Sabah school principal living in storeroom earns Internet praise
KOTA KINABALU, Sabah - A school principal in Sabah’s Telupid district, located over 200km away from the state capital of Kota Kinabalu, has earned praise from Internet users after he shared a video of his living conditions in the school.
Mr George Odol, who has been serving as the SK Ulu Ansuan principal for more than three years, shared how a small storeroom is now his living quarters.
The 60-year-old, who will retire on Nov 25, showed the 3m by 5m storeroom he has been living in since June 2020.
“This room was used to store old, unused school equipment and supplies, but it was turned into a room for me when I arrived. It is quite sad, but what else could I do?” he said.
Mr Odol has to use the school kitchen and toilet. He has two village dogs, which he feeds daily, to keep him company at night when everyone else leaves for the day.
He said his monthly allowance is RM500 (S$145) – which is scant compensation for giving up his comfort – but it is better than nothing.
Most importantly, he said the children will have teachers to guide them.
“Most of these children are Kadazandusun Rungus (an ethnic group), and if we Kadazandusun Rungus teachers are not willing to be placed in interior schools, who else will?” Mr Odol asked.
But he is glad to serve, despite having to live in such conditions.
He said the silver lining is that a seven-door teachers’ “longhouse” quarters has been built and is ready for occupation.
Mr Odol added that he chose to let teachers who come from other districts and are stationed there use the facility, and that he will remain in his tiny room until retirement.
Internet users took to social media to praise him for his dedication and sacrifice.
Many also shared their sympathy for Mr Odol and other teachers who sacrifice comfort when serving in interior areas with poor basic facilities.
Sabah Education Department director Raisin Saidin praised Mr Odol for his dedication.
He said though this should not happen in this day and age, the ability to adapt and find solutions rather than dwelling on the problem is what makes teachers in Sabah so precious.
He said the Education Department will try to assist teachers facing similar problems so that they can work and live in conducive environments.
Attempts have been made to contact Telupid assemblyman Jonnybone J. Kurum and Beluran MP Ronald Kiandee over the matter. - THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK