School co-operative initiative welcomed

Posted on June 30, 2012, Saturday

by Peter Boon, reporters@theborneopost.com.

Abu Seman Jahwie

Felician Teo

William Ghani Bina

SIBU: Co-operatives, if managed well, will yield synergetic effects for members while honing their management and entrepreneur skills, exposing them to mechanics of business start-ups.

Jemoreng assemblyman Abu Seman Jahwie felt that such an initiative should go beyond the school gate.

Sarawak Teachers’ Union (STU) president William Ghani Bina while lauding the initiative, clarified that it was not a directive but merely an encouragement for secondary schools to set up cooperatives.

“It should be introduced to every level of society thus creating more entrepreneurs, and leading to the creation of more job opportunities to help boost the economy.

“The merits are many as members can purchase goods at competitive prices. Co-operatives benefit all strata of society,” Abu Seman told The Borneo Post.

He, however, warned against mismanagement that could bring about negative effects.

He was asked his view on the announcement that all secondary schools, including mission schools will need to form their own cooperative come 2015.

Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism Deputy Minister Datuk Rohani Abdul Karim revealed in Kuching on Thursday that based on Malaysian Cooperative Commission (SKM) of the 187 secondary schools in Sarawak, eight were still without a cooperative.

She was quoted as saying that they were going to give the eight a push and expect all secondary schools in the state to have cooperatives.

Abu Seman, who is a political secretary to the Chief Minister, lauded such a move, saying that students would be exposed to the mechanics of entrepreneurial skills early.

“This is certainly a good idea and students stand to benefit from such initiative in terms of management and business acumen.”

Educationalist Felician Teo noted most importantly, exposure to cooperative running will help young people make the school- to-work transition much easier and become more industry relevant in the workplace.

From his candid observation, he said: “It offers a platform for school students to hone their management and entrepreneurial skills in business. Besides, it is a training ground for these students to have hands-on experience to become successful entrepreneurs later in life.”

Students will get early exposure to the mechanics of setting-up a business, understanding financial statements, governance, financial management as well as the rights and responsibilities of co-op board members, he said.

He added: “Various programmes and projects implemented by school co-ops in collaboration with Angkasa (National Co-operative of Malaysia) and the Co-operative Commission of Malaysia will enable the students to become more creative and innovative thinkers while acquiring knowledge on the finer points of doing business.”

Ghani explained: “I have sought clarification from the Education Department that it was not a directive but merely an encouragement for secondary schools to form their own cooperative.”

He assured that the idea had strong backing from STU as it inculcated an entrepreneurial mindset among students.

“Academic qualification alone may not be able to secure jobs in the competitive job market. Therefore, with sharpened management and entrepreneurial skills, students could venture into business in future,” Ghani said.

Read more: http://www.theborneopost.com/2012/06/30/school-co-operative-initiative-welcomed/#ixzz1zQhWSYmP