KUALA LUMPUR — Part of the RM500 million allocated to the Education Ministry to improve national schools next year will be utilised to repair immediately the infrastructure in 600 national schools throughout the country which are old and need immediate aid.

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said these schools were identified following a physical auditing process implemented for the first time this year to determine the actual situation of infrastructure in all schools.

“I have decided that out of the RM500 million, which was announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak when tabling the 2012 Budget last month to improve the national schools, a major portion would be used to repair the schools which we have listed as in bad shape.

“This is important for us in order to ensure that the quality of learning at these schools do not drop just because the schools are in bad shape and unsafe and need to be repaired,” he told reporters after attending an open dialogue with 50 graduands of selected universities to attend the “Teach For Malaysia” (Teach) programme, here today.

Commenting on the physical audit process, Muhyiddin, who is also the Education Minister, said previously the ministry had implemented the process but it was implemented on an ad-hoc basis, while it was now being implemented comprehensively.

“It’s not only in terms of the physical aspect, but also looking at additional requirements such as more classrooms and teachers room,” he said.

Earlier, Muhyiddin responded to several questions from 50 Teach graduands known as “fellows” who would be deployed to 17 schools that needed teachers in three states, namely Negeri Sembilan, Selangor and Kuala Lumpur to teach important subjects such as English language, Mathematics, Science, History and Geography.

Responding to a question from a graduand on how to become a teacher that brings significant changes to contribute to the school’s success, the minister said it depended on the willingness of the teacher himself/herself to initiate changes.

The responsibility of a teacher was not only to teach his students according to the syllabus specified by the government but should instead develop the student’s character and thinking to become an ideal human capital for the nation too, he said.

In order to achieve this objective, he said a teacher must be willing to work beyond his work schedule and strive to come up with an approach to get closer to the students in a creative and innovative manner.

“We hope that teachers will not only focus on the task that had been listed in their work schedule, if they teach a certain subject they focus on the curriculum and text books only. They should also have the initiative and adopt more creative and innovative methods.

“If they can present more innovative methods, then their assessment will be much better than the teachers who are not innovative,” he said.

The 50 graduands represent the first cohort of the programme organised by ‘Yayasan Teach’ who were selected from 900 applicants and they are graduates of the top universities including the University of Malaya, Universiti Help, Harvard University, University of Cambridge and University of Melbourne.

They would be deployed to the designated scools and teach for at least two years in an effort to reduce the teaching gap through a cooperation between the foundation and the ministry with the support of several corporate bodies.