THE Education Ministry is considering using modular construction systems to build new schools or to upgrade them.
Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid said the system also known as the industrialised building system (IBS), is efficient and speeds up construction time while producing better quality finish.
To make this happen, Mahdzir said he wants to discuss the matter with the Public Works Department. The system, he said has already gained broad acceptance in developed countries.
“If we use IBS, the cost may not touch RM50mil or RM60mil for 18 or 24 classrooms (per school),” he told reporters after officiating the World Education Games 2015 World Literacy Category prize-giving ceremony to Cempaka Schools’ students in Putrajaya on Wednesday.
Adding that a school’s design should fit its purpose, he said the adoption of IBS could bring prices down to anything from RM15mil to RM18mil per school.
Under the IBS regime, the major components of a building are fabricated in a factory or sheltered environment, where works can be carried out regardless of weather conditions. Fabricating the panels under these conditions also lead to a consistent finish as quality could be more easily monitored.
The parts and panels are then transported to the construction site, where they are then assembled.
“Times have changed, and schools do not need to be fancily designed,” said Mahdzir, who also hoped there will be a bigger allocation for underserved schools and school maintenance in next year’s budget.
“We will ask for funds for specific areas such as rewiring for old schools and water treatment facilities.”
On the suspension of water-based co-curricular activities in schools, Mahdzir said ministry officials will soon come up with a standard operating procedure (SOP) for such events.
Input from the Health Ministry will also be sought before the SOP is introduced.
Earlier in his speech, Mahdzir congratulated the students from Cempaka Schools for their win in the international competition.
Leong Zhi Yen, 7, and Sydny Lum Shen Li, 12, are the World Champion of Champion winners for the Grade K and Grade 6 categories respectively.
The World Education Games is the largest free online education competition involving Mathematics, Science and Literacy in English.
This year’s competition attracted almost 6.3mil students from 30,000 schools in over 166 countries.
Cempaka Schools Malaysia founder Datuk Freida Pilus said these students have helped bring fame to Malaysia in the academic world, and what brings even more joy is that these students have beaten even native English speakers at the competition.
“Since the beginning, our school has been placing an emphasis on Science, Mathematics and English,” she added.
She said the school provided nutritious meals, hourly breaks and ensured the students stayed hydrated to keep the them going throughout the long hours of the competition.
“We also had a big screen in the hall (where the students were placed) showing the top 50 schools at each point in the competition,” she said, adding that Cempaka Schools was constantly featured on the list.
This, Frieda said, kept the students’ motivated during the competition.
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