Celestina Soares – The General Director of the Ministry of Education (ME) Antoninho Pires said many public schools are not in good condition and do not follow prescribed education standard, according to research conducted in 2015.
Director Pires added in 2016 and 2017 the ministry started identifying these schools so that they can be added to rehabilitation programs underway in 2018.
"We have managed to identify 78% of the schools with poor conditions. We have started rehabilitating some but we still have limitations with our budget," he said in Dili.
The Ministry of Education allocates some five (5) million dollars annually for school rehabilitation projects.
"We cannot rehabilitate them all in the one year, as we have to work with our existing budget," he said. "I hope the upcoming government can approve more budget for the program," he said.
He added that the amount usually allocated for schools' rehabilitation is not enough to attend the needs of all schools that need work.
Meanwhile, the National Secretary for Education Network from the Timor-Leste Coalition for Education (TLCE) Jose Monteiro said some schools need repairs due to natural disasters and others because the infrastructure is already old.
He asked the government to look at this issue so that students can have a more adequate learning experience.
"We see the Ministry has worked hard, and so far, they have managed to fix some schools, but not all of them," he said.
He also urged the General Director Pires to not worry about politics but get programs ready for the new government once it takes office."That way when there is a new government they can address the needs of schools that have poor infrastructure," he said.