Set up apolitical action council to address ‘lost generation’ education issues, says Maszlee

KUALA LUMPUR: The government should set up an apolitical “national education action council” to address post-pandemic education issues affecting lower primary schoolchildren, suggests former education minister Dr Maszlee Malik(pic).

He said the Covid-19 pandemic had prevented nearly one million students from progressing in their education, especially pre-school and Year One and Two pupils.

Referring to these schoolchildren as the “lost generation”, Maszlee said they are struggling with basic skills such as reading, writing, and speaking.

“The lack of normal teaching and learning for almost a year has stunted this education process.

“(Many) of them still can’t read, write or count. These are skills that they should have at their age, ” he told a press conference in Parliament on Wednesday (Dec 16).

Maszlee said the proposed council, if set up, should comprise stakeholders such as representatives from education NGOs and MPs with experience in the education sector from both sides of the political divide.

“A comprehensive solution can be produced if the Education Minister is ready to cooperate without taking into account political parties or ideologies.

“Although MPs have in numerous occasions raised this issue, there still isn’t a clear and serious solution by the ministry to save this ‘lost generation’, ” he added.

Maszlee also took to task Senior Minister (Education) Dr Radzi Jidin’s winding up speech on Tuesday (Dec 15), saying that it did not reflect the ministry’s seriousness in addressing this issue.

“I had asked whether the ministry has a masterplan ready for these children when they are enrolled in Year One and Two next year, but no answer was given, ” he said.

Maszlee stressed that issues pertaining to education should not be politicised as it involves the future of nearly one million Malaysian children.

“Let’s move forward together, set aside our differences and prioritise education, ” he added.

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