Long distances deter Ulu Paitan children from an education
SANDAKAN: Eleven-year-old Rick-son Dunsul (pic) wants to be a teacher. His dream, however, is likely to remain unfulfilled.
He stopped attending classes more than a year ago – finding the daily 20km trek between his house at Kampung Matanggal Baru to SK Binsulung too tiring.
“It is too exhausting,” Rickson said of the walk from his village to the school five days a week, which he had done for nearly five years.
This was the answer when Deputy Speaker Datuk Ronald Kiandeeasked him why he dropped out from school during a visit to the remote village at Ulu Paitan in northeastern Sabah, some 280km from Kota Kinabalu on Monday.
Kiandee, the Beluran MP, also met 18-year-old Normi Robinson who was nursing her month-old first-born.
Normi, who was married two years ago, cannot read, write or count and has never stepped into a classroom due to the distance between the school and her home and is now worried for the future of her son.
Ronald said the problem faced by Rickson could be addressed with the setting up of hostels at SK Binsulung and SK Sungai Sungai to cater to children from Matanggal Baru, Kai-boton, Kinadaan and Tongkud.
He said there were at least 300 children aged between seven and 17 from the four villages who had yet to go to school or finish their education.
Deprived : Normi cannot read, write or count and has never stepped into a classroom.
“Having such hostels would help children remain in school and obtain a proper education,” said Ronald, adding that the children would otherwise remain as subsistence farmers or work as labourers in nearby plantations.
Another factor which deterred the children was the lack of transportation.
“So the best option is for the children to stay at the schools. This is a cost-effective solution,” said Ronald.