PUTRAJAYA: Better and cleaner buildings are in the works as part of the Education Ministry’s plan to create a more conducive learning environment in schools.

Its minister Datuk Dr Radzi Jidin said better building designs would be adopted to ensure that infrastructure and facilities were comfortable for students and teachers.

These included improving air ventilation in toilets and classrooms, he said.

“Parents and teachers have spoken about the poor conditions of toilets in schools, which is caused by poor ventilation,” he said.

“We will review (the design and construction) of school toilets to prevent the facility from smelling bad and to ensure its cleanliness.

“Our toilets are always wet and students fear that they might get their clothes dirty.

“Some students even skip breakfast because they don’t want to use the toilets at school,” he said during the “Fuelling Education Transformation: Safe And Conducive Infrastructure” press conference at Sekolah Sultan Alam Shah here yesterday.

Due to poor ventilation, school toilets remained wet throughout the day, he said, adding that window designs would also be reviewed to make them more durable.

Radzi said efforts would also be made to ensure that the process of building and maintaining schools was financially sustainable.

“We want school designs that are simple yet impactful so that each sen is spent optimally,” he added.

Noting that school repair works sometimes entailed a lot of red tape, he said the ministry was looking to minimise maintenance time.

“We will improve the processes involved,” he said, adding that personal donations for the construction of school facilities should be done through a systematic process.

He said the ministry had received reports of infrastructures built by private donors that were unsafe as they did not meet certain safety specifications.

“The ministry then has to step in to repair the donated facilities at a high cost,” he said, adding that to facilitate the construction of future infrastructure buildings, the land status of the schools involved must first be resolved.

To date, some 30% of land legalisation issues involving 2,000 schools nationwide had been resolved, he noted.

On a separate matter, Radzi said the selection guidelines for motivational speakers to address students in schools, would be reviewed.

This, he said, was to ensure the safety of students and to avoid any untoward incidents such as sexual abuse.

He was commenting on the recent arrest of a motivational speaker for alleged sexual abuse of four teenagers.

The motivational speaker was arrested after police reports claiming sexual abuse were lodged against him by four individuals aged 17 and 18.

The suspect, a known motivational speaker in his 40s, had met the victims through motivational programmes at schools across Selangor.

After getting to know them, the suspect would sexually abuse the victims, Selangor police chief Comm Datuk Arjunaidi Mohamed said in a statement on Sept 10.

In July, netizens took to social media to vent their frustrations after a secondary school in Kuala Lumpur invited a “mat rempit” to speak at a school.

Radzi said the ministry had not been informed of the invitation and that the matter would be looked into after the video went viral.