Heatwave in Malaysia: Education Ministry mulling over temporary school closure

KLANG: The Education Ministry will decide if schools should be temporarily closed due to the heatwave, said Deputy Education Minister Datuk P. Kamalanathan.

He said the relevant authorities were monitoring the situation closely and would consider the option if it became too hot when schools reopen later.

"Since it is the school holidays now, children could stay indoor and minimise outdoor activities until the schools reopen next week.

"However, we will consider closing schools if the need arises," he said when met after attending a youth dance programme here yesterday.

Kamalanathan was asked if public schools would be advised to close following the current hot spell that could bring a heatwave and the forecast of scorching heat on March 20, a day before the schools reopen.

He said that right now, a ministry's standard circular allowed school administrators to decide based on the existing standard procedures.

"The circular empowers the principals and headmasters that under such instances when the weather is too hot, they can take action such as stop having classes outdoor.

"Considering that the weather is worse now, we will make sure the relevant information is updated and sent to all state Education Departments directors within these two days.

"They can then advise all school principals and headmasters to prevent students from getting involved in outdoor activities at school if it gets too hot when the schools reopen later," he said, adding that schools in the other countries actually shut down during heatwave attacks.

Kamalanathan noted that the Education Ministry would be guiĀ­ded by the standards set by the Environment Ministry on whether to close schools or not when it gets too hot.

"They have the expertise, which we do not have.

"Once we get the needed information from them, we will decide on the next course of action," he said.

Kamalanathan also added that meetings with all relevant ministries and agencies were ongoing to discuss issues concerning schools and students welfare.