INSTEAD of being bogged down by administrative work, teachers should strike a balance between imparting knowledge and encouraging spirituality when it comes to educating students.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said this is so that they can produce students who are not only well-educated, but have moral values as well.
“This is important because in our pursuit of achieving the developed country status, we will have to achieve the Unesco (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) ratio of 70% citizens in the country with tertiary education.
“We need to ensure that most of our country’s population has completed the diploma, bachelor’s degree, masters degree or doctorate (PhD) level,” he said in his speech at the opening of the Deputy Prime Minister Football Cup Carnival and SPM/STPM 2015 Award of Excellence Ceremony at SMK Seri Perkasa in Hutan Melintang on Saturday.
Ahmad Zahid added that efforts must be made to ensure that the country’s younger generation, regardless of their education status, must maintain an active lifestyle.
After his speech, he presented cash awards and hampers to 93 students in the Hilir Perak district who did well in their SPM and STPM exams.
Among them was SMK Sungai Semut Hutan Melintang student S. Devanathan, who scored 5As for Bahasa Malaysia, English, Mathematics, Physics and Tamil.
“I feel very happy today that I got to meet the Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia and receive prizes from him. It feels like a huge honour,” he said.
Devanathan said he plans to pursue petroleum engineering in Universiti Teknologi Petronas.
“I know times in the oil and gas industry are tough but I think this course is really suitable for me. It is challenging enough and it pushes me even further to do well in engineering,” he said.
Another student was Ilmi Hanafi Hasnizar from SMK Tun Abdul Razak Selekoh, who scored a CGPA (cumulative grade point average) of 3.92 in STPM last year.
He said it was a proud moment for him to walk up on stage with his parents and be recognised for his excellent results.
“It feels like this is my gift to my parents. It was also fun because Datuk Seri (Ahmad Zahid) jokingly opened my cash prize and counted to make sure the amount I received was correct.
“I live near his house in Kampung Sungai Nipah here, so it felt nice to share such a funny moment with one of the most important people in the country,” he said.
The aspiring lawyer, who took General Studies, Bahasa Malaysia, Literature and History, said he hopes to pursue his studies in London, United Kingdom.
“I’m already applying for as many scholarships as I can, because I would love the chance to be exposed to a foreign culture,” he said.
After opening the football cup carnival, Ahmad Zahid handed out appreciation plaques to 16 participating school teams who fought hard in the three-day event held last weekend.
He also officiated the groundbreaking ceremony for the school’s open-air hall project by operating a backhoe tractor.
Later, Ahmad Zahid handed out letters of appointment to new village chiefs in the Bagan Datoh parliamentary constituency for 2016-2017.
In addressing the new village chiefs, he stressed that the roles of village chiefs in the modern era has evolved far beyond their original roles in the olden days.
“In an era where information is merely at our finger tips, village chiefs can no longer sit and wait in their houses for complaints to come.
“They must be pro-active in keeping tabs with the latest happenings in their areas,” he said.
Ahmad Zahid also reminded them that village chiefs are representatives of the government, so they should do their best in becoming a trustworthy leader with integrity.
“Your behaviour and speech reflect upon our government. Nowadays, anything we do and say could be recorded and uploaded to YouTube as newsworthy material.
“So I urge all of you to maintain our image and carry out your duties responsibly,” he said.
Following the event, he addressed Umno leaders from the Bagan Datoh parliamentary constituency.