Schools without walls in Sabah


SK Penimbawan in Tuaran conducts classes in a makeshift structure.

KOTA KINABALU: Very often we read taglines of how technology could make a borderless classroom. In Tuaran and Kiulu near here, there are schools without walls.

Students in at least three primary schools with more than 450 pupils near here, are at the mercy of the elements with classes being conducted in makeshift classrooms.

The three schools are among 10 with a total enrolment of more than 2,000 students. These schools with semi-permanent classroom blocks were destroyed by either fires or landslips in Sabah since a year ago.

Classrooms at the SK Penimbawan in Tuaran are wall-less structures resembling garages with concrete floors. SK Penimbawan was destroyed by a fire in May.

The school was without electricity and several months later when power was supplied to the building, a short circuit cause the fire.

For SK Tampasak in Papar district, its make-shift classrooms comprise canopy tents with the bare ground as a floor. Pupils of the SK Pekan primary school in Kiulu are also facing the same situation.

The plight of pupils in SK Peninbawan was highlighted in a viral tweet with the hashtag #SchoolWithNoWall yesterday.

In a tweet directed at Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa yesterday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said: “Please investigate and take action to help if this is true. This should not have happened.”

Parent of SK Tampasak pupil Martin Jinatin, said he could not understand why it took so long for the Education Department to begin reconstruction of the school block.

“This is a very uncomfortable situation for the children. They are exposed to very hot conditions and get sprayed when it rains,” he added.

A Sabah Education department senior official said the Education Ministry was aware of the situation at all the affected schools, adding that the makeshift classrooms were temporary measures.

The official explained that while the funds may be available for the reconstruction of the school blocks, the department had to wait for the ministry’s technical officials such as engineers to carry out their work.

State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun who oversees the education portfolio, said the ministry should speed up the reconstruction of the classrooms.

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