Budget 2021 approval crucial to expedite school maintenance


IT IS pertinent for Budget 2021 to be approved in the Dewan Rakyat tomorrow as it will expedite the utilisation of the RM735 million that has been allocated to upgrade the infrastructure of 50 poor schools.

Another allocation of RM120 million for the construction of 184 tube wells in rural schools in Sabah and Sarawak is also included in the project, while an additional RM45 million is expected to strengthen special education.

Senior Minister (Education) Dr Mohd Radzi Md Jidin said it is important to ensure that school maintenance can be done immediately to make sure next year’s learning sessions will run in a more conducive environment.

“We hope when the school opens later at the beginning of next year, we can continue with this maintenance, so that our children are comfortable at school.

“When we look back at what happened throughout the Covid-19 pandemic period, this is what we sit back and think about after visiting schools.

“There are many classrooms that cannot be used because they have been leaking for years,” he said in Budget 2021’s school maintenance allocation press conference in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

He added that physical distancing is difficult to maintain among students due to the damage and small number of classrooms in some schools.

Mohd Radzi said the situation has indirectly caused the school maintenance costs to increase.

“That is why it is very important for us to conduct this maintenance as a whole, especially in creating a comfortable environment for our children to return to school next year,” Mohd Radzi said.

The Education Ministry received an allocation of RM50.36 billion in Budget 2021.

Of the total, RM800 million has been allocated for the maintenance and repair work of government schools and government-aided schools.

He added that a total of RM620 million from the maintenance fund will be utilised specifically for schools, which will be distributed using a new allocation formula.

“We have taken into account two key factors when coming up with this new formula. Firstly, the total number of schools, and the second is if the schools are government schools or government-aided schools, in which each type of school will have their own ceiling,” he noted.

Under the formula, national primary, secondary and boarding schools will get some RM477.48 million, while their government-aided counterparts will receive RM1.2 million.

Chinese vernacular schools will receive RM74.07 million, while Tamil vernacular schools will receive an allocation of RM29.98 million.

Missionary schools will receive RM20.9 million and government-aided Islamic schools will receive RM12.23 million.

Under the ministry’s budget initiative, it has also allocated RM500 million for digital networking; RM420 million for the improvement of supplementary food plans; RM150 million for the provision of laptops; and RM800 million for the maintenance and upgrading of halls and other facilities of government and government-aided schools.