Disheartening to see pupil of Tamil school forced to study in container classrooms

IN this day and age, we still see students studying in container classrooms. Pupils and teachers of a Tamil primary school are in the dark over the fate of the school’s new building.

Nothing is new about the students of SJK (Tamil) Ladang Jeram along Jalan Kuantan bypass road using containers as their classroom for almost 33 years. The construction of the new school building in the vicinity was never completed despite a budget being allocated by the Education Ministry in 2016.

The school is still waiting for a favourable decision from the Education Ministry. 33 years is a long wait. A piece of land and funds had already been allocated for the new building but the status of the new school’s construction was still pending and embroiled in controversy.

Newly-minted Education Minister Fadhlina Sidek must adopt a more serious and systematic intervention in resolving the container classroom issue.

The Education Ministry should keep in mind that the classroom is a child’s second home and therefore they should make efforts to make students feel as comfortable as possible.

A classroom plays a major role in the teaching and learning process for it sets the tone and climate for a conducive learning environment.

The Ladang Jeram Tamil school is surrounded by palm oil plantation. Young pupils should not become victim as they have to endure lessons in sweltering heat during the hot weather and sightings of snakes around the school were common.

The new school building was supposed to be built on a three-acre site located about 5km from the current container makeshift school but was delayed due to land title issue.

The original school building was reportedly demolished by a development company which took over the estate for commercial development years ago on the condition it would build a new school building.

The project which was supposed to be completed in August 2016 was extended to November 2018. However, there had been no development to date. Construction work never took off even after earthworks were completed as the contractor ran into trouble.

The initial cost was estimated at RM 14.8 mil for two blocks of one-storey and three-storey high with the budget already allocated by the Education Ministry in 2016.

The original wooden structure of the school built by Jeram Estate Sdn Bhd in 1952 was torn down when the estate was sold to Pasdec for a residential project in the mid 1990. The developer then allowed pupils and teachers to occupy the cabins as part of a temporary arrangement until a school building could be built.

The 71-year-old SJK (Tamil) Ladang Jeram has 40 students, 10 teachers and five staff. The school lacks facilities as it is only partially aided and sits on a private land.

Every child, including the world’s most disadvantaged, has the right to an education because it has the power to change lives.

The classroom plays an important part in learner engagement and the environment is one of the most important factors that affect student learning. Education is a powerful tool for breaking the cycle of poverty too. – Feb 4, 2023


Now a political analyst, M.Vivekananthan has served the government of Malaysia at various ministries, agencies for almost 30 years. He was previously a private secretary to ministers and deputy ministers.

The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.


Main pic credit: New Straits Times

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