GOMBAK: The number of contract cleaning staff at public schools has been reduced due to a change in the formula used to calculate how many are actually required.
Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching (pic) said the ministry now decided how many contract cleaning staff was needed based on the size of a school’s common area.
“Previously, we used the number of students to calculate. But now, we calculate using the size of the common areas because that’s what the cleaners have to clean,” she told reporters after the closing ceremony of the 8th Fully Residential Schools International Symposium 2019 here.
She said since students cleaned their own classrooms, cleaners were only needed for the school’s common areas.
Teo added that it was not true that 45,000 contract workers had their contracts terminated in January as had been reported by the media, but did not provide further details.
She said the common areas in many bigger schools which have more classrooms were actually the same as smaller schools with fewer classrooms.
Teo said her ministry welcomed feedback on the new method used to calculate the number of cleaners needed.
“We are also trying to get a bigger budget,” she said, adding that the ministry was seeking an additional RM3bil allocation from the Finance Ministry.
The additional allocation is needed to pay for school security services contracts, building and area cleanliness, cooked food and for other items.
On another matter, Teo said the ministry would expand its Special Class Project (ProKhas) if its pilot project at the Bateq Orang Asli village in Gua Musang, Kelantan, was successful.
The project is an effort by the ministry to ensure all children, including from the Orang Asli community, complete their schooling and reduce their dropout rate.
She said teachers were sent to the village to conduct classes at their community hall since April.
“So far, the enrolment stands at 23,” she said, adding that the pupils were aged between seven and nine.
She said the ministry expected the numbers to grow.
“It will take time to educate the community on the importance of education,” said Teo during the meet with reporters.
“The nearest school for the Bateq community is 100km away.
“Although there are hostels, parents are not comfortable sending their children that far away.”