PETALING JAYA: Several key issues affecting the education system were tackled based on their priority, says Datuk Dr Radzi Jidin(pic).
Among them, the Education Minister said, was reopening schools after it was closed for a prolonged period due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Before we made the decision to reopen schools, we discussed the matter with various parties to get their views, such as teachers, parents and school management.
“Reopening schools this time around was different than last year, where vaccines were not administered yet.
“This year, although cases were high at the time when schools were reopening, vaccines were already available where the entire school ecosystem was already vaccinated. So it's a safe environment,” he said during a live telecast with Bernama on Tuesday (Nov 23) in conjunction with the Malaysian Family Aspirations; 100 days in the Education Ministry.
Dilapidated buildings in schools was another focus, with RM746mil allocated during Budget 2022 to upgrade such buildings in schools, he added.
Radzi said the ministry wants all students in the country to attend schools in a safe, comfortable and conducive environment.
“We don’t want any child left behind and one of the main things under the Malaysian Family Aspirations is to provide safe and comfortable infrastructure for students.
“We realised that some schools also do not have sheltered areas for students to wait for their parents or do their activities.
“Starting last year, we focused on providing open halls (dewan terbuka) in schools. It is a necessity for students to carry out their outside classroom activities,” he said, adding that facilities such as Internet connection could be provided in these halls as a way forward.
To overcome the age-old problem of teacher shortage, Radzi said the shortfall would be filled through the one-off intake of 18,702 graduate teachers on a permanent basis.
He said there was a huge shortage of teachers at the time he entered the ministry, stating that this caused other teachers to bear the burden.
“So we knew we had to solve this. It was a big gap to bridge so we used a new approach where we see what an education graduate can teach based on the major they took.
“It provides them with wider opportunities.
“Our priority in this one-off initiative are graduates with education backgrounds but in the context of specific subjects, there is a shortage so we opened it up to those without an education background who will be taken in if there are vacancies - they will undergo training once they are in the system,” he added.
Separately, the ministry released a questionnaire on students' permission to bring and use mobile phones in school.
It said the questionnaire aims to receive feedback from various parties regarding permission to allow students to carry and use mobile phones in schools.
The findings from this survey, the ministry said, will be used make plans and decisions related to the matter.
The questionnaire can be accessed from Tuesday (Nov 23) until Dec 7 at moe.gov.my/e-penyertaanmenu/soal-selidik.