Sarawak Teachers Union (STU) is firm in its stand that Sarawak should have a full-time minister to take charge of education in the state.
STU president Jisin Nyud disclosed this when asked if they would be requesting the state government to create a post of Education Minister in the new cabinet line-up to take charge of education matters.
Last October, STU urged the state government to create a full ministerial post for education for the state.
“STU is adamant that there must be a minister in charge of education in Sarawak. Since Independence our education system has not changed in terms of infrastructure and facilities as compared to our West Malaysian counterparts.
“Our state Education Department has been trying its best to improve everything, be it academic performance, infrastructure, facilities and so forth, but still we need more support especially from the state government,” Jisin told The Borneo Post when contacted.
He noted that presently the state only has a caretaker minister of education who has other duties and portfolios to perform.
“If we want to talk about the devolution of power and autonomy, if not all, Sarawak should have its own education minister. Not that we want the state to take over the job from our federal education minister but we want the state government and state education department to work together on the needs and necessities of the schools in Sarawak,” he emphasised.
Arguing further on the need for such a minister in the state, he pointed out this year all the schools had to manage their funds and allocations appropriately.
He said this meant that the schools would have to cut down on extracurricular activities.
Because allocations from the Education Ministry were insufficient, many schools had to depend on their parents-teachers associations or NGOs to fund their activities, with some seeking financial assistance from ministers and elected representatives, he elaborated.
All these shortcomings, he reasoned, were because of the huge size of the state and most schools were in rural and interior areas.
“This is why STU needs greater involvement from the state government and our education minister to handle education matters, I believe he or she can do more for the schools in Sarawak,” Jisin pointed out.