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Friday January 3, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Friday January 3, 2014 MYT 10:19:11 AM
by priya kulasagaran
KUALA LUMPUR: The Education Ministry will give state education departments more power to speed up building projects in schools.
Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said department directors will soon be able to directly approve construction and maintenance projects worth up to RM5mil per year in their respective states.
“The reason such school projects were delayed before was due to the slow process of approval — everything had to go through the ministry first. With this delegation of powers, state education department directors can decide on applications by schools for such projects and directly appoint contractors and suppliers.
“We started the pilot project for this in Sabah and Kedah last year, and hope to extend it to all states soon,” he told reporters after visiting SJK(C) Chung Hwa here yesterday.
Muhyiddin, who is also Education Minister, added that this was the ministry’s first phase of decentralising the education system as outlined in the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025 to tackle problems in schools more efficiently.
Previously, state education departments only had annual budgets of RM500,000.
Muhyiddin also said the ministry would focus on improving student proficiency in English as it will be a must-pass subject in the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) in 2016.
“A total of 5,000 teachers went through our upskilling programme to improve their language proficiency and this year, we will upskill 9,000 more.
“We will also look at upskilling teachers in other important subjects such as Bahasa Malaysia, Mathematics and Science,” he said.
On the increase in teaching hours for Bahasa Malaysia from 180 minutes to 240 minutes in vernacular primary schools this year, Muhyiddin said it was to ensure students were prepared for secondary school.
“For example, when I visited SMK St Gabriel, the principal told me one of their challenges was that students from vernacular schools, who did not have a good grasp of Bahasa Malaysia, had problems coping with the transition,” he said.
Earlier, Muhyiddin visited SMK St Gabriel and SJK(T) Kampung Pandan here as well as SK Presint 14 (1) in Putrajaya on the first day of school.
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Education, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin
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