Private sector to play role in improving schools

PRIVATE companies are adopting government schools under an exciting new initiative to improve their performance.

These Trust Schools will enjoy greater flexibility in certain areas although the Education Ministry will remain in charge. Education deputy director-general (Education Ope­rations) Datuk Noor Rezan Bapoo Hashim said that the ministry was partnering with Khazanah Nasional Berhad in a pilot project which involves 10 schools – five in Johor and five in Sarawak.

“The Trust Schools initiative will see a corporate culture entering schools and it is hoped that this will energise and spur them to improve further.

“We are only piloting with Khazanah at the moment but we will rope in more companies if the results (of the pilot project) are satisfactory,” said Noor Rezan.

The five schools in Johor are concentrated in the Iskandar Deve­lopment Region while most of the schools in Sarawak are based in Kuching.

Guidelines have already been put in place for the project to take off and the ministry has set a 2:3:5 adoption rule – two top performing schools, three average schools and five underperforming ones – for companies.

“The idea is to upgrade the performance of all schools.

“Companies can’t have all the good schools as the average and underperforming ones require more help.

“The Trust Schools initiative complements the School Improvement Pro­gramme and companies must adopt a mixture of schools from Band 1 (the crème de la crème) to Band 7 using the 2:3:5 ratio.

“We hope that companies will manage these schools like their businesses to improve the schools’ performance and overall quality,’’ she said.

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin first mentioned the Trust Schools project after the 10th Malaysia Plan was tabled in Parliament on June 10.

Describing the scheme as a private sector corporate social responsibility initiative, Muhyiddin said that his ministry would work out details on how the schools could be given more flexibility without contravening the Education Act.

The soft launch for the Trust Schools initiative was held on Sept 7.

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