Rural schools in Sarawak: The authority hears, sees and says nothing?

We have to agree with Tan Sri Adenan Satem, the Chief Minister of Sarawak, when he said that he is tired of asking the federal government for the money to be used in building and maintaining rural schools in the state.

When someone is tired of asking someone else for something that means he has asked that person umpteen times and that he is now of the opinion that he is not going to get what he has asked for, and that the person is not going to grant him his request.

Anything that is done beyond a simple request borders on begging. To beg is to ask for mercy. The society frowns upon those who beg for living.

When Tan Sri Adenan Satem said that he is tired of asking, he might be implying that he (and this includes the people of Sarawak for that matter) is tired of begging for development projects from the federal authority.

Beggars normally don’t look at the eyes of the donors.  It is too embarrassing to do so. There is no decency in begging. Maybe Tan Sri Adenan Satem has already felt that he is already too embarrassed to ask any further. He can’t put Sarawak too low any more.

For many pupils in rural Sarawak, the schools are not only the place where they study and learn, but they are also the place where they live, eat, and sleep. The schools are where they play, grow, do things, and develop as human beings.

Their loyalty to the country and the pride about the nation are nurtured there. Their early childhood experiences while in the schools will determine how they see things in the future, how they see the society, the government, and the country’s leadership. For the pupils in a school in Spaoh in Betong Division that was washed away into Saribas River, their trust in the governmental system might have been washed away too.

Is it possible to convey the message when one knows it is going to fall on blocked ears? How times many does one need to ask before someone realises something needs to be done about the situation?

Societal demand is just the beginning of the process of getting the authority to know that the problems exist.

Through research and feedback, the government, for example, should have known about the problems faced by the people. Every decade the government is conducting a population survey. Through this process the government knows the demographic and geographical distribution of the people. Planning should be made easier with the data obtained.

Apart from food and shelter, the people need schools, clinics, treated water, electricity grid, telecommunication facilities, and roads. Rural economy will flourish when these infrastructural facilities can be made available to the people.

One of the main functions of the government is to develop the human resources of the country. This process begins at the school level. To not building the schools is to deny the development of human resources. To not maintain the schools is to neglect in the duty of developing these human resources.

We cannot over emphasise the value of human resources development to the country’s progress and development. Everyone understands this, and even more so, those that have already benefited from having better education.

Teaching is a noble profession but there is one main challenge to it in the state, and that is the deplorable conditions of the schools in rural Sarawak. This, therefore, can derail all well-planned government educational initiatives.

Any inspiring teacher is able to see from the outset the child that is capable of moving the educational ladder.  Given the right facilities and environment this child will certainly attain his potential.

Public policy is about what the government does. It is also about what the government does not do. Doing nothing on and not taking anything about something that needs to be done involves making a decision, and this constitutes a public policy.

Tan Sri Adenan (and everyone else for that matter) acknowledges the importance and the significance of the basic infrastructure in the daily life of the people.

But is this the case where the relevant authority ‘sees nothing, hears nothing, says nothing’ and therefore does nothing. – Sarawakvoice