SIBU: The state should retain the autonomy to manage its own education system as it is one of the terms and conditions for Sarawak when it helped to form Malaysia.
Sacred Heart Old Students Association (SHOSA) president Robert Lau Hui Yew said at the annual combined former students reunion dinner with St Elizabeth Old Students Association (SEOSA) on Saturday night that the autonomy was given to the state to have its own education system in the formation of Malaysia.
However, such autonomy was handed over to the Federal Government in 1970s by the then chief minister, Tun Abdul Rahman Ya’kub.
Lau said he wanted English be maintained as the official language of the state like what it had been practicing before the 1970s period.
He gave an example of how Singapore could prosper as it had made English as its official language.
To this he proposed that members of both associations pass a motion to support Sarawak taking back the responsibility to govern its own education system.
He also reiterated what he had said in last year’s reunion dinner when he asked schools to revert to use English as a medium of education.
“If our schools can revert to use English as a medium of education, it will once again be a platform where children from all races and ethnic communities can be educated and grow up under one roof again. I recall how my class has the mix of all races and ethnic makeup so much so we were never aware of racial polarisation,” he said.
He said schools and parents should be given freedom to have a say and choose the type of schools without having to finance it privately.
“The government is not the best body to dictate what, where and how children should learn. Instead it should be the facilitators and coordinators of education with the express aim of producing the best students in the globalised world. Only then can we achieve the status of a high-income society. We owe it to our children to give them this opportunity,” he said.
Separately, he assured the new school principal, David Teo, that they would give their strongest support to him in the administration of the school.
SEOSA president Teresa Lau also voiced to support SMK St Elizabeth financially through fund-raising projects. The school has been top for the SPM examination in the town for two consecutive years including overall champion three years in a row in inter-school sports meet.