Lack of school cleaners


Compiled by C. ARUNO, FATIMAH ZAINAL and R. ARAVINTHAN

SCHOOLS across the country are facing a severe shortage of cleaners, and forcing teachers and students to assume responsibility for the cleanliness of toilets and corridors, reported Sin Chew Daily.

According to a survey by the daily, many school cleaners have left for better paying jobs in the private sector.

The sudden exodus of cleaners has led to dirty toilets. The paper said the situation is so bad that many students say they would rather not pee until they reached home.

According to the SMK Bandar Utama 3 parent-teacher association, the cleaners have “run away” as their salaries have yet to reflect the new minimum wage of RM1,500.

The school, which used to have five cleaners, has had no cleaner at all for the past one month, according to the association president.

When contacted, Deputy Education Minister Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon confirmed that he has received reports about this from state education departments and district education offices.

They complained that the cleaning contractors were reneging on their contracts and did not send cleaners as often as promised.

“If the contracting company does not supply enough cleaners, or only sends cleaners every two or three days, this goes against the contract.

“The schools should report the matter to the district education office and the contractor involved will be blacklisted,” he added.

Dr Mah said district education offices will attempt to negotiate with the contractor to solve the matter.

“They (the district education offices) are currently collecting data on school size and number of students to reassess how many cleaners needed,” he said.

On cleaners leaving for greener pastures, Dr Mah said that from May 1 all wages negotiated with contractors began from the RM1,500 minimum rate.

The above articles are compiled from the vernacular newspapers (Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese and Tamil dailies). As such, stories are grouped according to the respective language/medium. Where a paragraph begins with a >, it denotes a separate news item.

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