KINABATANGAN May 5, 2012: The Sabah Education Department is currently looking into ways of re-opening Sekolah Kebangsaan (SK) Inarat which has been closed for two weeks.
Its director, Datuk Dr Haji Muhiddin Yusin, said he had asked his officials to look into the matter.
Muhiddin added that he only came to know of the problems faced by the school recently.
“I’ve never received any reports on this matter but I will look into it and, God willing, we will solve this problem.
“We don’t want our children to be deprived of education,” he said when met by reporters at the Teachers Intellect Discourse at the Kinabatangan Education Office Seminar Hall yesterday.
Kinabatangan member of parliament Datuk Bung Moktar Radin brought up the closure of SK Inarat and its lack of teachers on Thursday.
The school only had two part-time teachers who are Inarat natives.
The two teachers have stopped teaching as their yearly contracts have expired.
“Their (the part-time teachers) appointment is on a yearly basis. For 2012, we’ve asked the ministry to approve their appointments but we haven’t received any answer yet,” said Muhiddin.
According to Bung Moktar, all the school’s nine teachers were absent because the road to the school was damaged.
He said the only way for the teachers to get to the village is by boat which takes four hours from the closest town or by a four-wheel-drive vehicle.
“The teachers find the boat ride too dangerous because the river is laid with sharp rocks and they use a small boat. But the villagers do not see this as a problem so they are able to commute in and out of the village,” said Bung Moktar.
He urged the Public Works Ministry to repair and upgrade the road leading to Inarat so the teachers can continue teaching.
“As long as there is no road, the school will not open,” he said and criticized the Sabah Education Ministry for not allocating enough money to improve the conditions of schools in Sabah.
He said that the money would only be used to send students to Peninsular Malaysia but there was not enough allocation to repair schools in state of dilapidation.
“I feel that the Ministry of Education needs a top-up or change its administration of distributing allocation to the Sabah Education Department to solve urgent matters,” said Bung Moktar.
Citing an example, he said the solar panel at Kampung Balat had not been operating since it was built seven years ago.
“This is just one school that I know of. We can’t have the government appointing irresponsible contractors.
“I’ve always said that we have to be informed of any form of development so that we can monitor the situation and fix things.
“I urge the Ministry of Education to recognize the existence of Sabah Education Department as an entity that can be trusted,” said Bung Moktar.
by Khabil Kiram