KUCHING, April 6 — Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Openg said the state government has to intervene on the teaching of English language in schools because of some weaknesses of the federal ministry’s education policy.
He said the state government wants students to be well-rounded and proficient not only in Bahasa Malaysia but also in English.
“As far as Sarawak is concerned, we follow the national education policy, but we give more emphasis to the teaching of English because the language is our official language and it is our culture to speak and write in English,” he told reporters after launching the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Lab at Sekolah Rendah Rakyat at Jalan Haji Bolhassan here.
State education director Rokayah Madon, who was present at the press conference, confirmed that more hours are being given to the teaching of English and teaching of Science subjects in English in Sarawak in addition to what has already been allotted by the education ministry.
Abang Johari said the performance and public service delivery transformation cabinet committee, which he chaired when he was the deputy chief minister, had last year formulated a policy on the setting up of STEM Labs in Sarawak.
He said STEM Labs will give space to the students to learn science, technology, engineering and mathematics in English.
“These four areas are important and must be given emphasis so to produce the right kind of human capital for us to face a new era where technology is very important,” he said.
Abang Johari said the state government, through the Sarawak Foundation, is investing in the Sarawak campuses of Swinburne University of Technology and Curtin University and has set up its own technical colleges to produce the right kind of human capital as it pushes toward digital economy.
On STEM Labs, which is placed under the Chief Minister’s Office, Abang Johari said six schools — three secondary and three primary schools have been selected as pilot projects.