Sarawak Government Intensifies Human Capital Investment

By Asia Newswire, PRNE
Sunday, January 30, 2011

KUCHING, Sarawak, Malaysia, February 1, 2011 - Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud says 30% of the people of Sarawak must
attain tertiary education by 2020 in order for the state to develop a high
income economy.

The state government is intensifying efforts to meet the human capital
needs of the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE), which will provide
1.5 million job opportunities in various industries. This will entail
ensuring that skilled and semi-skilled workers are available in the economic
corridor for the next 20 years. By 2030 Sarawak will increase semi-skilled
jobs from 35% to 50%.

Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud said "The process of development is much
more than just providing money or devising development strategies. There can
be no development unless people participate in the process."

The state government has been providing better educational and training
programmes in order to equip Sarawakians with the sufficient skills base to
cater for the jobs created by SCORE in heavy industries, scientific research
& development, bio-tech industries, tourism and marine engineering. It is
estimated that 10% of public expenditure will be spent on manpower
development and training programmes to cater for these new jobs.

Changes are underway throughout the educational system to prepare a more
competitive workforce. The Sarawak Education Department is transforming
training to critical thinking and soft skills development. All public schools
now teach mathematics and science in English from primary school level.
Within higher education, two Australian universities - Curtin University of
and Swinburne University of Technology - have opened branches in
Sarawak. Overall, there are more opportunities for students to pursue higher
education in all of the state's four universities, which also includes UNIMAS
and Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM).

In addition, the state government and UNIMAS (Universiti Malaysia
Sarawak) have formed U-SCORE, a consortium of institutions of higher
learning. U-SCORE identifies and plans the various courses and technical
training required for SCORE industries. At the same time, a "Strategic
Manpower Study for SCORE" is now being undertaken by the state government and
UNIMAS. As well as developing human capital, the state intends to regain
Sarawakians who went in search of better opportunities abroad by enticing
them back to better jobs, a better economy and a better way of life.

It is not just town and city dwellers who will benefit though. Better
education initiatives will equip rural and often cut-off people to take on
these newly-created managerial, skilled and semi-skilled jobs. As an added
benefit, many of these people will take their new skills back to their
villages and play key roles in the development of their communities. This
will happen in places like Baram, Ulu Lawas, Belaga, and the rural areas
where most people are isolated from mainstream development. Currently, those
who are educated tend to drift towards towns or cities to look for jobs and a
better quality of life. The government envisages a development model that
will reach all Sarawakians regardless of where they live or what race they
belong to.

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