KUALA LUMPUR: The Ministry of Education (MOE) will continue with ongoing discussions with the Sabah government on the project to upgrade dilapidated schools in the state, which has been stalled in the pipeline due to land issues.
Deputy Minister of Education II Datuk Mohamad Alamin said land issues are part of the constraints on whether to upgrade or build new schools because the acreage may not meet the specifications of the Public Works Department (JKR).
He cited a JKR regulation that requires six acres of land for the construction of a primary school and 10 acres for a secondary school while some land parcels were simply too small for commencement of a project.
“There are 31 out of 270 dilapidated school projects approved for an upgrade between 2016 and 2020, that are still incomplete or have yet to start due to various problems, including land issues,” he told Bernama at Parliament.
In relation to that, the Kimanis MP suggested that JKR should not be too rigid with design aspects of the schools or it would further delay the project.
“If we wait to get (precisely) six or 10 acres of land, when will it materialise? Instead of a landed building, why not opt for a highrise building, perhaps two-and-a-half storeys,” he said.
The types of school chosen for the dilapidated school upgrading project depend on the condition of its physical structure, on whether it is dysfunctional or unsafe, with MOE using an impact scale level of 1-to-7 (with JKR approval) whereby seven denotes it is highly unsafe.
On the issue of teacher shortage in Sabah, Mohamad said MOE is mulling several options, which include the posting of local Sabahan teachers, making one-off appointments or offering a Contract of Service.
“Out of 18,000 teachers involved in one-off appointments nationwide, I have requested that priority be given to Sabah and Sarawak, if possible 50 per cent,” he added.