KUALA LUMPUR, June 15 — The Ministry of Education plans to extend the special class project (Prokhas) to more Orang Asli settlements in the country, in efforts to resolve the problem of dropout among the community’s children, due to the distance of the settlements from the schools.
According to Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching it would take some time before the project could be implemented as the Orang Asli community would have 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 years have been enlisted under the programme, since the project was launched last April.
“This is a pilot project and if it is feasible, we will implement it in other areas,” she told reporters when met after the opening of the Fully Residential Schools International Symposium (FRSIS) 2019 at the Gombak Integrated Fully Boarding School near here today.
The three-day symposium, themed Smart Industry Reforming The World is participated by 324 boarding school students from Malaysia and other countries including Japan, Vietnam, the Philippines and Indonesia.
Teo added that the ministry had also introduced various initiatives aimed at encouraging the Orang Asli community to get their children to attend school sessions.
“To attract these Orang Asli children to come to school, students under the Prokhas programme will receive the supplementary food plan (RMT) aid and on top of that their parents will also be given food aid,” she said.
Meanwhile Teo denied claims that 45,000 contract school cleaners would be laid off following the ministry’s move to implement a new tender format beginning this year.
However, she admitted that there would be a reduction in the number of workers as the term of contract would now be based on the area to be covered instead of the student population of each school.
“I cannot give the exact figure but the number will definitely be less than 45,000,” she said adding that the ministry would try to get an additional budget of RM3 billion from the Finance Ministry to solve the problems faced by the contract workers nationwide. — Bernama