Over 500 primary schools in Sarawak have less than 100 kids

Sarawak Education, Science and Technological Research Minister Datuk Seri Michael Manyin Jawong. (FMT Pic)

By Jack Lapidus

ALMOST half of the 1,265 primary schools in Sarawak are under-enrolled with some having only 10 pupils or less.

Sarawak Education, Science and Technological Research Minister Datuk Seri Michael Manyin Jawong said many of these under-enrolled schools are located in rural areas, Borneo Post reported.

Eight schools have been identified to have a student population of 10 or less, 43 primary schools with 11 to 20 pupils, 54 primary schools with 21 to 30 pupils, 196 primary schools with 31 to 50 pupils and 296 primary schools with 51 to 100.

“Small schools do not get equal attention and teachers are teaching non-option subjects.

“And in some small schools, they do not even have enough money to buy teaching tool because the small schools get small budget, and big schools get bigger budget,” he said.

In an effort to ensure that pupils at these schools receive equal treatment as their peers in urban areas, Manyin said Sarawak will continue to pursue the construction of centralised primary schools in the state under the new federal government.

He said centralised primary schools, which take in pupils from under-enrolled schools, will have better facilities and an environment conducive for pupils to be more competitive and ready for challenges as they enter secondary school.

“Some parents in rural areas question why their children cannot enter public institutions of higher learning like teachers institutes (IPGs).

“The entry requirement to enter IPG nowadays is not like before, you need at least 5As in SPM (Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia) but not many students in rural areas are found to score many As in SPM.

“And the cause for this is the under-enrolled schools whereby the pupils may pass their subjects in primary school but they lack quality (when entering secondary school),” he added.

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