PUTRAJAYA: The student integration programme to boost unity at school level will be reintroduced next week.
Education Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said the programme comprising three main components sports, co-curriculum and e-Integrasi would act as a catalyst for integration in schools with the involvement of students, teachers and parents.
Racial integration begins in schools but this is a challenge as there are other streams besides the national school system. Such a situation has resulted in various barriers.
The programme is a long-term strategy to break down such barriers, he said after receiving a courtesy call from Australian Education, Science and Training Minister Dr Brendan Nelson at his ministry.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi will launch the programme next Tuesday at SJK(C) Chung Hwa in Mantin, Negri Sembilan.
On Tuesday, Deputy Education Minister Datuk Hon Choon Kim said the programme, which would encourage schools close to each other to share facilities, was first mooted by Abdullah when he was Education Minister.
Hishammuddin said Abdullah had earlier this year launched in Penang the e-Integrasi programme to promote racial integration via information communications technology components, including interactive games, role-playing and the Internet.
On the courtesy call by Dr Nelson, Hishammuddin said their meeting focused on ways to strengthen relationships at the lower education level.
He said there were also plans to establish links between schools in Australia and Malaysia.
Dr Nelson said Malaysia had much experience in vocational and technical training.
We agreed to an exchange of teachers, especially to help Malaysia on English language training, he added.
On teacher training, Hishammuddin said Institut Aminuddin Baki would undertake in-house training while teacher-training colleges would train new teachers.
He said the ministry would review the teacher-training curriculum as it wanted to emphasise on a holistic approach which required reviving co-curriculum, sports, values, unity, patriotism and other matters.
This can only be done once we have reduced the teachers workload.
As I have said before, their core business is to teach, he said.