KUCHING : Dayak-based NGOs have been told to work hard at finding ways to help Dayak children who should be going for further studies but could not do so because they did not have the financial means.

Deputy Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Joseph Entulu said he believed no parents want to see their children drop out of school but that they were helpless because they did not have money with which to support them.

According to him , most Dayak parents in the rural areas do realise the importance of education and how it can determine their children’s future.

"However, , after Form 5, even if their children have achieved good results they still cannot send them for further studies because they do not have the money. This is where Dayak-based NGOs should be able to help," he said when explaining why some excellent rural students could not further their studies.

He said he would like NGOs like Sarawak Dayak National Union (SDNU), Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (Sadia) and Sarawak Dayak Graduates Association (SDGA) as well as political ideologies - to work together to raise the education standard of rural Dayak students.

He lamented that even though there were bodies like Yayasan Sarawak and Mara offering scholarships this did not mean all applicants would get them because of the quota system where scholarships were limited to certain fields.

"For example, if a scholarship is for a specific field, it may be allocated to one of a total of 10 applicants. This means many qualified students will still not get the scholarship," he said when asked to comment on SDGA’ s vision to have at least 10 graduates from one longhouse or village out of the more than 7,000 longhouses in Sarawak by 2020.

Entulu, the Selangau MP, said the vision is achievable if the whole community could work towards it with tireless commitment and not just leaving it to teachers of parents.

"Therefore, don’t just talk. Please walk the talk," he said.

SDGA is working towards the vision by holding educational and career development programmes, capacity building programmes, motivational talks and excellence awards.

News from the Borneo Post, 25 August 2009



Category : Press

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