The government must ensure we are not left behind

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By John Isaac

Our prime minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has for years been a strong advocate for English and had repeatedly stressed it's importance.

Though Bahasa Malaysia remains our national language, Dr Mahathir has always emphasised on how important it is for us to master English in the face of global challenges.

To be more competitive, efforts were made to teach Science and Mathematics in English, a move which was greatly welcomed by parents.

However, unfortunately, there seems to be some setbacks in the implementation, which has created a considerable amount of displeasure among parents.

Parents were informed by the Education Ministry that the science and maths textbook for the Dual Language Programme (DLP) would only be available in March.

In a statement, the Education Ministry said that it was in the process of publishing books for the DLP programme.

“The ministry was not able to supply textbooks for the two subjects when the school session started on Jan 2 because of the changes made to improve the procurement system and to prevent the direct dealing system in supplying textbooks to schools which had been practiced since mid-2018,” it said.

Whatever the excuse, it is something which parents will surely find unacceptable.

Considering the importance of the subject matter, the Education Ministry should have taken all relevant pre-emptive measures to ensure the complete implementation was on time.

Some parents took the ministry to task, lamenting that those concerned should have paid more attention to such pressing issues rather than harp on non important matters like white and black shoes.

"The DLP is something very important and should not have been taken so lightly.

"Since taking office, we have noticed that the minister concerned has been making numerous flip-flop decisions. It is time he got his act together, said a parent.

One good lesson to be learnt from this would be perhaps the need for digitization of education.

Many academicians these days believe the days of the textbook are numbered and schools should move into the next generation.

Digitization would also put an end to the nagging problem of students have to carry over-sized, overweight bags to school.

This can be replaced by a student merely having to bring a laptop or an iPad to school.

"Many schools in developed nations are already almost fully digitized and this is something we should move towards also.

"By adapting digitization, we are not only lessening the burden of a student, but also opening up a whole new horizon for him.

"The quality and standards of education would also be greatly enhanced and a student can enjoy a borderless learning experience," said an academician.

It is time the government began moving on to the next step and stop harping on minor issues.

What the people want right now is a forward thinking government that can elevate the nation to the next level - in education and economically.

As the doors of globalisation open wider, efforts must be enhanced to ensure we are not left at the corridors.

Efforts must be intensified to help shift the nation into high gear and ensure each and every citizen is able to stand his ground in the face of growing competition.