Vocational school in Temburong soon

National 2 minutes, 42 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

THE Minister of Education yesterday announced the ministry's long-term plans in building a new secondary school to replace Sultan Hassan Secondary School in Temburong, which will in turn be converted into a vocational-technical school.

Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Lela Dato Seri Setia Hj Abd Rahman Dato Setia Hj Mohamed Taib revealed this at the State Legislative Council (LegCo) afternoon session in response to Temburong Distrist representative Hj Sulaiman Hj Ahad's suggestion for the construction of two new secondary schools in the district.

"If there are two secondary schools, a lot of issues can be resolved," said Hj Sulaiman, adding that the present school is in dire state of attention and overflowing with a growing population of 1,000 students.

He pointed out that the school's structure is no longer stable, with some of the rooms no longer safe.

The minister acknowledged this, but said the ministry decided that Temburong requires one secondary school based on studies made.

Sultan Hassan Secondary School students will be moved to the new school once it is ready to be used. The new school will be located at Kampung Rataiee and is expected to accommodate 1,200 students and turned into a vocational-technical school.

"I think this is more beneficial. Temburong can do research for what it is known for — eco-tourism related courses for the tourism industry," said the minister.

Hj Sulaiman also pointed out that the 2010/2011 budget allocated for the Ministry of Education (MoE) at over $620.925 million could be used to provide financial assistance to private schools to help ease the government's burden.

"The assistance that I mentioned can be done in a number of ways, (such as) the government can fund the construction of the (school) buildings and rent it out; loan the finances to build it, not necessarily 100 per cent of the amount because it is difficult to get bank loan approval to build private schools," said Hj Sulaiman.

He added that the assistance should only be given when school has evidence of good management, such as making payments on time.

"Private schools with high quality will eventually result in the reduction of MoE's budget," he said.

The minister responded that several schools were already supported by the ministry and examination results from these schools as well as the intake of school teachers are also being monitored.

Meanwhile, Orang Kaya Jaya Putera Datu Paduka Hj Mohd Taha Abd Rauf enquired about the progress of a vocational school in Tutong which was announced by the minister last July.

The minister explained that although a site had already been located, the ministry is having difficulty in obtaining the budget. He said that several schools, including a sixth form centre, is already being built.

The issue of the construction of a secondary school in Lumut and a Science school in Kuala Belait was also brought up by Hj Mohd Shafiee Ahmad, the Belait District representative.

Pehin Dato Hj Abd Rahman explained that the delay in the construction of the secondary school was initially due to land issues that have already been resolved.

The ministry is still experiencing site problems with regard to the Science school, due to insufficient budget, he added.

The Brunei Times