Friday, May 27, 2011

Yayasan Sarawak to the rescue of students

by Eve Sonary Heng Posted on May 26, 2011, Thursday
KUCHING: Fourteen Sarawakian students who had recently stopped studying due to the closure of their college had their best ‘Gawai’ gift when they were offered places to continue their studies at Kolej Laila Taib by Yayasan Sarawak yesterday.
The students, who come from poor families, had to stop their courses when the ‘Kolej Antarabangsa Teknologi Inovasi Mutiara’, located in Bangunan Mayban Trust in Jalan Tun Sambanthan in Ipoh closed in early November last year.
Yayasan Sarawak’s director and chief executive officer Mohamad Abu Bakar Marzuki said when he came across the students’ plight in The Borneo Post reported on April 28, he felt saddened and sorry for them and decided to help them out.
The students would now be able to continue their studies at Kolej Laila Taib without paying any education fee in August this year, he said, adding the college was fully owned by Yayasan Sarawak.
“We found out that the college stopped operating due to certain problems and because of this closure, some of the students had to work in coffee shops just to earn a living.
Yayasan Sarawak’s objective is to give affordable education to children who deserve it.
“They will start their courses in August and they do not need to pay anything for education fees. I hope this is the best ‘Gawai’ gift for them,” he said at a meeting session with the affected students at the ‘Education Development Centre and Yayasan Sarawak Headquarters’ at Jalan Sultan Tengah here yesterday.
Abu Bakar advised those who applied courses in private higher learning institutions to check the background carefully to avoid similar incidents from occurring.
He also said those who failed to enter matriculation or public higher learning institutions still had the chance to enter Kolej Laila Taib, which offered various programmes like Diploma in Electrical Engineering, Diploma in Architecture, and Diploma in Business Management.
The college currently has about 1,200 students. One of the affected students, Cashsandra Vinson Wilson, aged 23, from Bau, said she was glad to receive the offer letter to enter Kolej Laila Taib.
Recalling the sad incident, she said she and the other students went to class as usual one morning and were surprised that the college building was empty and the gate closed, some time in early November last year. “We took a three-year course which we started in June 2009.
Almost a year after we studied there, the college just closes like that without giving us any notice.
Even our lecturers were nowhere to be seen. We had no idea that this would happen,” she said. Another student, Elisabetta Ginii, 20, also from Bau, said after the closure, they actually waited a few days in case a miracle happened, before they informed their parents about it, and asked for money so that they could buy air tickets to fly back home.
“We were shocked to see the college suddenly stop operating.
We felt hopeless too and worried about settling our education loans from MARA.
We did not know what had happened to the college as no one was there to tell us,” she said.

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