SANDAKAN: Crossing the sea in a small boat is routine for Majikri Majibri.
But, the choppy 10-minute boat ride that he took today was special because the 7-year-old was starting school at SK Tanjung Papat 2.
The boy, from Pulau Berhala, here, boarded the boat with his mother, Rosmahwati Iri, 25, and sister, Rosnahyati, 8. He only changed into his school uniform at the Pasar Umum jetty.
This was to avoid getting his uniform dirty or wet.
Rosmahwati told the New Straits Times that Majikri had woken up at 5am, even though the school session only began at 12.30pm, as he was excited to go to school.
“There is no primary school on the island,” she said.
“There is only a kindergarten and Kelas 3M (read, write and count) for those who have no citizenship documents.
“I hope my son will remain eager about going to school so that he can get a good job when he grows up and not just go to the sea (to work as a fisherman).”
Norshakinah Mohd Jaidin, 7, who is from the same island, boarded a bigger passenger boat with her eight-year-old sister, Noraini, and mother, Dayang, Salmah Ankuk, 37.
Salmah said she would accompany her daughters to SK Tanjung Papat 1 every day and wait until the school session ended at 5.30pm.
She said the boat fee was RM2.50 one-way for adults, and 50 sen and RM1.50 for primary school pupils and secondary school students respectively.
“We also have to pay the bus fare,” said Dayang who has four other children.
“It would be expensive if I were to go back and forth.
“So, I will wait for them in the school compound.”