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Support of Chinese, Mission and Other Schools Still Insufficient – Dr. Jeffrey

Kota Kinabalu:“The Sabah government is missing the primary objective of education with a “less than half-full glass” view in its support of Chinese, mission and other vernacular and non-national type schools in Sabah.  It should not have a misplaced notion that it is doing enough to assist these schools with yearly grants and ad-hoc contributions” said Datuk Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan, STAR Sabah Chief, opining on the Chief Minister’s statement stressing that the State Government is very attentive to the needs of students to have better basic educational infrastructure and services.
Giving credit where it is due, it must be said that the Sabah government is very much better than most of the States in the Peninsula in support vernacular and mission schools.   It still has not reached Kelantan’s level where the State government even alienates State land to Chinese schools who then use the land to generate income to help fund the schools.

However,the Sabah government should be sincere and not turn it into a political gimmick when its actions and deeds do not match their boastful words.  Regrettably, the Sabah government’s support of Chinese, mission and vernacular schools fall far short of the minimum.   The lack of financial support is evident as the teachers’ pay in Chinese schools are often lower than fully funded-government schools.

The Minister with Special Functions also added “This is a commitment by the State Government to support education in Sabah so that our children can have better education and a more conducive learning environment.  The Minister was representing the Chief Minister at the ground breaking ceremony of Sabah Tshung Tsin Secondary School student hostel recently.

Unfortunately, the actions of the Sabah government did not match the fine words of the CM and his Minister with Special Functions in their speeches.   From very reliable sources, the Tshung Tsin Hostel will cost RM6 million to build but the contribution from the Sabah government is only RM250,000.00 which is not even 5% of the construction costs. 

Hopefully, the government will top up its contribution to not less than RM5 million as construction progresses.   It will be better if the federal and Sabah governments cough up the full RM6 million.    This will allow the Tshung Tsin school to concentrate on educating the students, which they have done very well so far as commended by the CM.

The Sabah government’s contribution is worse than the RM200,000 contribution in the KK High School IT Building construction.   The contribution amounted to 6.9% of the total construction costs of RM2,897,028.  The federal government fared no better with a similar RM200,000 contribution with public donations making up the balance 86.2%.

Education is the heart and soul and the future of Sabah.  Chinese schools and the Chinese and business communities should not accept token hand-outs if they are serious in providing better education and raising education standards in Sabah.   The mission and other vernacular schools should adopt a similar stand.

Chinese, mission and vernacular schools should not be burdened with fund raising efforts but concentrate on providing the best education to our young in Sabah.  

Our best in education must mean competing with the world’s best whether they are developed nations like USA, UK and Japan or developing nations like Korea and Singapore and not third world countries.   If the recent international PISA results are any indication, education standards in Malaysia are worse than many third world nations.

If the federal government wish to develop third-rate students, let them be in the Peninsula.  If the federal government wish to marginalize Chinese and mission schools, let them be in the Peninsula. 

“We in Sabah, we must strive for the best for our young Sabahans, who are our future and who will chart our future” stressed Dr. Jeffrey.   The Sabah government must match their words with action and deeds and not use education as a political tool for election purposes.

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