Education Ministry to work with BSN to expand cashless school programme

Education Minister Maszlee Malik speaks at a convention for the ministry's administrative staff in Kuala Lumpur March 20, 2019. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
Education Minister Maszlee Malik speaks at a convention for the ministry's administrative staff in Kuala Lumpur March 20, 2019. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

PUTRAJAYA, March 28 — The Education Ministry is planning to expand its cashless school concept and programme, its minister Maszlee Malik said.

For that purpose, Maszlee said the ministry would collaborate with Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN) on a joint pilot project to be carried out at selected schools.

“We will look into the matter before setting any time frame (for the pilot project),” he told reporters after launching the Student Savings Incentive Scheme (SGSP) Award 2019 here today. Also present was BSN chief executive Datuk Yunos Abd Ghani.

He then cited Sekolah Kebangsaan Bukit Lanjan (Asli), Damansara, as a school that was moving in the cashless direction, reiterating that it would free students from the risk of thefts and losing money.

The cashless school programme is a concept where payments for any transaction such as the purchase of food or drinks are recorded using a debit card issued by the school or bank.

In his speech, Maszlee said that going cashless would reduce the threats of theft and other related problems.

“Perhaps someday, all payments could be tracked only through the Quick Response Code (QR Code). We can also develop technology using face-recognition payment. So, BSN needs to be prepared in that direction as the ministry will be looking into it,” he said.

Meanwhile, Yunos said 8,073 schools or 79 per cent from 10,180 schools nationwide had participated in the SGSP with the total savings of students exceeding RM410 million.

SGSP is an annual savings scheme competition which is open to both primary and secondary school students.

At the event, 206 winners received a total reward of RM295,900.

Meanwhile, Maszlee in a statement said that the ministry would collaborate with relevant parties to address the decline in the starting salaries of graduates as reported in the Bank Negara Malaysia’s (BNM) Annual Report 2018 released yesterday.

While taking notes on the central bank’s recommendations of the obvious mismatch between demand and supply of labour, Maszlee said that the ministry viewed seriously the marketability issue of fresh graduates in the country.

The report said that the starting salary of fresh graduates in the country had declined since 2010 after taking into account inflationary factors.

A diploma holder was reportedly earning a basic salary of RM1,376 in 2018 compared to RM1,458 in 2010, while a Bachelor’s degree holder earned RM1,983 in 2018 compared to RM1,993 in 2010.

The basic salary of a Master’s degree holder was RM2,707 in 2018 compared to RM2,923 in 2010.

Maszlee said that the ministry was also in the final phase of completing studies on the marketability of graduates in the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programme. — Bernama