In July, the P104 office started preparations for a paper on schools in the Subang Constituency. It all started when YB Wong Chen attended a school function and realised the dire need for infrastructure repairs. Months later, the paper on the State Of Schools has been published. YB Wong Chen has also met up with YB Maszlee, the Minister of Education, to highlight this issue.
This has caught the eye of FMT reporters, and below is their summary.
PETALING JAYA: Schools under the Subang parliamentary constituency require a total of RM19.3 million for infrastructure maintenance and repairs.
This is according to a research paper by the office of Subang MP Wong Chen.
He based the calculations on the conditions of 31 out of 52 schools that participated in the research.
Wong, who was denied entry to government schools in his constituency during the Barisan Nasional administration, decided to carry out the research after noticing the state of disrepair in these schools. His team visited the participating schools and spoke to the people in charge.
Wong said many of these schools had issues securing funding for maintenance and repair works.
The survey found many of the schools displayed extensive and serious infrastructural damage.
However, many face common problems, with the top five issues being termite infestation (52%), exposed or old wiring (45%), old, rusty, clogged or leaking pipes (39%), leaking, collapsed or damaged roofs (39%), cracked walls and need for repainting (36%).
The paper stated that schools requesting for funds to make repairs did not get a response or were turned down due to insufficient funds.
It also noted that many schools didn’t even bother to report the damages to the district education office (PPD) any more as they had given up on getting financial help, resorting instead to holding donation drives with the help of parent-teacher associations (PIBG) and students.
Operating expenditure insufficient
Most of the allocations given to schools are usually insufficient to cover actual costs.
The allocations are also significantly inconsistent, with the highest amount fixed at RM86 per student and the lowest at RM18 per student. No reasons were given for this wide disparity.
The survey also discovered that the ratio gap of guidance teachers (or counsellors) to students was too high, with the highest being 1:1,926.
Funds allocated for counselling were also very low, with one school of 600 students allocated just RM2,500 a year.
Funds allocated per subject were also too low and differed between the arts and science streams. Shortage of administration staff and delays in receiving funds were also reported.
No functioning internet facility
Some schools do not have adequate or functioning facilities like internet connection, equipment for classrooms or canteens, smaller classrooms and teachers’ rooms.
It was noted that the district education offices had made co-curricular competitions compulsory for schools to participate in. However, schools had to pay the compulsory registration fees per team, per category and per competition.
This placed substantial financial burdens on schools as no extra funding was provided.
This lead schools to collect donations from the PIBG and students to make up for the already insufficient funds. Cluster schools were luckier as they are given extra funding for this purpose.
Besides requiring RM19.3 million to fix the schools in Subang, the report recommends that schools be required to run based on a centralised budget or be allowed to plan based on their own needs.
It also urges the education ministry to hire at least one more person to specifically manage infrastructure and funding needs so that it won’t affect teachers’ teaching quality.
Some schools have suggested that they should be allowed to appoint their own contractors to save costs as the current process of appointing a contractor is too long, inefficient and costly.
Here is the link to the FMT report: