KUCHING: Sarawak Dayak Graduates Association’s (SDGA) effort in getting everybody involved in educational development for the Dayak community is a step in the right direction.
Social Development and Urbanisation Minister Dato Sri William Mawan said Saturday night this was necessary because the Dayaks could not do it alone. Although the Dayak community was driven by Dayakism in most of its endeavours, members must not be so parochial when it came to education, he said. He stressed education should be everybody’s concern.
“We are driven by Dayakism, but don’t be so parochial. We need a lot of people to support our mission,” he said, adding that by ‘other people’, he meant other races including the Malays, Melanaus, Chinese and Indians.
Mawan also suggested to SDGA to initiate a study on finding how many Dayaks were there in various fields and their occupation. He said the findings of the study would determine the Dayaks’ educational and social progress in line with the government policy.
“The Dayak community is still lagging behind in the fields of medicine, pharmacy, engineering, accountancy and law,” he said at the SDGA dinner and Dayak Education Excellence Awards (DEEDS) presentation at Christian Ecumenical Centre here.
“Sarawak’s rural areas, where the Dayaks reside, are among the poorest today. Development is needed in all aspects of their daily life, from agricultural production, health care and technology to environment and education,” he stressed.
The minister said education was the key to the creating change and progress in the Dayak community. As such, he felt that the Dayaks should give more priority to providing education for their children.
“Parents should be the first to show concern about the future of their children. In fact we should not neglect pres-school education. It is in the hands of the parents that rests the direction and destiny of the children especially in the first seven years of the children’s life,” he said.
Mawan commended SDGA for embarking on a vision to have at least 10 graduates from one longhouse or village out of the more than 7,000 longhouses in Sarawak by 2020. “I believe this vision can be achieved if the parents, teachers, non-governmental organisations like SDGA, Sarawak Dayak National Union, Sarawak Dayak Iban Association, Dayak Bidayuh National Association, Orang Ulu National Association and Dayak leaders in various political parties can work together,” he said.
He said everyone should strongly support SDGA’s programmes of capacity building, motivational talks and excellence awards. “This is the only way where we can help to change the mindset of parents and students in rural areas,” he emphasised. In a show of support for SDGA’s cause, Mawan also pledged a grant of RM10,000 to the association to carry out its programmes.
Others who also made financial contributions were Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Alfred Jabu who gave RM20,000; Deputy Minister of Rural and Regional Development Datuk Joseph Entulu (RM20,000); Kapit MP Alexander Nanta (RM2,000) and Mambong MP Datuk Dr James Dawos (RM2,000).
Like Mawan and Dawos, Minister of Urban Development and Tourism Datuk Michael Manyin also bought a dinner table worth RM3,000 each. Other Dayak politcians who bought dinner tables in support of SDGA’s cause include Serian MP Datuk Richard Riot, Kedup assemblyman Frederick Bayoi and Opar assemblyman Ranum Mina.
Mawan’s ‘Suara Emas’ (golden voice) managed to fetch RM10,100 and among the groups which chipped in substantial sum in the session include members of Mawan’s family; SPDP Muara Tuang Division and; Kuala Lumpur -based Yayasan Ikhlas led by Datuk Pengiran Juliana Tambi.
Meanwhile, SDGA president Dr Dusit Jaul said the association had come up with a framework of a development paper towards community education excellence. He said since February this year, SDGA had embarked on a number of educational and career development programmes throughout Sarawak.
They included a motivational programme involving more than 100 students and parents from three secondary schools in Kapit, parenting talk in Rumah Anggah, Sungai Lengan in Sibu and a UPSR motivational programme in Krokong, Bau involving more than 80 students from five primary schools. He said Nanta was supportive of the programme which he opened that day.
Dusit also stressed the importance of Dayaks being equipped with proper education and skills to enable them to compete with other communities in the country. “It is pertinent that if we are to progress collectively as a community, we all have to ensure that every Dayak child is well educated. Every Dayak youth must be equipped with a degree or at least some sort of industry certification,” he said.
He also shared his vision of Dayak success in education which was every Dayak child and youth must have access to and achieve world class education and that the Dayak community to have its own university that could produce Dayak graduates annually, especially in the professional disciplines.
“The university should not be exclusive, but inclusive - meaning it should also bring in races other than the Dayaks,” he pointed out. The event also saw the association re-launching its official website www.sarawakdga.org.my. As the website is accessible to all, Dayak graduates outside Sarawak will find it useful now that they can apply as members online.
Others present at the function were past SDGA president Prof Dimbab Ngidang, Bidayuh Graduate Association president William Nyigor, former Deputy Chief Minister Dato Sri Daniel Tajem and former MP Dato Sri Edmund Langgu as well as Sadia Kuching president Datuk Dr Anthony Nait.
News from the Borneo Post, 24 August 2009