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KUCHING, Dec 20: Bukit Assek assemblywoman Irene Chang advised Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik to stop making blunders and just focus on making real progress on a long list of education issues that required urgent attention.
“Maszlee needs to verse himself well with the sentiments and education needs of the people in Sabah and Sarawak. He needs to do this without any more delay if he wants to be able to deliver on all the education promises made before the 14th General Election (GE14),” she said in a statement today.
Maszlee’s recent statement encouraging religious teachers from Peninsular Malaysia to stay back in Sabah and Sarawak and make the two Borneon states their ‘medan dakwah’ (Islamic propagation front) received an onslaught of backlash from various quarters in recent days.
“It has been seven months since GE14, but if the time is too short for his ministry to effect major reforms needed to enhance the education system, especially in Sabah and Sarawak, then the least he can do is not to make any statements that can offend the people, be it religious or cultural,” she added.
Chang then urged Maszlee to urgently address and resolve the various problems affecting the Malaysian education system, including reviewing the education syllabus for both primary and secondary schools, on top of issues of dilapidated schools in Sarawak and recognition of Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) of Chinese independent schools.
“The Malaysian education system is in urgent need of a revamp. Subjects like history must be comprehensive to include the full historical details of the Malaysia Agreement 1963, the 18- and 20-points (agreements) as well as the Cobbold Commission, all of which are not in the syllabus,” she shared.
“The importance of these issues were not given such prominence, and as a result, most of us graduated from school without knowing their importance in the history of Sarawak.”
She also stressed the need for new and innovative learning and teaching approaches in schools to suit future needs, especially in strengthening students’ critical and analytical thinking skills and proficiency in English.
“Generally, our education system has been failing our children. And the minister has to look into these problems and, if necessary, to conduct workshops and to speak to the teachers and those on the frontline in the education system in order to come up with ways to resolve them.
“Maszlee should realise and know by now, judging by the unfavourable responses to his statement, that Sarawak’s largely Christian community cannot accept religious propaganda happening to their children in schools,” she added.
Moreover, she pointed out that most parents were already very upset and wary when the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) government allowed Peninsular Malaysia religious teachers to convert students in schools back then.
“There was a huge outcry against it, and I believe that all those discontentment and unhappiness among Sarawakians had contributed to the downfall of the BN government.
“With the new Pakatan Harapan (PH) government, people are hopeful and want the Ministry of Education to concentrate on improving the standard of education in this country,” she added. — DayakDaily