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Unearthing 'Jewels' In Hulu Limbang

Last update: 08/03/2011
By Hamdan Ismail

LIMBANG, March 8 (Bernama) -- For Mismona Manggai, a Form One student of Sekolah Menengah Kubong in Limbang, the year 2011 is going to be a meaningful and significant year for her.

The landscape used to be a muddy laterite road, thick-foliaged jungle and a narrow river for this former pupil of Sekolah Kebangsaan (SK) Ulu Lubai, but soon the sandy beach of Labuan beckons her.

The reason being that this daughter of a labourer and farmer has been picked to continue her studies at Sekolah Menengah Sains Labuan for obtaining an outstanding result in last year's Ujian Penilaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR), the only pupil to do so in this primary school of the remotely-located settlement.

"I never expected to obtain the result. During the trial examination, I only managed to obtain A- for English paper and this had made me worried when sitting for the actual exam," said the daughter of Kampung Rantau Panjang, Hulu Limbang.

However the worries disappeared when Mismona received her UPSR result, a rare achievement in primary schools of remote areas such as Hulu Limbang.

POOR FAMILY

Mismona is the youngest of five siblings in an under-privileged family.

Her two elder sisters are married while two others are still in school - one in Form Five at Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Medamit and the other is in Form Four at Empat SMK Kubong.

Both schools are in Limbang Division.

Mismona's father, Manggai Igang, works as a labourer in Lawas town and while still in SK Ulu Lubai, the girl lived with her mother, Banun Franchis.

"Apart from taking care of me, mother also toiled the land in order to obtain some money," the girl told this Bernama reporter.

However coming from a poor family only strengthened Mismona's spirit and determination.

Her parents never stopped giving encouragement and Mismona felt she was fortunate to be surrounded by teachers who were committed in seeing her charting success.

ENCOURAGEMENT FROM TEACHERS

"I owed my outstanding success to teachers in my primary school", she said.

The teachers of SK Ulu Lubai were sensitive to the needs of the pupils despite the school lacking in almost everything and remotely-located from the urban area.

With the encouragement given, Mismona worked hard to achieve the outstanding result. Outside school hours, Mismona revised her lessons for three hours in the morning and another three hours at night.

The girl wished to become a doctor with the hope of pulling out her family from the poverty bracket.

"My ambition is to be a doctor so that I can go back and serve the community," she said.

SUCCESS OF A RURAL SCHOOL

Mismona's result reflected the success of SK Ulu Lubai which recently was named a high performance school (SBT) by the Education Ministry. It is the first rural school in the state to be accorded the acknowledgement.

Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin who is also the Deputy Prime Minister presented the recognition letter to the school's headmaster, Jaul Bunyan.

Jaul, who hails from Nanga Merit in Limbang became SK Ulu Lubai's headmaster in 1998. He deemed the recognition as a success of the local community.

"There is no secret. Only the close cooperation between the school and the local community who knows that only education can pull out the new generation from the shackles of poverty", Julai said when asked on the school's formula to achieve success.

The school, previously accessible through the river route, was closed for one year from 1976 until 1977 after no teachers were willing to serve there.

Jaul said the episode had fired up the awareness of the local folks that they needed the school instead of sending their children to SK Nanga Merit, located about an hour's journey by boat from thier village.

Since then, SK Ulu Lubai had stepped forward and in 1998 had scored 100 percent success in the UPSR. The school also earned two international awards as well as five national and 14 state-level awards.

-- BERNAMA