PUTRAJAYA: Fourty-three education-related initiatives have been implemented by the Pakatan Harapan government within 100 days of its administration, Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik said today.
He said some of the initiatives were those promised in the PH election manifesto, such as removing the names of National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) borrowers from the Immigration Department’s blacklist, which was fulfilled on July 8.
The move brought relief to 429,945 borrowers, he said in a statement.
He said the ministry was also working to ensure that those in the low-income group would be able to postpone their repayment through the Income-Contingent Loan Repayment (ICLR) scheme.
In the meantime, the ministry, he said, had taken a more holistic approach in upholding the integrity of the country’s education system by giving autonomy to institutions of higher learning and more freedom to students to express themselves through the revival of the speakers’ corner.
Maszlee said in tandem with the PH manifesto, the ministry, through a special committee, had also embarked on an inclusive study to abolish the Universities and University Colleges Act, while public universities were encouraged to organise more debates and dialogues with interested parties.
Efforts to enhance higher education also saw suggestions by stakeholders being accepted by the government, such as in the appointment of the university board of governors and candidates for the posts of vice-chancellors and deputy chancellors, he said.
Maszlee said his focus during the 100 days of helming the ministry included reducing the burden of teachers from administrative work, enhance national schools and special education schools, ensure students no longer carry heavy bags to school, enhance the use of Bahasa Malaysia and encouraging students to master more than three languages.
He said the ministry had abolished the audit process for the “Standard Kualiti Pendidikan Malaysia Gelombang 2” last Jun 7 in a move to reduce the burden of about 500,000 teachers in the country.
Other initiatives carried out by the ministry during his 100 days of helming it, he said, included setting up of a committee review the national education system in keeping abreast with the 4.0 industrial revolution; to launch a national reading campaign and setting up of the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Empowerment Committee.
He said the ministry also carried out internal investigations on huge contracts such as the solar hybrid project in Sarawak and the provision of 1Bestarinet, as well as take action to enable the opening of Malaysian Arts School next year.
On the welfare of people with disabilities (OKU) and Orang Asli, Maszlee said the ministry, in collaboration with non-governmental organisations, was working on improving special education and the academic performance of Orang Asli students nationwide.
He said religious education institution, such as the tahfiz schools, were also empowered with discussions being held with several countries in the Middle East to enable students from Malaysia to further their studies there.
The ministry, he said, had also allocated RM30 million for government-aided religious schools and also offered training package for tahfiz school teachers.
He said focus was also given to Tamil nation-type schools where they were now placed directly under the minister and deputy minister.
As for the Chinese national-type schools, Maszlee said the government had agreed to build six new schools; four in Johor and one each in Selangor and Penang.
On the transfer of students in under-enrolled schools, the matter would be carried out and the ministry has allocated RM30 million this year for the purpose. -- BERNAMA © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd