KUCHING: Schools in Sarawak will mostly open next Monday without teacher shortages caused by the floods in Peninsular Malaysia, says Welfare, Women and Family Development Minister Datuk Fatimah Abdullah.
The minister, who keeps a watching brief over education matters for the state government, said teachers from flood-hit states like Kelantan, Perak and Pahang posted to Sarawak had by and large arrived here.
“We have checked and it seems most of the teachers are here. My thanks to them for showing such professionalism even in their difficult moments,” Fatimah told a press conference here.
There are over 40,000 teachers in Sarawak, of which about 9,500 are from other states. Those from Kelantan, worst affected by the devastating floods, comprise the majority of foreign teachers in Sarawak at more than 2,000.
“Recently, when I was in a rural school near a longhouse in Mukah, I asked the headmaster about this, and he said the school’s teacher from Kelantan had arrived here on Dec 29. The state education director tells me more or less the same too,” Fatimah assured.
On a related matter, the minister explained the national delay in opening the new school session.
“A lot of people asked, no floods in Sarawak, so why must we delay the start date like in the peninsula? It’s precisely because we have teachers serving here from the flood-hit states that we also need to delay our start date,” Fatimah said.
To a question, the teacher-turned-politician said the percentage of non-Sarawakian teachers serving in the state was reducing year by year.
“More and more Sarawakians are teaching in our schools. The percentage is down to 20% (from outside Sarawak) now. We need to look at things in the larger perspective because some of our teachers do want the opportunity to work in the peninsula.”
She was speaking to reporters after handing over mock cheques to school principals to begin the distribution of RM100 student aid.
The RM100 school aid is for all primary and secondary students, totaling about 5.4 million pupils. The assistance, which started three years ago, is aimed at reducing the financial burden of parents.