KUCHING: The Education Ministry should not rely on circular discussions in deciding whether smaller schools should be merged.

Santubong MP Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the ministry should instead consider the potential increase in the number of population in the areas where the affected schools are located.

Wan Junaidi

“Also consult the state governments and the state’s planning ministry,” he advised.

Wan Junaidi said holding discussions with affected schools were good but very often teachers would not dare oppose decisions taken by ministry officials.

He opined that the views of community leaders must also be taken into account.

“Meet the people in the affected villages and listen to their wishes and opinions,” he added.

He also said that schools taking in the additional students must be well equipped.

“This includes classrooms, hostels, toilets and other amenities, should the students agree to be relocated,” he expressed.

On Tuesday, Deputy Minister of Education Teo Nie Ching said that schools in Sarawak with low enrolment would only be merged based on discussions with parents and the local community.

Teo was responding to a question from Wan Junaidi on the number of primary and secondary schools in Sarawak that would be merged.

She said her ministry through the state Education Department in collaboration with the State government was in the process of consulting all relevant parties before making a decision.