Education Ministry to consult experts on best module for unity programme

ADIB POVERA


KUCHING: The Education Ministry is mulling a revamp of the Rancangan Intergrasi Murid Untuk Perpaduan (Student Integration Plan for Unity) programme or RIMUP in order to up the ante on enhancing unity among school students in the country.

Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid said the move was one of the many options being studied by the ministry to promote cross-cultural and national unity in the country’s education system.

Mahdzir said RIMUP was introduced in 2006 to foster interaction between students in national and vernacular schools in the same district or area through various activities.

“The programme was perhaps not strong enough to promote this agenda and there were only certain schools in the country, which had adopted this programme,” he told reporters here today.

Mahdzir, however, said it was up to the ministry’s director-general, Tan Sri Dr Khair Mohamad Yusof, and his team of in-house experts to deliberate and decide on the matter.

Asked if the ministry will engage external consultants in its efforts to review the national education policy, Mahdzir said it was not necessary.

“We have our team of experts in the ministry.

“Along the way, we will also seek advice from education experts attached with universities as well as community and local leaders to help the ministry find the best module to foster greater interactions among students from various races in the country,” said Mahdzir, adding that the experts have started its brainstorming session over the matter.

However, such efforts, said Mahdzir, will go to waste without strong commitment from management of all five types of schools in the country.

“All national schools, Chinese and Tamil vernacular schools, religious schools and mission schools must work together with the ministry to help us achieve this mission (enhancing unity among all students),” he said.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had recently raised his concerns over the Malaysian education system, which he said does not nurture “cross-cultural understanding and national unity.”

On the proposed cashless transaction in schools, Mahdzir said the ministry was waiting for Angkatan Koperasi Kebangsaan Malaysia Bhd (Angkasa) for a full detail on the proposal.

“The ministry wants to know that the system used that can support cashless transactions in schools. Cashless transactions require the setting-up of foundation in the form of online banking system,” he said.

Angkasa, said Mahdzir, also needed to obtain consent from the Parent-Teacher Association of the respective schools before it could proceed with implementing such system.