Warisan: Teachers’ institutes, if converted, bad for Sabah

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KOTA KINABALU: Parti Warisan Sabah (Warisan) has urged the education ministry to confirm whether the Teachers’ Education Institutes in Keningau and Tawau will be converted into a vocational college and polytechnic respectively.

The opposition party said such a move, if confirmed, would negatively affect the much-needed production of teachers in the state.

“I urge Deputy Higher Education Minister Mary Yap of Sabah, to come clean on whether the Teachers’ Education Institute (IPG) in Keningau will indeed be turned into a vocational college and the Tawau IPG into a polytechnic,” said Warisan vice-president Junz Wong in a statement today.

“I doubt that there is a need for another vocational college in Keningau and polytechnic in Tawau. Why convert the IPG to a vocational college when there is already one existing technical school in Keningau?

“We have many vocational, technical and polytechnic-like institutions in Sabah. So why can’t the ministry work with the Sabah government to upgrade all these institutions?”

Wong, who is also Likas assemblyman, said his sources pointed to the possible scenario that the only IPGs closing in Malaysia were in Sabah.

“Does it mean the BN has decided not to train more teachers from Sabah? I can’t understand why such a lopsided policy is being implemented,” he said.

Wong said, should there be a Warisan government in Sabah, they would make it a priority to upgrade IPGs with bigger budgets to produce high-quality teachers.

“Sandakan certainly needs another IPG to cater to the Sandakan people’s need to be trained as teachers,” he said.

“In fact, Warisan will set up more IPGs in Sabah to train Sabahans as high-quality teachers.

“The Sabah government must insist on keeping our IPGs and continue to train Sabahans to replace in due time, the 14,000 teachers currently serving in Sabah.”

Wong said the Barisan Nasional was copying Warisan’s manifesto of setting-up vocational schools, but was doing so the wrong way.

“While BN might have tried too hard to copy Warisan’s manifesto of setting-up vocational schools, a great idea which our president, Shafie Apdal, has announced many times during our roadshows, it’s a bad idea to set-up vocational schools at the expense of IPGs in Sabah.

“If you want to copy our move, please do it the right way. Warisan would keep the existing IPGs and set-up vocational schools and faculties to train Sabahans as skilled workers.”