Sabah Agro-forestry University and produce skilled agro-entrepreneurs and skilled graduates.

Datuk Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan
Borneo Heritage Foundation (BHF)
03 June 2014


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