In the 50’s school established in rural areas of Sarawak particularly those in remote region of central Sarawak was often pretty basic – textbooks, hand-made tables & chairs, pencils, exercise books and a clearing. Classes regularly held outdoors or inside a fort (kubu).
Above photo was that of a school at Lepo’ Luju in the upper Tinjar. The students are from Long Sobeng, Long Atun, Long Loyang, Long Jegan. Teacher: Johnny Leong, Berawan from Batu Belah.
The first school in the Baram was opened at Long San in 1947. Outstation kids attending a boarding school would be separated from their parents for weeks and even months at end. As a result parents often reluctant to send their kids to far away school.
A Sarawak Gazette reports published on August 31, 1956 on Education in Sarawak reads:
‘The trouble about our formal type of Western education is that it begins by breaking the natural education of the family or tribe, which is usually more effective along its own lines; so unless we are able to finish our work we had better not begin it. Let us no longer pretend that we are helping a child by taking him out of his father’s fishing-boat for three years and sitting him with sixty others in a class-room.
Today, many longhouses and villages have a primary school and a clinic.