On Wednesday, Sarawak mourned the loss of Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem.
As chief minister, he brought a new style of leadership to the state, which was both fresh and intriguing not only to the people of Sarawak but for people throughout the country as well.
Throughout his first two years at the helm of leadership, Adenan brought many issues to the fore, including his focus on Sarawak’s autonomy, empowerment, environmental protection as well as reducing and abolishing fees for various services.
All these and more were emphasised under what he coined his ‘53 Principles & Actions’, which he introduced from the time he took his oath of office on Feb 28, 2014 right up to the middle of last year.
We at SarawakYES! would like to take this opportunity to highlight some of his significant contributions to education in the state, during his brief tenure as chief minister.
One of the most important decisions he made was giving state government recognition to the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) to obtain Yayasan Sarawak loans or scholarships and also for those interested to enter the state civil service.
When this decision was announced, it made Sarawak one of the most progressive states in the country, if not the most progressive, in terms of supporting Chinese-medium schools.
Apart from that, in recognition of the important role played by Chinese independent schools in the state, Adenan also provided funds for these schools, with RM5 million given out to them last year alone.
He was also very focused on promoting and increasing opportunities in technical education among the young people of Sarawak.
As such, Sarawak made Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) a top priority and the state even started its own technical institute – Centre of Technical Excellence (CENTEXS).
Under Adenan’s administration, Petronas gave its commitment to invest RM420 million for human capital development through TVET in Sarawak, for five years, up to 2019.
To better serve the education needs of the state, Adenan also initiated a move to have more local teachers teaching in Sarawak and his efforts bore fruit when the federal government agreed to the state’s request – that by next year, 90 per cent of teachers teaching in Sarawak will be Sarawakians.
He was also very intent on promoting the use of English among the people of Sarawak, as he felt mastery of the language would allow Sarawakians to be more competitive and competent on a global stage.
As such, Sarawak adopted English as its second official language, alongside Bahasa Malaysia. This meant that official correspondence for the state government could either be in English or Bahasa Malaysia.
Currently, the state government is negotiating for English to be the medium for non-national schools in Sarawak.
This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (AZAM) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
This article first appeared on The Borneo Post, visit this link: http://bit.ly/2is3sWb