TUARAN: Another six schools in Sabah have been closed making the total number shut due to haze in the state to 83.
Acting State Education Department director Maimunah Suhaibul told press members at the state level 1Malaysia Reading Camp held at SMK Tamparuli near here yesterday that the day before, the number of schools closed due to the haze situation were 77.
The schools are located in three districts in the West Coast comprising of Papar, Beaufort, and Kuala Penyu.
“This morning I was informed that other schools were closed, affecting 1,769 students,” she said.
Maimunah informed that the Air Pollutant Index (API) in Papar reached 223 yesterday morning.
She also said all 83 schools would remain closed until April 5 (Tuesday) and would only be open on April 6 if the situation improved.
“We will be monitoring the situation constantly,” she said.
Meanwhile, the API reading in Kota Kinabalu was 60 yesterday.
Maimunah said the reading was below the dangerous level but mentioned that if thick haze were to occur at any districts in Sabah that could jeopardise schooling sessions, then the school principal must inform the district education officer (PPD) or the State Education Department before deciding on closing the school.
Schools can only be closed if the API reaches 200.
She said once the information was received, the higher administration of the Education Ministry would be informed.
Maimunah hoped that the haze situation would improve soon as it had disrupted the learning of students.
She also said schools in Kota Kinabalu were allowed to permit their students to return early but stressed that this was dependent on the school’s situation.
On the whole, the API reading in Sabah remained at an acceptable level except for the three districts, she said.
Other districts that had the potential of reaching unhealthy API were Keningau and Tawau.
On the 1Malaysia Reading Camp, Maimunah explained that the camp was carried out simultaneously nationwide.
She informed that the reading habit among students in Sabah were showing a positive trend and that people between 10 years old and 40 years old read an average of eight books per year according to a study.
Also present at the event was Tuaran District Officer Tah Nia Jeman.