KUALA LUMPUR: The education ministry has denied claims that 45,000 contract school cleaners would be laid off following the move to implement a new tender format beginning this year.
Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching however admitted there would be a reduction in the number of workers as the terms of the contracts would now be based on the area to be covered instead of the student population at each school.
“I cannot give the exact figure but the number will definitely be less than 45,000.”
She said the ministry was trying to get an additional budget of RM3 billion from the finance ministry to solve the problems faced by these contract workers nationwide.
These contract workers take care of security services, as well as building and area cleanliness.
Meanwhile, Teo said the ministry planned to extend the special class project (Prokhas) to more Orang Asli settlements in the country.
This is necessary to resolve the problem of dropouts among the community’s children, due to the distance of the settlements from the schools.
She said the Orang Asli community first needed to be made aware of the importance of education to help them progress.
“So far, 23 Orang Asli students from the Batek tribe, aged between seven and nine, have been enlisted under the programme, since the project was launched in April.
“This is a pilot project and we intend to implement it in other areas,” she said after opening the Fully Residential Schools International Symposium 2019 at the Gombak Integrated Fully Boarding School near here today.
The three-day symposium, with the theme Smart Industry Reforming The World, is participated by 324 boarding school students from Malaysia and countries like Japan, Vietnam, the Philippines and Indonesia.
Teo said to encourage Orang Asli children to come to school, students under the Prokhas programme will receive the supplementary food plan aid. Their parents will also be given such food aid, she added.