PUTRAJAYA: Students will be allowed to bring mobile phones and IT gadgets to school from next year after the rules and regulations under the Education Act 1996 are amended, said Deputy Education Minister Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong.
He said Monday that such changes needed to be made to encourage educators and students to embrace information technology in the 21st century.
He said the move was in line with the Education Ministry's move to implement the virtual teaching and learning programme - “1Bestari” - nationwide.
Based on a survey conducted by the Education Ministry, initial findings had showed varied views from the stakeholders such as principals, teachers, parents and students.
“When the 1Bestari is in place, you will get free wifi. We want to provide the virtual learning environment so that students can use their gadgets to learn and do their revision.
“The world is totally different now. This is a trend. We can't stop that,” he told reporters after chairing the student discipline committee meeting in Putrajaya.
Currently, students are not allowed to bring mobile phones to school.
Dr Wee also invited the public to voice their views and opinions via the Education Ministry's official Twitter account @1KemPelajaran.
Dr Wee said the draft of the amendments would be submitted to the Attorney-General's Chambers within a week, and that a “stringent” guideline on the use of electronic gadgets in school would be set up by the Education Ministry.
“The teaching and learning process must not be disrupted. The guideline will outline how we allow and when we allow the students to use the gadgets,” he said.
He added another factor that came into the picture was the safety of students, because parents would like to use mobile phone to contact their children after school.
On another matter, Dr Wee said steps would be taken to address the issue of teenage pregnancy among school students in collaboration with the Health Ministry and Women, Family and Community Development Ministry.
According to Wee, there were 18,000 pregnant teenagers who are below the age of 19 and 25% are unmarried.
He said changes would be made so that schools had the right to send female students for medical examination at hospitals should they detect any sign of pregnancy.
He said truancy remained a main discipline problem among school students and there were also suggestions to have rules to curb cyber crimes.