DiPetik: The Borneo Post
KOTA KINABALU: The Education Ministry has introduced the ‘1BestariNet’ to address the information technology gap between children in the rural and urban schools.
The programme has already begun and they are now constructing terminals to allow connectivity to the Internet in town and rural areas within the country, Deputy Education Minister Dr Mohd Puad Zarkashi told reporters after a consolidation ceremony to transform vocational education yesterday.
In the case of Sabah, the State Education Department is still surveying sites suitable for the construction of such terminals and discussions with the service provider, Telekom Malaysia, is ongoing, he said.
Dr Mohd Puad also commented on the School Net, stressing that the programme has been unsuccessful due to the lack of connectivity.
On the new programme, he said that he was confident it will take off successfully.
“We’re hoping the new programme will encourage the use of ICT (information communication technology) at schools, particularly those in rural areas,” he said.
At the same time, he also commented on the need to have more rural hostels to house students who are living far from their school.
He said that with more rural hostels, the incidents of absentees among students at rural schools will be greatly reduced.
Additionally, the students will also be looked after in terms of their education and nutritional needs, he said.
“I have come across parents who have said that they preferred their children to be at hostels because they can only give them potatoes for food. They like that their children have a more balanced diet while they are at their hostels,” he said.
By staying at hostels, the students will also forgo the long and arduous journey they often have to perform on a daily basis, he said.
He added that they have already completed the construction of the village hostel at Kinandu in Nabawan.
They are also in the process of constructing more village hostels in Sabah, he said.
“Our hope is for more rural schools to have a village hostel,” he said.
He said that there are 375 rural schools in Sabah.
During the interview, he also mentioned the Education Blueprint which he said will study the present policies by the ministry to see their effectiveness.
“We will be making a report on the achievement of those policies and then we will prepare a strategic planning or the blueprint,” he said.
The aim of the blueprint is to ensure the system has the capacity to create human capitals that are capable of thinking, are ICT literate and have the ability to converse / communicate.
Next month, the ministry will engage the public in a roundtable discussion to discuss the blueprint, and he expects that by September, this year, the blueprint would be ready and submitted to the minister for his perusal before it is presented before the cabinet.