Maintain current plans, say education stakeholders

Aim for top marks: Radzi and Noraini will shoulder the responsibility of steeringeducationalneeds.Aim for top marks: Radzi and Noraini will shoulder the responsibility of steeringeducationalneeds.

PETALING JAYA: The return of Datuk Dr Radzi Jidin and Datuk Seri Dr Noraini Ahmad as Education Minister and Higher Education Minister will ensure a continuity of policies and plans.

Parents, teachers and academics, however, said there is still much to be done to improve the quality of the country’s education system and to keep the pandemic out of schools.

Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim, president of Parent Action Group for Education, said she hoped Radzi would consider the recommendations of the National Education Advisory Council (NEAC) 2018-2020 in enhancing teaching and learning, adding that more needs to be done to optimise 21st century learning.

Providing teachers with the necessary tools to facilitate hybrid learning should be a priority, she said.

The curriculum must be based on student needs, she said, adding that stern action must be taken against errant teachers.

“Allocate more time for Science and Mathematics at the primary level; ensure the mental health of students returning to schools is attended to and not taken lightly; take on changes bravely and attempt to create one of the best education systems in the world,” she added.

Melaka Action Group for Parents in Education chairman Mak Chee Kin said the most pressing issue for Radzi is managing the Covid-19 situation and ensuring the safety of students when schools reopen.

“The Education Minister must work closely with the Health Ministry to speed up the vaccination of our children.

“If we can’t start the vaccination initiative by mid-September as scheduled, the reopening of schools should be deferred with more effort focused towards improving the home-based teaching and learning,” he said.

Schools in states that have entered Phases Two and Three of the National Recovery Plan are set to reopen in stages on Oct 3, with vaccination of teenagers slated to start from mid-September.

Mak also said parents want Form Six matters to come under the Higher Education Ministry for better coordination as it is a pre-university programme.

Welcoming Radzi’s reappointment, National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) secretary-general Wang Heng Suan said the union hopes there will be more support and cooperation from the ministry to have open discussions with them.

“Let the opinions and grouses of the teachers be heard, especially from NUTP, which represents 230,000 members.

“Information should be obtained directly from teachers and the union, and we need to know the actual situation of education in Malaysia,” he said.

Thanking the Prime Minister for his re-appointment, Radzi promised to fulfil Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s wish for each ministry to be “high performing.”

“I will uphold this trust with all my heart for the sake of the country’s future generation,” he said on social media yesterday.

Also on social media yesterday, Noraini said she will shoulder the trust placed on her by Ismail Sabri using the “Malaysian family” approach.

Malaysian Association of Private Colleges and Universities president Datuk Dr Parmjit Singh said having Noraini back to helm the Higher Education Ministry will ensure continuity and stability which is needed now during these unprecedented times.

“This will also ensure plans for the gradual reopening of universities, which have been in discussion over the last few weeks, can proceed seamlessly,” he said, adding that the association is “delighted” to have her back.

National Association of Private Educational Institutions president Assoc Prof Elajsolan Mohan said he hopes the initiatives being discussed with the Higher Education Ministry will be carried out.

The new Cabinet line-up also sees the return of Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon as Deputy Education Minister together with a new face, Kimanis MP Datuk Mohamad Alamin, to replace Muslimin Yahaya.

Meanwhile, former deputy environment and water minister Datuk Dr Ahmad Masrizal Muhammad has been named the new Deputy Higher Education Minister, replacing Datuk Mansor Othman.

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