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Sunday, January 30, 2005
Land of Extremes?


We used to have the tallest buildings in the world, a most sophisticated airport of the future, one of the greatest PM in the world and a highway/expressway which has its toll going up 10% automatically every 3 years. We also had a fungus-infested new hospital which was out of use within a short span of three months, a flyover which had 'cracking' pillars, schools without access roads and now we have a school with only one teacher to 70 pupils.
This is our land of extremes. This school we are told is SK Labang which is in the interior of Sabah. It is not that our Education MINIstry has been sitting on its backside and not posting teachers to schools in remote areas. But these teachers are just not turning up at such schools. SK Labang is in the constituency of Pensiangan and is just three hours by rough road from Pensiangan, the nearest big metropolis. So why aren't the teachers turning up? The Pensiangan MP, Bernard Maraat, said that many of the absentee teachers might have declined their postings because many of the remote schools in his constituency did not have housing for teachers and lacked water and electricity. A teacher's accommodation in Labang consisted of a rough house built by villagers and drinking water came from the river. Lacking electrical supply, condition in Labang is like having perpetual Tenaga outage the whole year long. Can anyone imagine that, no such comforts as air-cond, TV, fans, cool drinks from a fridge after a hard day's work........
The nation now has the luxury of two Education MINIsters, surely they must have done their home work and knew about schools like SK Labang. They say two heads are better than one, so can we expect solutions soon to problems faced by schools like SK Labang. Maybe we should be putting 'smart schools' on hold or even the new aim of 'smartening' our present regular schools and just ensure that schools in a similar state as SK Labang are able to function in a manner expected of them. Surely, there are capable MINIsters out there who are able to think out of the box and settle this matter in no time, that is if they put their minds to it.




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