KANGAR: The Education Ministry does not restrict anyone, including politicians whether from the government or Opposition, from hold or being invited to programmes held on school grounds, says Fadhlina Sidek.
The Education Minister, however, stressed that those interested should apply and adhere to the 2023 circular No 4 on guidelines for invitations or visits by dignitaries and politicians to education institutes issued by the ministry.
"Actually, the ministry has issued guidelines not only for dignitaries and politicians, but also for everyone, including non-governmental organisations (NGO) and individuals, all of whom need permission from the ministry.
"We have detailed the process in the guidelines, including getting approval within 30 days, who is inviting, whoever is attending must submit an application and also a programme itinerary, objectives and impact must be available,” she said in response to allegations that Opposition leaders were not allowed into a school to attend a programme there.
She added that the guidelines were used by all parties and the ministry did not have any issue allowing individuals into schools as long as the guidelines are obeyed.
"For the record, if there is no application, you can’t go in. It’s our duty to ensure the safety and welfare of everyone at schools,” Fadhlina said, adding that the ministry did not differentiate in the matter.
On teachers retiring early, she said her ministry took the matter seriously and had taken necessary steps to tackle the issue, including strengthening the teaching ecosystem by providing support services to teachers.
"The ministry has also taken steps to boost professionalism so that teachers can handle the education system with mental, emotional and professional support, as well as development training so that their career development is clearer.
"These forms of support will strengthen the ecosystem and at the same time we take this seriously as teacher placements and the shortage of teachers will impact schools and the education system,” she said.
The ministry has also held discussions with the Education Services Commission to replace teachers who retired early.
Fadhlina had attended a breaking of fast event with educators at the Perlis Teachers’ Training Institute here and announced an allocation of RM300,000 to maintain the facility. - Bernama