Wednesday, April 30th, 2008
Serve in rural areas, teachers challenged
KUCHING: Reminiscing about his own experience as a young agriculture officer in the backwaters of Limbang 41 years ago, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Alfred Jabu threw a challenge to fresh graduate teachers to serve with dedication in rural Sarawak.
He said there was no reason for these teachers to be afraid or unwilling to be posted to any part of Sarawak, including rural areas, as they could contribute to development in these areas. “Accept the challenge with responsibility because it requires commitment and sacrifices,” he said at the convocation for 181 graduands of the Teachers’ Training Institute, Sarawak Zone, who received their diploma in education here yesterday.
As state Rural Development Minister, Jabu said during an official visit to Long Banga in Ulu Baram last September, he was told of the “cowardice” of five teachers who were posted to the remote settlement, when three of them did not turn up at the school while the other two left later for obvious reasons. The Kenyah and Saban settlement of Long Banga is about 10 hours via a logging track or 40 minutes by air from Miri or two days’ trek from the Indonesian border.
Recalling the many challenges encountered during his various postings as an agriculture officer prior to venturing into politics, Jabu said the only way to reach Limbang in the 1960’s was by speedboat via Brunei. Despite initial family apprehension over his outstation postings, he was ready to meet the tough challenges, including having to negotiate treacherous rapids along Sungai Akah in Ulu Baram during the course of his duty.