Posted: 25 Mar 2012 06:31 AM PDT
KUCHING: The Bidayuhs have been told to raise their level of competitiveness lest they fail to perform as expected when Malaysia achieved a developed nation status in 2020.
Infrastructure Development and Communications Minister Datuk Seri Michael Manyin, who is Dayak Bidayuh National Association (DBNA) advisor, said with a population of just 220,000, the Bidayuhs must equip themselves with useful knowledge and skills so as not to be left behind.
"In our quest for a developed nation status and due to globalisation, we have opened doors to foreigners looking for better opportunities here.
"If we are not at our best to compete, then we will lose out to them in terms of employment," he said when launching Curtin Malaysia Sarawak-DBNA roadshow here yesterday.
He said as it was, most of the top organisations in Sarawak were being headed by foreigners because there were nobody as qualified to take up the jobs.
"So competition will step up between 2020 and 2030 and if we don't have the right qualifications and attitude, we will not be able to compete with them," he said.
As such, he lauded efforts by Curtin to help Bidayuhs to gain recognised qualifications through the roadshow.
He said it was always an added advantage to get certificates from prestigious foreign universities as it improved the chances of graduates getting jobs back home or in other countries.
Nonetheless, he understood many were still apprehensive in joining institutions like Curtin because of their inability to communicate in English.
On the contrary, he urged them to change their mindset as learning an additional language would prove advantageous.
Manyin conceded that many refrained from speaking in English because they were afraid of making mistakes.
"You should not be ashamed of making mistakes because it is expected. To begin with, English is not your mother tongue.
"Its a language for communicating, so as long as the other person understands what you are trying to say, you should be okay. So go ahead — give it your best shot. After all practice makes perfect," he said.
Besides, he said, Curtin had prepared special classes to help its students communicate better in English.
Besides that, he said Curtin had prepared good study schemes and incentives for those who had good results in their SPM or STPM. They need not worry about the cost.
Earlier, Curtin Sarawak chief operating officer Nicholas Ching revealed that the number of bumiputra students remain relatively small.
The university hopes to boost this soon.
He said this was because of the misconception that studying in a branch of a foreign university was beyond their means.
"Our fees are significantly lower than that of our main campus in Australia.
"As Sarawak offers many study schemes and loans, so the cost many not be much of a factor," he said.
In terms of English, he said the university offers special classes to help their students.
The roadshow will also be extended to Bau/Lundu, Serian and Padawan.
Curtin Sarawak then presented awards to top achievers namely Betynatha Bener of SMK Tun Abdul Razak Kuching, Stevenson Steward of SMK Taee Serian, Natasha Lim Lawrence of SMK Teresa and Andrea Sese of SMK Bandar Kuching No. 1
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