No students in Sabah left behind

Senior Education Minister Dr Radzi Jidin (top row, centre) with members of the teaching community at a ceremony held at SMK Kudat II.Senior Education Minister Dr Radzi Jidin (top row, centre) with members of the teaching community at a ceremony held at SMK Kudat II.

LIVING two hours away from the mainland and with limited seats for Form 6 in the state, Mafuzah Ummar Hassan was quite sure she would only study up to Form 5.

With three of her older siblings studying in Peninsular Malaysia, she knew that her parents were already financially stretched, working hard to support her and her siblings.

The 19-year-old lives on Banggi Island, located about two hours by ferry ride to the mainland.

“My family could not afford to send me to study outside of this island, therefore I never thought that I would get to study beyond Form 5.

“But when Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Banggi started offering Form 6 classes this year, I knew I needed to grab the chance to study there,” she said, adding that she aspired to become a teacher or an ustazah.

Mahfuzah, who scored 6As in her Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examination in 2018, said this meant she could return to school life and at the same time, help her family run their restaurant business.

She is one of nine youngsters in Kudat who received offer letters under the “Program Menggapai Impian” from Senior Education Minister Dr Radzi Jidin during his meeting with teaching professionals at SMK Kudat II here.

Mafuzah Ummar Hassan with her offer letter to further her studies in Form 6 at SMK Banggi.Mafuzah Ummar Hassan with her offer letter to further her studies in Form 6 at SMK Banggi.

Radzi said that the programme was part of his work visits to Sabah for the past three weeks to ensure that no students would be left behind under his watch since his appointment in March.

“This Program Menggapai Impian is meant for students who wish to further their studies in Form 6 but did not get the chance due to limited seats.

“After making some adjustments, there were still slots and those who were interested to be part of the programme were called up,” he said.

Radzi, who arrived in Kota Kinabalu last Friday, also visited Ranau and Kota Marudu to get input from teachers and the community with the hope to better improve the education system.

Throughout his working visits in Sabah, Radzi said his ministry wanted the education ecosystem to be at the highest level.

“When I came to Sabah, (I learned that) those children are high-spirited… some have to walk for hours to go to school.

“They were once staying at school hostels, but due to movement control order, the number of those allowed to stay has been reduced.

“The rest have to live at their own homes but they still walk to school. I was informed that the walking journey can take about two hours” he said.

Radzi said such an issue should be solved immediately to prevent students from dropping out of school.

He said the ministry has constantly discussed issues such as improving infrastructure, Internet connectivity and teaching and learning processes among others.

Radzi revealed that there were also many requests to build more schools in Sabah.

However, some existing schools have high capacity but the number of students is low.

“In this situation,when the given capacity is not being filled up, there are spaces to be made use of.

“The same goes for the computer and science laboratories at schools, which do not have enough computers nor science equipment inside the facilities,” he said, adding those issues should be solved in a shorter time.

As for shared school issues, where there is more than one school operating under the same building, it would take a longer time to solve.

There are three categories of “building-sharing” schools- primary school at a secondary school, vice versa, or two primary schools in the same building.

“Such issues can be easily solved as it is not that complex and those schools can be combined into one.

“The difference would only be in the school badge and administration,” he said, adding the only concern is when those schools have a large number of students.

Among 23 shared schools in Sabah, Radzi cited SMK Langkon and Sekolah Kebangsaan (SK) Langkon in Kota Marudu as schools that required urgent attention.

Dr Radzi Jidin (left) joined the local community in a friendly football match at the Kudat Sports Complex. PIX BY MALAI ROSMAH TUAHDr Radzi Jidin (left) joined the local community in a friendly football match at the Kudat Sports Complex. PIX BY MALAI ROSMAH TUAH

During his visit to SK Langkon, Radzi found the school premises to be in dire condition,

The school has had to conduct makeshift classes below the stilted primary school to accommodate students.

“Those kids might have hit their heads many times (for being in the makeshift classes) especially among those who are tall,” Radzi said.

SMK Langkon building was completed a long time ago but due to technical issues, students could not use the building. He said the ministry has retendered to rebuild the secondary school since July and was hopeful for faster completion.

“There are many schools that require attention, but we will look into coordinating those allocations based on priority for shared schools with high capacity,” he said, adding it is paramount to ensure the school environment is safe and conducive for students.

Meanwhile, Radzi also announced a RM800,000 fund for the maintenance of the SMK Kudat II building.

He also presented vocational certificate excellence awards and offer letters for students under “Jom Tinggal di Asrama” and “Langkah Kembali ke Sekolah” programmes.

Radzi later spent an afternoon with the local community and participated in a friendly football match at the Kudat Sports Complex.

By Olivia Miwilkudat.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2020/09/624870/no-students-sabah-left-behind

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