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Don't forget digital development, teachers say on budget

They say that digital infrastructure and a greater investment in teachers are a crucial part of achieving a world-class education system.

Nur Hasliza Mohd Salleh
2 minute read
Teachers say that investments in digital technology and the development of educators are an important part of achieving a world-class education system.
Teachers say that investments in digital technology and the development of educators are an important part of achieving a world-class education system.

An education group has questioned the government's allocation for the field in its revised budget for 2023, saying it does not appear to have allocated enough for digital development despite setting aside the lion's share of the financial blueprint for the ministry. 

"Once again, the allocation of government spending is on infrastructure," Melissa Tanya Gomes, the CEO of Penang-based Edvolution, said. 

"The fact that students are still recovering from learning losses and issues like illiteracy and poor attendance is not reflected in the budget." 

The budget tabled by Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim in the Dewan Rakyat on Feb 24 had set aside RM55.2 billion for the education ministry as opposed to RM52.6 billion allocated for 2022. 

Speaking to MalaysiaNow, Gomes said allocations should be made for the development of teachers and a proper digital infrastructure. 

But in general, she added, the government did not appear to spend much on professional development for teachers, citing a lack of resources to help them keep up to date with the latest teaching methodologies and pedagogies.  

She gave the example of Delima, the education ministry's one-stop platform for teachers which she said had not been updated or improved since its implementation. 

In his royal address at the opening of the second term of Parliament on Feb 13, the Agong had spoken of the need for a digital education policy to nurture digital talents who are knowledgeable, skilled and ethical in the use of technology.

Gomes said if the government intended to achieve its vision for the transformation of education by 2025, it had its work cut out for it, especially in terms of technology in the classroom. 

"Not only is it imperative that we accelerate the use of digital technology in the classroom, we must also invest in the development of our greatest resource – our teachers – if we wish to achieve a truly world-class education system," she said. 

Gomes voiced hope that a large part of the ministry's budget would be channelled towards improving the skills of teachers and empowering the educational workforce. 

Educationist Anuar Ahmad meanwhile urged the ministry to use some of its allocation to provide furniture for the use of teachers. 

Anuar Ahmad, of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, said many of the staff rooms at schools throughout the country were in need of change. 

In a Facebook post, he also called for the provision of new shelves, air-conditioning and carpets. 

"It would also be good to replace the old term of 'staff room' with 'office' instead," he said. 

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