Are Malaysians really ready to learn virtually? — Muhammad Hafiz Mohd Hidzir

SEPTEMBER 21 — In regards to the title, I am proud with the latest breakthrough in our education culture whereby musician-cum-entrepreneur Ariz Ramli or also known as Caprice has recently had his idea realised by launching “Classruum.com” which is an e-learning platform project funded by Kulim (Malaysia) Bhd valued RM2.55 million.

Prior to that, YTL Communications Sdn Bhd was also awarded a similar project by our Ministry of Education valued RM4.1 billion codenamed “1BestariNet” which was supposed to be completed within two and a half years from December 13, 2011 to June 12, 2014 whereby the project was not completed within time-frame allocated in which resulting the award recipient being fined by the Ministry at a whopping amount of RM2.4 million last reported on November 2014.

As a concerning Malaysian, a former school student, an undergraduate, a brother, and a future father of my own children, I am pretty concerned on how deep of knowledge learned by policy-makers and educators in the education sector which I believe the concept of e-learning has been promoted and conveyed around within circles of these professionals for quite some time and I am also concerning on how prepared they are to educate students in various education levels of public schools, from pre-school to secondary.

As a former school student myself who has ended studies in the year of 2011, I have went through various experiences of some teachers in some public schools — excluding those in cluster schools, high-performance schools, and MARA Junior Science Colleges, they just teach petty basic knowledge during ICT classes which most of students already able to learn just over a few words queried on search engine in order to have themselves educated about using various kind of peripherals whereby my main concern in this matter is how up-to-date the ICT teaching syllabus given to teachers by the Ministry of Education.

While as a brother myself, I have went through the system structure of the “1BestariNet” virtual learning platform that has been developed by YTL Communications Sdn Bhd by using my siblings’ credentials just to experience the performance of the platform including its services. Lucky for me to be able to access the platform as schools where my siblings are studying at are covered for the service.

Sadly to say, the platform including its services and contents are not really meeting my expectations as I have expected more before accessing it. One of the key flaws that I would like to point out is that the platform is not user-friendly in the context of normal school students’ capabilities. It is a pretty different culture and expectation needed to be considered about if comparing the practice of using an e-learning platform in private schools and public schools.

In my humble opinion which I am also fine for my opinion to be disagreed by some other people, if I may say — the 1BestariNet portal should be made more user-friendly within the context mentioned above in terms of the user interface, usage guide, contents-wise, and several technical aspects.

Students in public schools should not be put in high-expectations to be really tech-savvy to be able to catch up with the platform in a short period of time comparing to students in private schools that are really taught to be tech-savvy hence able to use platforms with functionalities at an advance level like Google Apps and Moodle which are mostly implemented in private schools.

Besides that, I would like to also express my concern on the teaching syllabus to have it frequently updated from time-to-time adhering to the progressing development of technology both locally and internationally. The main reason of why I am concerning about the syllabus is because of I am afraid that our future generation could not keep up and cope with various kind of technologies that will always be reinvented from time to time which sometimes occur as fast as the speed of light which may turned out to be among bad results of our very own professionals are not well-taught in all relevant working areas.

The technologically-awkward phenomenon will always be around among fresh school leavers which can be easily noticed when they first begin their tertiary-level studies in any colleges, polytechnics, and universities as these are education institutions that practices the e-learning culture way more than just during times in pre-school, primary, and secondary schools as being tech-savvy will become as a crucial element for these students to have as one of their skill-sets in preparing themselves to enter the workforce upon graduating.

E-learning platforms like the Khan Academy, Coursera, and edX are platforms that have more advance functionalities comparing to what had been implemented to be used during times in public and private schools and technologically-awkward students may just be drown in the sea of technology heading to nowhere if they cannot keep up.

In short, it all goes back to the roots which are the professionals in the education sector who are responsible on preparing our future generation to become a better generation of learners for time to come. If not, then what is the point of implementing various technology initiatives including e-learning projects and the recent Internet of Things (IoT) campaign which was first introduced in Malaysia by MIMOS if the younger generation are not tech-savvy enough to face technological challenges brought by the world?

With that, may the good force always remain with us for more challenges to come.

* Muhammad Hafiz Mohd Hidzir blogs at muhammadhaf1z.com. He is a student at the Faculty of Communication and Media Studies, Universiti Teknologi MARA, country representative (Malaysia) for Mozilla and community lead of the Mozilla Malaysia Community.

** This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail Online.

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