English should be used for all subjects at kindergarten & primary schools, says group


The Star photo.

By John Isaac

A CIVIL society body is requesting for the state government to implement the English language as the medium of instruction either under the International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO) or Cambridge programmes, for all subjects at kindergarten and primary school levels.

The Sarawak Initiatives (TSI) in a statement carried by Borneo Post said many international schools in the state are using Cambridge programmes at these two levels, due to the importance of training and educating young learning minds during these formative years.

“Sarawakians definitely do not want their young children to be deprived of quality education during their formative years.

“The objective of choosing English as the medium of instruction is not only to allow children to master the English language but also in keeping up to date with the constant education development around the world,” it said.

It also suggested for the state government to build more international schools to cater for the rural and urban population, with the intention of eventually converting all government schools in Sarawak to the English medium of instruction.

There is no need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to education syllabuses as these have been well developed by countries which have carried out advanced research on education, it added.

“The results of a good and advanced education system can be seen from the progress made by these countries in their economic frontiers and breakthrough in their technological capabilities and stretching and expansion of the limits of their minds.

“There is no time to waste on delivering a high standard of education to all Sarawakians as we are already very far behind in world progress,” said TSI.

Meanwhile, TSI said the recent statement by academician Prof Datuk Dr Teo Kok Seong on the alleged illegality of the move by the Sarawak government to build and run international schools was “clearly baseless”.

“Under Article 17(a) in the Inter-Governmental Committee Report 1962, the jurisdiction on ‘Education’ effectively lies within the power of the Sarawak government, and Article 17(a)(i) clearly states that ‘the present policy in the Borneo States regarding the use of English should continue’.

“The response by the Honourable Minister of Education, Science and Technological Research Datuk Sri Michael Manyin is more than enough to refute Prof Dr Teo’s fallacy and there is no need to add further other than the fact that Prof Dr Teo has demonstrated a tendency in creating controversy in many aspects on education in the past.

“His recent comment on Sarawak international schools touching on law and legality and the Education Act without further enquiry and research shows his inadequacy on the subject matter,” TSI said, adding it fully supports the vision and intention of the Sarawak government in trying to bring a high standard of education to the reach of every Sarawakian.