PADANG TERAP: There is no pressing need at the moment to increase the number of new Chinese vernacular schools apart from the 10 already approved by the government end of last year.
Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid said the need was there with regards to the approval of the new 10 schools in Selangor and Johor, as the existing SJKC schools in the areas concerned could no longer accommodate the increasing number of students.
However, he stressed that the government was not rejecting the call entirely.
Mahdzir, who is also Padang Terap MP said the basis in approving new schools, both in rural and urban areas, depended on the growth of the local population.
"It depends heavily on economic activity in that particular area such as new development or industrialisation which lead to the growth in population.
"When the number of feeder schools (primary national schools or primary vernacular schools), increase up to five schools and the existing secondary schools could no longer accommodate new students from the feeder schools, then we will need to build a new one for that particular area.
"The approval is also being considered for old schools built in the 1970s which have hit their maximum capacity of between 2,800 to 3,000 students population, despite undertaking several expansion process," he said after attending a gathering with Kuala Nerang Hospital staff here today.
Mahdzir was responding to the call by Chinese education group, Dong Zhong's for government to approve 44 new SJKC schools nationwide recently.
He said the approval of new schools is based on recommendation by the respective state Education Department.
He added that the construction of the 10 new schools in Selangor and Johor are set to begin by this year and expected to be completed within 24 months.
"The process begins with land acquisition, design, the appointment of a project consultant, and before we proceed to the tender process, we need to secure approval from the local government.
"Once these process are completed, then only we appoint the contractor and the project is expected to be completed between one to two years," he said.