Rebuilding run-down schools top priority

DPM pledges to solve problem of dilapidated schools in the state soonest

(Front row) Zahid (fourth right), Mahdzir (second right), Manyin (right), Dr Annuar (third left), Rakayah (second left) and others with students during their visit to SMK Rosli Dhoby.

SIBU: The federal government will continue to put the rebuilding of dilapidated schools in Sarawak on its major agenda for the country, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said yesterday.

He noted that Sarawak has 1,454 schools out of which 1,020 are in dilapidated conditions – 415 in category DS3, 210 in category DS2 and 395 in category DS1.

He said schools in category DS3 are schools with 75 per cent of their structures needing repair and over 50 years old and schools categorised in DS2 are those that have the capability as a learning centre of less than 50 per cent and are around 40 years old while those classified as DS1 are schools that have a functioning level of 75 per cent.

“From my observation and the briefing that was given to me, only 29.8 per cent of the schools in Sarawak are conducive for learning while the rest are either dilapidated or partially dilapidated,” he told a press conference at Sibu Airport.

Earlier, he visited SMK Rosli Dhoby and SK Ulu Salim.

On the solutions, the Deputy Prime Minister said one of the approaches is for the federal government and the state government to submit a financial package proposal for speeding up the reconstruction and upgrading of the schools.

He said the proposal would be submitted to the economic council which will hold a meeting early October to be chaired by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

“The state government and the education ministry will submit their proposal on how to upgrade the dilapidated schools,” he pointed out.

He also pointed out that a few suggestions had been made for a formula to ensure that the redevelopment projects could be done in the shortest time possible.

“What was suggested was for the period of implementation to be about two years and thus the methods of building would be looked into and not just done in the conventional way but also using a new building system which include Industrialised Building System (IBS),” he said, adding that this was in view of the higher cost of upgrading and rebuilding projects.

According to him, the federal government through the 11th Malaysia Plan has approved 30 school redevelopment projects in the state.

“At the same time, under the 2nd Rolling Plan of the 11th Malaysia Plan, the government has approved the implementation of IBS for 183 schools with an allocation of RM366 million.

“Throughout 2016 and 2017, 50 dilapidated schools had been and are being reconstructed using IBS by the Ministry of Education at the cost of RM153.3 million.

“Out of 50 schools, 23 schools had their projects completed while projects in 27 schools are in progress,” he disclosed.

Meanwhile, Zahid said he had been given to understand that the state had under-enrolment schools.

“We are also concerned with the facilities especially the utilities in some schools in the rural areas,” he said.

Present at the press conference were Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid; Minister of Education, Science and Technological Research Dato Sri Michael Manyin Jawong; Assistant Education and Technological Research Minister Dr Annuar Rapaee and the state director of Education Department Rakayah Madon.

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