A new formula for distributing school infrastructure allocations has resulted in big budget boosts for government schools and Chinese vernacular schools.
All other school types will see budget cuts, the sharpest suffered by boarding schools, conforming schools, religious schools and Tamil schools.
However, when calculated on average, each school is eligible for a similar amount of funding.
Simply put, school types that are fully funded by the government and numerous in number will receive more funding.
In a breakdown provided by Education Minister Radzi Jidin to the Dewan Rakyat, government primary and secondary schools will receive RM477.48 million in total next year, compared to the RM300 million in 2020.
This is a 57.5 percent increase.
Compared to the RM50 million in 2020, Chinese vernacular schools (government and government-aided) have been allocated a total of RM74.07 million next year.
This is a 48.1 percent increase.
These two school types make up a bulk of all schools nationwide.
Of the 10,223 schools under the ministry, 7,694 (74.6 percent) are government schools while 1,300 (12.7 percent) are Chinese vernacular schools.
All other school types will see sharp budget cuts, especially boarding schools (91.44 percent cut), conforming schools (79.5 percent cut) and religious schools (75.54 percent cut).
Compared to the RM50 million received this year, the 65 government boarding schools have been allocated a total of RM4.28 million next year.
The 74 conforming schools (government and government-aided) received RM20 million in 2020 but will receive RM4.11 million in 2021.
A conforming school is an SMJK which uses the national syllabus but has Mandarin language as a compulsory subject.
Compared to the RM50 million they received this year, the 224 religious schools (government-aided) will receive RM12.23 million in 2021.
Missionary schools (government and government-aided) saw a 58.1 percent budget cut and will receive RM20.94 million. There are 382 such schools.
Tamil vernacular schools (government and government-aided) saw a 40 percent cut – from RM50.00 million this year to RM29.98 million in 2021. There are 527 Tamil schools in Malaysia.
A more proportionate formula
Radzi offered a more detailed media briefing at the Resource and Education Technology Auditorium Hall in Bukit Kiara, Kuala Lumpur, yesterday.
The RM620 million lump sum allocated for school infrastructure was first divided by the 10,223 schools nationwide to get an RM60,648 per school average.
Using this average, government-aided schools that each get 90 percent funding and number 1,930 schools that will get a total of RM105.34 million.
The remaining RM514.66 million is to be distributed to the 8,293 government schools.
This constitutes an 83 percent share of the budget pie for government schools and 17 percent for government-aided schools.
“Government schools are the government’s responsibility. We help government-assisted schools as much as we can.
“I think this percentage (of allocations) is more proportionate,” the minister said during the briefing.
Asked what factors had been considered, Radzi said the formula had taken into account the type, category and numbers of schools.
“This is a very straightforward calculation. No other factors were involved. It is very transparent and I think this is a calculation that can be understood by everyone,” he answered.
Schools can apply for more
Besides allocations for school infrastructure, the ministry has also allocated the following:
RM50 million for government educational institutions;
RM50 million to slope repairs;
RM50 million to build and upgrade open-air halls; and
RM30 million in “critical funds”.
Radzi explained that these critical funds were reserved for schools in categories that had been allocated RM30 million and below but needed urgent repair.
Based on the allocation breakdown, this means that all school types, except for government and Chinese vernacular schools, will be able to apply for these critical funds.
THE MALAYSIAN INSIGHT / MKINI