WHENEVER any student in Tuaran, Sabah scores straight As, Datuk Seri Madius Tangau expects a phone call.
The Member of Parliament for Tuaran and Science, Technology and Innovation Minister has an excellence programme in place which encourages parents to talk to their children about how they are doing in school.
He urges secondary school students to open either Amanah Saham Bumiputra or National Education Savings Scheme (needed to be eligible for National Higher Education Fund Corporation loans) accounts. And he banks RM20 into every such account.
“Every semester, parents come to school to collect their report cards,” he explains.
And if they score straights As, Tangau puts RM100 of his own money into their account. That’s why he expects a phone call from the proud students. But he also calls each school principal to ask how the students have performed.
The schools also bank RM100 into the account of each straight A student, the Parent-Teacher Associations put in RM70 and the parents put in whatever they can.
Some have put in up to RM5,000, says Tangau. There are additional awards for 100% passes in the primary school UPSR exams, as well as the secondary school PT3, SPM and STPM exams.
Tangau organises gatherings for excellent students at the 10 government secondary schools and the one private school, and hands out prizes.
Last year, Tuaran’s district education office had the highest number of Band 1 and 2 schools, beating Kota Kinabalu. He wants to keep building on this.
Under Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s administration, Tangau notes: “We can now measure the achievement of a particular school. In Tuaran there are 86 schools, of which 75 are primary schools. All are above Band 4.” (The top rank is 1 and the bottom rank is 7.)
The administration’s New Deal also recognises the top schools in terms of administrative and academic excellence, Tangau adds.
Recently, a total of 198 schools nationwide received this recognition.
“Of these, 36 are from Sabah and 11 of them are from Tuaran,” he says.
The MP sees education as his main service to the community, since he was first elected in 1999.
“From the very beginning, I’ve put a very high budget for education.
“And I give grants to those who want to pursue their studies at university,” he says.