KUCHING: The Education Ministry has reached an agreement with the Sarawak government on the use of the latter's RM1bil loan repayment for repairing dilapidated schools in the state.
Education Minister Maszlee Malik (pic) said both parties agreed to fine-tune the channelling of the funds and implementation of projects to ensure that this is carried out in an orderly and transparent manner.
"The state government also agreed for the implementation to be done in phases so that planning can be done according to the necessary criteria and timeframe.
"All of this is done for the benefit of students in Sarawak so that they can learn in a comfortable and conducive environment," he said after meeting Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg at Wisma Bapa Malaysia here on Wednesday (April 24).
The RM1bil loan repayment for dilapidated schools came under the spotlight recently when Putrajaya made an apparent U-turn on the matter.
Maszlee had said in February that the federal government had agreed that the loan repayment from the state government would be used to repair dilapidated schools in Sarawak.
However, state Education, Science and Technological Research Minister Datuk Seri Michael Manyin said earlier this month that the federal government later insisted that the RM1bil should be an "advance payment" on loans owed by the state.
Maszlee also said the state government agreed to teach Mathematics and Science in English as requested by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
"The Sarawak government agreed to be the first state to implement this. They will help us in terms of implementation and also to train teachers to teach Mathematics and Science," he told reporters.
He added that the state government had already introduced several initiatives with the Education Department and local universities to train Mathematics and Science teachers to teach in English.
Manyin, who was also present, said over 400 primary school teachers had undergone training courses so far this year.
"Some of them will become trainers later on in their own districts," he said.