A total of 43 initiatives on education have been implemented by the Pakatan Harapan government within the first 100 days of its administration, Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik said today.
Maszlee said some of the initiatives were those promised in the Harapan manifesto, such as removing the names of National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) borrowers from the Immigration Department’s blacklist, which was fulfilled on July 8.
The move brought relief to 429,945 borrowers, he said in a statement.
Maszlee also noted that the ministry is also working to make it possible for those in the low-income group to postpone their repayments through an income-contingent loan repayment (ICLR) scheme.
The ministry, he said, had taken a more holistic approach in upholding the integrity of the country’s education system by giving autonomy to institutions of higher learning and more freedom of expression to students by reviving the speakers’ corner.
In tandem with the Harapan manifesto, the ministry, through a special committee, had also embarked on an inclusive study to abolish the Universities and University Colleges Act 1971, while public universities were encouraged to organise more debates and dialogues with interested parties.
Efforts to enhance higher education also saw suggestions by stakeholders being accepted by the government, such as in the appointment of the university board of governors and candidates for the posts of vice-chancellors and deputy chancellors, he said.
Maszlee said his focus during the 100 days of helming the ministry included reducing the burden of teachers from administrative work, enhance national schools and special education schools, ensure students no longer carry heavy bags to school, enhance the use of Bahasa Malaysia and encouraging students to master more than three languages.
He said the ministry had abolished the audit process for the ‘Standard Kualiti Pendidikan Malaysia Gelombang 2’ in June to reduce the burden of about 500,000 teachers in the country.
Other initiatives carried out by the ministry during the first 100 days he said, included setting up of a committee review the national education system in keeping abreast with industrial revolution 4.0; to launch a national reading campaign, and setting up of the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Empowerment Committee.
The ministry, he added, also carried out internal investigations on huge contracts such as the solar hybrid project in Sarawak and the provision of 1Bestarinet, as well as take action to enable the opening of a Malaysian Arts School next year.
On the welfare of people with disabilities, Maszlee said the ministry, in collaboration with NGOs, would improve special education, and also the academic performance of Orang Asli students nationwide.
He said religious education institutions, such as tahfiz schools, were also empowered with discussions being held with several countries in the Middle East to enable students from Malaysia to further their studies there.
The ministry, had also allocated RM30 million for government-aided religious schools and also offered training package for tahfiz school teachers.
He said focus was also given to Tamil nation-type schools where they were now placed directly under the minister and deputy minister.
As for Chinese national-type schools, Maszlee said the government had agreed to build six new schools, comprising four in Johor and one each in Selangor and Penang.
He added that the transfer of students in under-enrolled schools would be carried out, with the ministry allocating RM20 million this year for the purpose.
The ministry had also allocated RM50 million in 2018 as Special Fund which would be channelled to government-aided schools depending on their needs, he added.