KUALA LUMPUR, July 20 — The agenda to empower national education was among the highlight during today’s debate on the motion of thanks for the Royal Address by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, which among others emphasised on online learning.
Several Members of Parliament pointed out that there were many obstacles for people in rural areas to get Internet access during the movement control order (MCO) period, hence the urge for the government to improve the facilities in line with the digitalisation agenda.
Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid (BN-Padang Terap) proposed that the Education Ministry (MOE) and the Communications and Multimedia Ministry (KKMM) work together to improve Internet accessibilities, especially in the rural and remote areas so that the students could easily communicate with their teachers.
He said it was crucial to improving the digital technology and e-learning aspects at the MOE level with assistance from the KKMM.
“There are four education clusters in the country namely students in urban, semi-urban, rural and remote areas, where the remote cluster was the worst (in terms of Internet access). This refers not only to remote areas in Sabah and Sarawak but in the peninsula as well.
“This is to enable students at home to communicate with their teachers, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. I’m sure there were students who failed to communicate online due to Internet access problems,” he said.
Echoing Mahdzir’s sentiment was Anyi Ngau (GPS-Baram) who pointed out that the government needs to give serious attention to enhancing Internet facilities in rural areas for the learning session.
“When the school were closed due to the MCO, the MOE suggested having virtual learning sessions. But those in the remote areas have no Internet access.
“What will happen to schools in rural areas if, God forbid, there is another round of MCO?” he said.
Meanwhile, Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman (BN-Pasir Salak) opined that the government must focus on improving the quality of national education which in turn would provide a suitable workforce for the future.
“We are far behind compared to advanced countries in terms of technology and innovation. It is sad to note here that there is no invention by Malaysians which can be considered as an innovation.
“We are depending everything on other countries either for daily necessities or defence, and we even depend on outsiders for weapons,” he said.
Tajuddin also urged the government to expand the number of recipients for scholarship and other relevant assistance to allow for more Malaysians to further their studies.
The Dewan Rakyat sitting continues tomorrow. — Bernama