Archive for the ‘Educational Issues’ Category

Formula for school maintenance allocation distribution, says Radzi

Wednesday, November 25th, 2020
KUALA LUMPUR: The school maintenance allocation under Budget 2021 will be distributed according to a formula based on the number of schools as well as the category such as government school or government-aided school.

Senior Education Minister Dr Radzi Jidin said the formula is to ensure more a comprehensive distribution of the RM620 million allocation specially for maintenance of schools under the Ministry of Education (MOE) nationwide.

“During an engagement session with the Finance Ministry, MOE has sought to be given the responsibility to determine the distribution of maintenance allocation for schools and educational institutions under MOE.

“This is to ensure the distribution is carried out more comprehensively by taking into consideration the number and type of school,” he said when winding up the debate on the 2021 Supply Bill at Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

He said to date, there are 10,223 schools under MOE comprising 8,293 government schools and 1,930 government-aided schools.

The types of schools for the two categories cover Sekolah Kebangsaan (SK); Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK); Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan Cina (SJKC); Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan Tamil (SJKT); Missionary Schools; Conforming Schools (Sekolah Menengah Jenis Kebangsaan); and Government-Aided Religious School (Sekolah Agama Bantuan Kerajaan).

In this regard, Radzi said under the formula, the ceiling allocation for the types of schools are RM477.48 million for SK and SMK government schools including residential school and vocational colleges while government-aided SK and SMK schools get RM1.2 million.

“Government and government-aided SJKC are allocated RM74.07 million; government and government aided SJKT, RM29.98 million; as well as government and government-assisted missionary schools RM20.94 million,” he said.

“Apart from that, government and government-assisted Conforming Schools will receive RM4.11 million and government-aided religious schools RM12.23 million,” he said.

Meanwhile, when replying to an interjection by Teo Nie Ching (PH-Kulai) on the reopening of kindergartens in Johor and Melaka after the Conditional Movement Control Order had been lifted, Radzi said the matter is being studied.

“Kindergartens should still be closed, that is why I have to check the information given by the Honourable Member from Kulai, he said.

by Bernama.

Read more @

Budget 2021 vital to continuity of education system

Monday, November 23rd, 2020
KUALA LUMPUR: Budget 2021 is vital to the education sector so that all the planning and direction of the Ministry of Education (MOE) for next year will not be affected.

Under the budget, the education sector continues to receive the largest allocation of RM50.4 billion or 15.6 per cent of the total government expenditure, which includes aspects of student health in schools, infrastructure repair, learning facilities and the empowerment of the Technical Education and Vocational Training (TVET) and special education.

National Union of Teaching Profession (NUTP) president Aminuddin Awang said that if Budget 2021 was not approved, it would disrupt the continuity and momentum of the country’s education system.

“We are worried that all the processes, especially the planned improvement and maintenance of schools, will not be implemented according to schedule. Not only that, it will also affect low-income families from the B40 group, such as through the Supplementary Food Programme (RMT), which involves many students from that group,” he told Bernama.

Malaysian Muslim Teachers’ Association (i-Guru) president Mohd Azizee Hasan felt the same, saying that rejecting the budget would affect the teaching and learning process (PdP) online.

He said this was because Budget 2021, among others, focused on increasing Internet access through the National Digital Infrastructure Plan (Jendela) initiative, which aims to ensure connectivity of a total of 430 schools nationwide, and the RM1.5 billion Jaringan Prihatin, which will benefit eight million from the B40 group.

“This assistance will reduce their financial burden in obtaining Internet facilities. They will each receive RM180 to be used for Internet subscription expenses or to cover part of the cost of purchasing a new mobile phone,’ he said.

These initiatives will, thus, increase Internet access as well as ensure students do not miss out on the learning process.

A similar view was expressed by Malaysian Sign Language and Deaf Studies Association (MyBIM) deputy president Amir Hamidi Abd Manan, who described the failure to continue with Budget 2021 would have a big impact on the special education sector.

“The RM45 million allocation is a huge amount for the special education sector. Without it, the ministry will have difficulty in carrying out special education empowerment work as scheduled,” he said.

According to him, there were various plans which could be improved to strengthen the special education sector, such as further raising the skills of Malaysian Sign Language (BIM) among special education teachers, bridging the digital divide and improving TV Pendidikan with the services of certified BIM interpreters.

Meanwhile, National Association of Skilled Workers (PKPB) secretary-general Mohammad Rizan Hassan said rejecting Budget 2021 would affect the process of producing skilled manpower for the country’s industrial needs as public and private training providers would not be able to spend.

He said the industry needed skilled manpower urgently and failure to empower the TVET would cause industries to think many times about continuing their operations in this country.

“Currently, many public and private training providers are implementing the National Economic Recovery Plan (PENJANA) initiative through the Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF) and Social Security Organisation (Socso), which fully rely on government funds for training in skills development as well as employment opportunities for the affected people, including youths.

“In fact, Budget 2021 also allocates up to RM6 billion for TVET across many ministries, such as the National Dual Training System (SLDN), National Apprenticeship Scheme (SPN) and Skills Development and Fund Corporation (PTPK), which is believed to be able to attract youths,” he said.

by Bernama.

Read more @

We must inculcate ideal driving behaviour through policies, education

Saturday, November 21st, 2020
How drivers respond to a situation affects the movement of their vehicles. - NSTP file picHow drivers respond to a situation affects the movement of their vehicles. – NSTP file pic

BASED on studies from as early as the 1970s, drivers play important roles in road transport safety and efficiency.

Based on the models developed by the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (Miros) in predicting road fatalities in Malaysia, it is expected that the number of fatalities will increase to 10,716 this year. Last year, there were 6,167 road accident deaths, with 64 per cent of fatalities involving motorcyclists and pillion riders, according to reports.

According to a study by Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, most respondents in Selangor agree that they have driving behaviour that involve improper overtaking, tail-gating and disobeying traffic lights.

Efforts and interventions to address this have been introduced, but unfortunately,nurturing good driving behaviour and attitudes have not been receiving the attention it deserves. How drivers respond to a situation affects the movement of their vehicles.

Their reactions are based on their attitudes, decisions, habits and spontaneity. Their reactions are also affected by internal and external factors, such as intentions, conscience and mental state, which could be affected by substances such as drugs and alcohol.

It is crucial to tackle bad driving behaviour because bad drivers can cause accidents, traffic congestion, road rage, higher fuel consumption and higher production of exhaust gases.

Unfortunately, no technology can mitigate bad driving behaviour. Studies have proven that drivers who practise ideal driving behaviour reduce road risks, cut fuel use (five to 20 per cent), mitigate pollutants,improve traffic congestion and prevent road rage.

Thus, it is essential to establish a standard for ideal driving behaviour. The criteria for ideal driving behaviour should be based on safety, efficiency and convenience, which will benefit drivers, passengers, road users and the environment.

A code of ethics must be developed and enforced so that ideal driving behaviour can be nurtured.

It should cover discipline and courtesy towards other road users, such as eco-driving style, safe driving, avoiding distractions, parking ethics, emotions management, planning routes and vehicle maintenance.

When a driver has high awareness, sharp skills and measure their practices, an ideal driving behaviour can be achieved. To achieve this goal, changes must be made in policies and education.

Measures have been suggested based on scientific findings and many countries that have adapted them have seen positive results. With the alarming number of fatalities linked to driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, it justifies the need for a driving code of ethics.

Once everybody is aware about this code of ethics, nurturing an ideal driving behaviour in the young will come naturally. To implement the new code of ethics effectively, education programmes must embrace social media and use the power of information technology to reach every road user.

To ensure ideal driving behaviour becomes a reality, the responsibility must be shared. The relevant ministries must work with state and local governments, while vehicle manufacturers and distributors should contribute by providing training modules and awareness programmes to customers.

Educational institutions should play a role by including the ideal driving behaviour in their curriculum.

Last but not least, parents, who are role models for their children, must be the best example to the young ones by always practising safety measures like using a child car seat, seat belts, safety helmets, as well as respecting traffic lights, speed limits and the environment.

Even though ideal driving behaviour may seem difficult to achieve for Malaysian road users, it is still possible if everyone in related sectors work hand-in-hand towards that ultimate goal.

By Dr Mohd Azman Abas.

Read more @

NUTP urges MoE to review instructions for completing PdPR report

Friday, November 20th, 2020
NUTP has asked the Education Ministry (MoE) to review the policy for teaching and learning at home (PdPR) report due to the different struggles that both the teacher and student face during this pandemic. - NSTP/GHAZALI KORI.

NUTP has asked the Education Ministry (MoE) to review the policy for teaching and learning at home (PdPR) report due to the different struggles that both the teacher and student face during this pandemic. – NSTP/GHAZALI KORI.

KUALA LUMPUR The National Union of The Teaching Profession (NUTP) has asked the Education Ministry (MoE) to review the policy for teaching and learning at home (PdPR) report due to the different struggles that both the teacher and student face during this pandemic.

In a statement, the NUTP said teachers are required to complete the PdPR report on a daily basis using the links provided from Nov 17 until Dec 17 based on the notification letter issued by the MoE.

NUTP secretary general, Assocciate Lt. Col. Harry Tan Huat Hock said although the union was not completely against the directive, it urged for it to be reviewed due to problems faced by both teacher and student while they are going about the teaching and learning process at home.

“On Nov 18, we took an initiative and approached teachers to give their opinions and comments on the issue.

“One of the key points that were discussed based on feedback from teachers is that the MoE should focus on the main issues: internet accessibility, ability to purchase internet data and types of devices used.

“Teachers should be given the freedom to implement the PdPR because there is ample time for students to complete their daily homework. This is something which is not subjected to any 8am to 5pm regulation.

Tan said teachers are willing to receive their student’s homework at night as they understand the hardship that they have to go through.

“One of the difficulties that the teacher has to go through is when students are unable to submit their homework based on their deadline, which will hold up the reports that are needed to be submitted by the teachers.

“For example, there are students asking for permission if they can submit their homework at night due the father having to work and the unavailability of the mother, who needs to be at the clinic for dialysis.”

Tan added that overlapping reporting is not practical as teachers have to provide their reports to the school and fill out their online reporting.

“Our suggestion is for MoE to get the reports from the respective schools. The teachers have to fill in as many as 12 pages and the same thing needs to be filled in every day. It is burdensome to teachers who have a lot of classes on that day.

“The options in the reporting menu are also limited and confusing to teachers. They only fill in the report to meet the conditions which are far from what the actual target set by the MoE.”

He added that the NUTP urged Senior Education Minister Dr Radzi Jidin to look through all the necessities for the implementation of PdPR in the current education system.

By Irfan Izzuddin.

Read more @

Govt to close 5 Education Malaysia offices abroad

Monday, November 16th, 2020
Deputy Higher Education Minister Datuk Dr Mansor Othman informed the Dewan Rakyat on the closure of five Education Malaysia (EM) offices overseas. -NSTP/File pic
Deputy Higher Education Minister Datuk Dr Mansor Othman informed the Dewan Rakyat on the closure of five Education Malaysia (EM) offices overseas. -NSTP/File pic

KUALA LUMPUR: The government is closing five Education Malaysia (EM) offices overseas in Chicago, Los Angeles, Ho Chi Minh, Perth and New Zealand.

Deputy Higher Education Minister Datuk Dr Mansor Othman said the offices no longer contribute to the increase in international students to Malaysia, increase in education grants or revenue to the country.

He said following the proposal on the rationalisation of the Education Malaysia offices abroad by the Public Service department (PSD), a series of discussions and engagement sessions with the ministry’s stakeholders, as well as with the PSD and the Foreign Ministry, were held.

“The outcome is a proposal on the rationalisation of the EM offices was submitted to the PSD and tabled to the steering committee on the establishment and closure of the offices of Malaysian government agencies abroad on Jan 16, 2020.

“The committee further suggested that the rationalisation of the EM offices be implemented inclusively with the rationalisation of the offices of representatives of the Malaysian government agencies abroad and the matter is being studied,” he said during the question and answer session in the Dewan Rakyat, today.

He was responding to a question from Dr Maszlee Malik (Independent-Simpang Renggam) who asked on the current status of the rationalisation of EM offices overseas.

The establishment of the EM offices began with nine Malaysian Student Department (MSD) offices in 1994 with the original purpose of managing the affairs of Malaysian students abroad.

In 2003, four Malaysian Education Promotion Centres (MEPC) were opened overseas with four main objectives, namely to encourage private investment, strengthen the country’s competitiveness, generate new growth and increase the effectiveness of the government and the private sector’s delivery service systems.

Subsequently, on July 9, 2010, the cabinet meeting agreed to rebrand the MSD and MEPC offices to EM which aims to promote the Malaysian education brand as a world education hub to encourage the entry of international students into the country.

by Bernama.

Read more @

Newspapers are flexible language teaching aids

Saturday, November 14th, 2020
Pix for representational purposes only. -- NSTP File PixPix for representational purposes only. — NSTP File Pix

LETTER: I was thrilled to read the article titled “Reading newspapers will help hone language skills” published on Nov 11, 2020, as it brought me down memory lane. I still remember when, in my primary school days, we had a programme called Newspaper in Education (NIE) in which The News Straits Times pioneered efforts to allow students to buy the newspaper weekly at discounted rates.

My English teacher ensured that we made maximum use of the newspaper in the classroom. We had activities like cutting and pasting new vocabulary into our exercise books, writing sentences from selected pictures and photos for writing skills, and not forgetting the reading aloud of individual segments of selected articles.

Newspapers are one of the most powerful tools if we intend to improve the mastery of English, as it will improve vocabulary, grammar, and of course, ideas for writing essays. Activities like identifying main ideas, comparing readings, forming new phrases and sentences from vocabulary collections, and writing summaries allow for interaction with authentic materials found in the newspaper, which gradually improves proficiency in English.

Another interesting activity was when we were given the freedom to create stories or captions of selected pictures of our choice from the newspaper. Once done, we would proudly paste the work on the class notice board. Though it was not an easy task, it sharpened creativity and of course, enhanced critical thinking skills in us, especially after sharing ideas with peers.

If you are a teacher who believes in meaningful noise and positive movement of students in the classroom, then you can try using the advertisements found throughout the newspaper. Let your students search for an advertisement that catches their attention.

Have them write a few sentences or a paragraph about reasons why they chose the ad, and create a display section for them to role-play selling and buying something at their desks. By doing so, students will not only hone their writing skills, but also verbal persuasion skills.

Another group of students who can take advantage of newspaper use in classrooms are those with learning disabilities. Most often, they become frustrated and less motivated to learn English with traditional learning approaches.

I believe teaching them using materials from newspapers can be helpful for special education teachers who want to create individualised teaching methods, since they appeal to students who are not easily motivated.

In conclusion, English language teachers should realise that the newspaper is an inexpensive and flexible teaching aid to improve students’ language skills. It takes practice to get it into the classroom, but it is worth trying.

I believe dedicated teachers reading this will try using the newspaper in their lessons, whether in a face-to-face or online distance teaching mode.


Read more @

Student, teacher relationship pivotal

Saturday, November 14th, 2020
Because we have lost our educational soul, modern education rarely inspires students. - NST/file pic. Because we have lost our educational soul, modern education rarely inspires students. – NST/file pic.

I enjoy history. History, like science, is one of those subjects that students seem to either love or hate. Discussions with family and friends over the years have led me to conclude that the secret behind this love-hate relationship is the teacher.

I had history teachers that inspired me. They knew the subject matter backwards and forewords, they loved what they taught, and they loved their students. They spent as much time getting to know their students as they did instructing.

Perhaps that is the reason why I am even able to recall this some 30 years after the fact. Those teachers of mine left an indelible mark on me.

In the current age of technocratic “educational engineering,” however, where every school activity has to meet some measurable standard enforced by an accreditation body, we seem to have lost the soul of education – the love of learning, love of teaching, and love of the student.

Because we have lost our educational soul, modern education rarely inspires students. In the 1960s the United States inspired an entire generation of youth to pursue science by launching the space programme and the moon missions.

Back then science was the stuff of young kids’ dreams, inspiring them to dream and to pursue those dreams. Many of today’s great scientists are the product of that period. So why, then, in this age of such technological advancement, are so few students inspired to pursue science?

In a recently concluded study on student engagement in Malaysian secondary schools sponsored by the Spencer Foundation (USA), our research team found that for students to feel engaged in school – that they belong, that school is important, where there is a sense of community and connection to others – close, caring relationships with teachers and fellow students are critical.

Perhaps even more importantly, we found that these things are important not only for students to like going to school more, but for them to feel motivated, invest more in their academic work, and ultimately perform better. Our findings also showed that when students are invited to participate as decision-makers in their classrooms and in school-wide activities they feel more of that sense of belonging and motivation that we all yearn to see in our kids.

They start to see their teachers and principals as caring mentors rather than overlords. Teachers also begin to feel closer to their students, which gives teachers the opportunity to better understand students and their needs, which can indirectly improve learning outcomes. In sum, school climate matters – a lot.

While recently reviewing the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013–2025, I was quite surprised at how few references there are to school climate as a policy concern. Achieving international standards of performance, curricula content, funding, and many other hot-button issues are covered, yet much less is mentioned about school climate.

In other words, there are a lot of ‘to do’s’ but very few ‘how to do’s’ that speak to what actually occurs in the classroom, in the hallways, and in co-curricular programmes. For example, the blueprint accurately identifies the critical importance of teachers in the educational reform process.

However, the focus is limited to improving pedagogical skills and infrastructure, with virtually nothing on how students and teachers should work with one another. Yet, “it takes two to tango” as they say. In our study, students did not once complain about their teachers not developing the students’ higher order thinking skills.

They did, however, emphasise how much more interested they were in learning when their teachers took the time to help them solve problems, inquire about what difficulties they were having, or ask the students for their input on an important school issue or help in planning a programme of interest.

Education, in essence, is a matter of the heart. When a teacher develops a strong bond with a student, the possibility of that student’s interest, motivation and opportunity for success increases tenfold.

Education is discovery, and love of discovery. Education is purpose, and finding one’s purpose. Education is self-knowledge and personal growth. Education is love of the teacher, and love of the student. That is the foundation of inspiring education.

When we re-design our schools in accordance with this foundation, we might begin to see more students motivated to study things like science, engineering, and math. Who knows, maybe they’ll even like history!

By Dr Abd Lateef Krauss Abdullah.

Read more @

Sabah College team designs winning technique to tackle ‘disinfodemic’

Wednesday, November 11th, 2020
Keningau Vocational College team “Nokuro Sumandak” pitching their project online for the  Global Media and Information Literacy Youth Hackathon. - Pic courtesy of Keningau Vocational CollegeKeningau Vocational College team “Nokuro Sumandak” pitching their project online for the Global Media and Information Literacy Youth Hackathon. – Pic courtesy of Keningau Vocational College

KOTA KINABALU: A local college team has come out on top globally for designing a three-pronged technique to tackle disinformation on Covid-19.

Keningau Vocational College all-female team “Nokuro Sumandak” emerged as one of the five winners of Global Media and Information Literacy Youth Hackathon.

The team was listed on the Unesco website as among the winners in the “community innovation” category, in which their project was described as “an initiative that aims at tackling ‘disinfodemic’ through classroom activities by integrating media and information literacy in students’ learning, created in response to the Covid-19 forced home-schooling”.

Led by Alesyah Asa, 18, the group is also the only Malaysian team in the competition. Other team members are Nur Syahirah Ariffin, 18, Gabriella George, 18, and Nezatul Fazlyin Zainal, 19.

Co-organised by Unesco and the South Korean government, the competition challenged youths to design innovative solutions to address social challenges and tackle disinfodemic in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

It was supported by IBM, the World Health Organisation, the United Nations Population Fund, the European Commission, Sweden, and the Unesco Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development.

Speaking to the New Straits Times, Alesyah said her team created a technique called AIE to help schools tackle the spread of false and misleading information related to the coronavirus.

“The AIE stands for accumulate, investigate and evaluate, with each respectively using the KWL table, Q-matrix chart and six thinking hats as assist tools.”

The third-year civil engineering diploma student from Nabawan explained ‘accumulate’ would help an individual receive better information by recalling and jotting down issues related to Covid-19, which they had read.

Having some knowledge on the issue, the project encourages an individual to question more about the topic, such as how the virus is spread and what should one do upon close contact with an infected person.

“This is when an individual has to do his or her own ‘investigation’ such as checking on confirmed cases. The Q-matrix chart is utilised here to help guide in designing own questions for more answers and research.

“Finally, to ‘evaluate’ is to look into the issue from different perspectives instead of a single viewpoint, such as how the people, in general, feel about the pandemic, its effect, and actions taken by the government.

“The six thinking hats tool in the evaluation will examine an issue from various perspectives,” said Alesyah, adding that the project could be turned into a training programme for teachers and activity for students.

Having won the global competition, the team will gain the opportunity to pre-launch their project globally, hold interviews with potential sponsors and partners, as well as recognition through Unesco press release, among others.

Keningau Vocational College director Johari @ Jaibet Sabin said students needed to continue to explore new areas following the team’s latest achievement.

He said the college did its best to tackle misinformation about Covid-19, adding that many students and teachers had earlier fallen for unreliable news on social media.

“However, the Education Ministry and other government services responded by launching public service announcements on the danger of spreading false news or contributing to this in any manner.

“At our school, the counsellors continuously update social media pages and our Telegram groups with the latest news from credible sources and offer their services to teachers and students who suffer paranoia, panic, anxiety or abuse.”

By Avila Geraldine.

Read more @

NST Leader: Rethink school closure

Tuesday, November 10th, 2020
A security officer closes the gate of SMK Bandar Utama Damansara (4) after Petaling was placed under Red Zone on Oct 12. - BERNAMA picA security officer closes the gate of SMK Bandar Utama Damansara (4) after Petaling was placed under Red Zone on Oct 12. – BERNAMA pic

Biden wins, a helicopter crash, tabling of the 2021 Budget, the monsoon floods — seems like it’s back to normal in the last few days.

Unfortunately, these happened amid the Covid-19 pandemic, which is into its third wave in Malaysia. As of yesterday, schools are again closed following the re-implementation of the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) in most states — this time until the end of this year’s school term.

Reportedly, school closures globally have affected 1.6 billion students, an estimated 60 per cent of the world’s student population. The pandemic has disrupted education systems, prompting an increase in distance and online learning.

A new World Bank report estimates a loss of US$10 trillion in earnings over time for this “lost generation” of students. The report further says countries “will be driven off-track” to achieving their Learning Poverty goals if no remedial action is taken.

For Malaysia, school closure involves some 1.7 million students. The repercussions cannot be understated, say educationists, as closing of schools are “devastating for students and families”. Earlier this month, the NST Leader postulated that education is a basic right and children cannot be deprived of it.

In the 2021 Budget, the Education Ministry continues to receive the largest allocation, at RM50.4 billion. Of the figure, RM50 million is set aside to improve Internet connectivity in institutions of higher learning. Well and good, but more can be done.

Parent Action Group for Education (PAGE) believes the government should rethink this latest school closure. It proposes that Form 5 and 6 students attend face-to-face classes under stricter standard operating procedures.

Teachers, says PAGE, cannot cope with the double burden of teaching previous and current forms’ syllabi. Online learning, it says, makes “teacher-student connectivity almost non-existent”. The National Union of the Teaching Profession says the government should provide interest-free loans or tax-free devices to students so they can improve their digital access for online learning. A tall order? Not so.

Here’s why. Another World Bank study says five months of school closures will result in “a loss of 0.6 years of schooling, bringing the effective learning that a student can achieve down from 7.9 to 7.3 years”.

It also says close to seven million students from primary and secondary education could drop out of school due to the “income shock” of the pandemic.

Yes, the government is pursuing a variety of approaches to mitigate the closing of schools. This Leader, however, believes more should be invested in multi-platform remote learning and a wider broadband coverage for better Internet access. Now is an opportunity for the government to build an education system that is more resilient, adaptable to student needs, equitable and inclusive, with a focus on technology and the upgrading of syllabus for online teaching.

Covid-19 is indeed a crisis for today’s children. Social activists have said: “The fallout may follow them for the rest of their lives. Will they see themselves as a ‘lost generation’, whose lives will forever fall in the shadow of a global pandemic?” Only time can tell.

What we can do is to continue playing a key role in educating our future generations. For, “a man without education, is like a building without foundation”.

Read more @

Fate of students without electronic devices, Internet at home highlighted

Monday, November 9th, 2020
With the return of students to online learning until next year, former Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik has raised questions over the fate of close to 40 per cent students across the country that are without electronic devices and Internet connection at home. - NSTP file picWith the return of students to online learning until next year, former Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik has raised questions over the fate of close to 40 per cent students across the country that are without electronic devices and Internet connection at home. – NSTP file pic

KUALA LUMPUR: With the return of students to online learning until next year, former Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik has raised questions over the fate of close to 40 per cent students across the country that are without electronic devices and Internet connection at home.

In questioning this, Maszlee said it was paramount that his successor, Senior Education Minister Dr Mohd Radzi Md Jidin addresses the matter to ensure that group of disadvantaged students do not fall behind in their studies during the school closure from today until Jan 20, 2021, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“What is the minister’s plan for 36.9 per cent of students who do not have devices at home?

“What is the alternative plan to ensure that this group is not left behind while their peers get to go on online for classes with their teachers?

“How about poor families and the Bottom 40 group who not only do not have devices but also Internet connection at home?” asked Maszlee, who is Simpang Renggam MP, in a statement today.

It was reported in April that research conducted by the ministry showed that 36.9 per cent of students nationwide do not possess any electronic devices.

The findings were part of the ministry’s research involving the teaching and learning platform (PdP) on access to communications technology among teachers and students.

Radzi had reportedly said that the findings showed that six per cent of students have their own computers, 5.67 per cent own tablets, nine per cent own laptops and 46 per cent have smartphones.

He said the research which involved over 670,000 parents and close to 900,000 students found that ownership of hardware and electronic devices for learning from home was limited.

Radzi had back then said the ministry was looking into the best ways to overcome the problem.

Maszlee had also expressed concern on over 600,000 students who are recipients of the Supplementary Food Programme (Rancangan Makanan Tambahan) and if the ministry has any special plan to assist them and those from the B40 group who were fully dependent on the free meals at school.

By Dawn Chan.

Read more @