PUTRAJAYA: Seven Tamil schools today received a special allocation of RM1.8 million from Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to build pre-school classrooms.
MIC president Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said the development of the pre-schools was to meet the early childhood education needs among children from the Indian community.
"Under the initiative by the government in collaboration with Yayasan Rakyat 1Malaysia (YR1M), the Prime Minister agreed to allocate RM1.8 million to develop pre-schools at six Tamil schools namely SJKT Seaport, Petaling Jaya; SJKT Ladang Senawang; Negri Sembilan; SJKT Ladang Henrietta, Kedah; SJKT Klebang, Perak; SJKT Pasir Gudang, Johor; and SJKT Subramaniya Barathee; Penang.
''On a cost-saving policy, YR1M and Socioeconomic Development of Indian Community Unit (Sedic) were able to add one more pre-school to the list, which is at SJKT Ladang Bukit Bertam, Negri Sembilan, making a total of seven schools.
"The pre-school at SJKT Seaport started its operation on Jan 3 last year. Three pre-schools which have been completed and are expected to start operations soon are SJKT Klebang, SJKT Ladang Bukit Bertam and SJKT Ladang Henrietta," he told reporters at a press conference at Menara Usahawan here.
Three pre-schools which were still under construction were at SJKT Ladang Senawang, SJKT Pasir Gudang and SJKT Subramaniya Barathee.
Dr Subramaniam, who is also Health Minister, said each pre-school could accommodate 25 pupils.
He said Sedic would bear the furniture and equipment cost of RM10,000 for six schools that were earlier listed in the Tamil pre-school development project.
He said in last year's budget, RM10 million was allocated for the construction of 50 pre-school classrooms in Tamil schools nationwide, but it was insufficient to accommodate the pre-school enrolment.
"As a short-term measure, the government, through Sedic, supported the non-governmental organisations that implement pre-school programmes. A total of RM7 million was allocated annually to help the NGOs pay the salaries of preschool teachers.
"Through this government initiative, an additional 7,000 students had the opportunity to study in preschools to prepare themselves for the next phase of education in primary schools," he said.
Dr Subramaniam also announced that RM50,000 will be channeled to SJKT Persiaran Raja Muda Musa in Port Klang, in addition to the RM1.2 million special allocation approved by the Prime Minister, for the construction of a five-storey new building.
He said the school was the pride of the Indian community as it was the first school to have elevator facility.