PUTRAJAYA: The Communications and Multimedia Minister has suggested that a technology school stream be created to cater to the growing demand for talent in a changing digital world.
Pupils should be given exposure to technology-based education as early as possible, said Gobind Singh Deo (pic).
“We need to teach the schoolchildren technology-related subjects through the creation of a tech stream in schools.
“I will discuss this with the Education Minister (Dr Maszlee Malik),” Gobind told The Star in a recent interview.
Currently, when students reach Form Four after passing their PT3 exams, they are streamed into arts, science, commerce, or vocational and TVET (technical and vocational education and training) classes.
Gobind said the nurturing of talent for the tech industry should be a priority in a connected world where digitalisation, machine intelligence and the Internet of Things (IoT) are changing the way people work, play and live.
“We should also have a tech stream as this talent should be recognised and developed from a very early age,” he said.
Gobind added that children are already exposed to computers, smartphones, and the Internet from a very young age.
“Teaching them beyond the basics will empower them to be more creative and the chances of capturing the imagination of young students is much higher then.
“We need to talk to them on how to use these facilities, beyond just using them as a play tool.
“We need to guide them so that they can develop a keen interest when they are very young.
“Sometimes, when we wait too long and focus on other aspects on education, these children may lose interest – and you may lose that talent that you could have potentially built at a young age,” he argued.
Many people across the globe, Gobind said, are losing their jobs or are being misplaced by machines because they lack tech skills.
He also called for a re-skilling of the workforce apart from making technology a part of the basic education to be included in schools.
“We also cannot wait until the children reach Form Five to ask them what they are interested in.
“This has to be part of the general syllabus, perhaps even at the primary or kindergarten level,” he added.
However, Gobind acknowledged that having a technology stream would require some training first.
“One of the challenges that we face with the advent of artificial intelligence and robotics is that many of our workers are going to be displaced as their jobs will be taken over by machines and computers.
“This is happening all over the world, so we will have a lot of people who are capable and a workforce that needs to be re-skilled.
“The Government needs to recognise the fact that we need to train, and in all this, we must train our teachers along technology lines so that they can become experts and actually teach the subject in schools,” he said.