New housing boom creates school shortage: Expert urges developer involvement

Education struggles to keep pace with urban growth

Siti Aisyah Mohamad
Siti Aisyah Mohamad
21 Mar 2024 08:15pm
Dr Anuar Ahmad - Photo by Sinar
Dr Anuar Ahmad - Photo by Sinar
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SHAH ALAM - There is no specific mechanism to ensure that basic infrastructure development such as schools can keep pace with the rate of growth in new urban areas, resulting in overcrowding in certain places.

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia's Diversity Education Research Centre's senior lecturer Dr Anuar Ahmad said this situation causes students from new urban areas to concentrate in old areas due to the lack of facilities.

As a result, developers in a particular area need to be involved in the school construction process, not only by providing land but also by leasing it through tax payments.

"Looking at the existing policy, developers must provide land for school construction, but we need to adapt to the changing technological environment and rapid development.

"In the past, it might take seven to 10 years to build a house...now, many can be completed in less time, but there are still no schools in new urban areas due to projections and allocations.

"So, developers should be involved in school construction so that when a housing project is completed, there is also a school in that area, and students will not be concentrated in old schools," he said.

He said this when speaking as a panellist at a forum series titled 'Still facing overcrowded classrooms in 2024?' broadcasted live on all Sinar digital platforms yesterday.

The programme, hosted by Ismail Adnan, also featured Education Ministry's (MOE) Education Policy Planning and Research Division Deputy Director Dr Wan Noor Azhar Wan Sulaiman and retired teacher Dr Munira Hussin as panellists.

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"Since the 1970s, this issue has existed, but back then we practised an examination system where teachers only taught and this system caused students to pay more attention to teaching because they needed to understand and memorise when answering exams later.

"So, no matter how many students there were, it wasn't a concern at that time, just like in universities where there were 200 students in one class, but there were exams at the end.

"But in this 21st-century learning system, classroom assessment requires teachers to observe each student individually.

"Imagine if there are 45 students in a class and the teacher is required to teach five classes in one day," he said.

Anuar added that the risk of poor education would occur without changes to the education system itself.

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