Jakarta school gets green light


By AVA LAI

All systems go: Fatimah and officials from Sabah Education Ministry, Health Department, Fire and Safety Department, Labour Department and Immigration pose for a group photo after their discussion on CLC in Sarawak.

KUCHING: The Indonesian government will need to comply with a set of guidelines in order to register the Community Learning Centre (CLC) in Sarawak to help the children of Indonesian foreign workers to obtain education.

During the 11th Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC) between Malaysia and Indonesia in 2011 at Lombok, the Indonesia prime minister proposed to build schools and CLCs for children of Indonesian workers in Malaysia.

The proposal was accepted in 2013 and the Sekolah Indonesia in Kota Kinabalu was formed as a result.

A recent visit by the Indonesian President to Kuala Lumpur to discuss the possibilities of building a CLC – an Indonesian operated learning centre which will be set up in farm lands due to the high number of foreign workers working there – in Sarawak has been approved.

According to the state Immigration Department, a record 115,390 Indonesian workers are currently working in Sarawak with 52,240 working in farms.

With about 3,550 registered children of Indonesian foreign workers in Sarawak, the need for a CLC is vital to equip their children with knowledge.

Although approval for building a CLC lies with the Malaysian Education Ministry, the Sarawak Education Ministry will prepare the paper work for the CLC.

The guidelines will help the Indonesian consulate to apply for a CLC in the state by complying to the rules and regulations stated, such as number of staff, teachers, students, curriculum, premise, assessment, facilities and so on.

“We are looking into how best to go about because it has various implications. So we have to do it the right way,” said State Minister for Welfare, Women and Family Development Datuk Fatimah Abdullah after a meeting with Sabah Education Department.

“After listening to the views from the ministry and from our counterparts in Sabah, we decided that we should come up with our own requirements and guidelines for the registration,” said Fatimah.

She said she hoped to have an interagency lab to meticulously discuss the requirements and guidelines, which would incorporate input from the Labour Department, Immigration, Health Department and Fire and Safety department.

“We are quite aware of the implications of this, we have to balance between compliance and right to have education. At the same time, we are also aware of the regulations for intake of foreign labour. So, we need to consolidate all these,” she said.

She hoped that after the approval of the CLC, the procedures that needed to be complied were all in place to ensure good management and effective monitoring.

Suggestions to set up a taskforce for registration and monitoring the situation will be brought up during the lab. Due to accessibility problem to the location of the farms, monitoring the learning centre would not be easy.

Fatimah said she wanted to make sure the formation and registration of the CLC would take into consideration the Sarawak context. She expressed her appreciation for the input from the Sabah Education Ministry and the principal of Sabah’s Sekolah Indonesia.

Syllabus in the CLC will be taught in Bahasa Indonesia and it will only be available for children of certain age due to the limited education level. Further studies would have to be continued in their home country. Also, children of legal foreign workers can only be registered in the CLC.

Currently, some CLCs are already operating but pending registration. They can only register after getting approval from the Federal Government. The Indonesian government hopes to build about 17 CLCs in the state following the approval.

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