MUAR (March 27): Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin wants the Education Ministry (MOE) to expedite the national education digitalisation programme to enable more students to have access to high quality education.

He said the Covid-19 pandemic which hit the country since early last year also affected the country’s education system.

“Students are unable to go to school and are instructed to stay at home to prevent the spread of Covid-19…one lesson we get from this pandemic is that we do not have the ability to commence an education system that can accommodate the education needs at times like this.

“Even if we have the facilities that allow our students to learn virtually, but the number of parents who can provide laptops, computers, tablets is quite limited,” he added.

Muhyiddin, who is Pagoh Member of Parliament and Gambir Assemblyman, said this in his speech at a Yayasan Pelajaran Mara’s (YPM) Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme at the Pagoh Sports Complex here today.

Also present were the prime minister’s wife, Puan Sri Norainee Abdul Rahman, Mara Corporation Advisory Committee chairman Datuk Dr Sahruddin Jamal, who is also Bukit Kepong Assemblyman, and YPM executive chairman Datuk Dr Mohd Nizar Sudin.

According to Muhyiddin, the move towards digitalisation of education has already started and that he had instructed Education Minister Datuk Dr Radzi Jidin to set up a special committee to speed up the transition of the current education system to digital.

The prime minister said the change towards digitalisation will not only involve devices, but also human resources, including teaching staff, as well as the content of teaching materials to be used by students, which should be of high quality.

He said the process towards digitalisation of education, however, could not be fully achieved if the country did not have internet accessibility and connectivity.

“That’s why I recently announced the MyDIGITAL initiative to provide us with 5G internet network facilities soon,” he said and expressed his happiness with the willingness of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) government to help Malaysia in its shift towards digitalisation of education following his recent visit to the Emirates.

Muhyiddin said the country’s education system must move towards digital so that it is on par, if not better, than some countries which are more developed than Malaysia.

Hence, a suitable ecosystem should be considered to provide students and teachers with learning tools that can be accessed anywhere, he added.

At today’s event, YPM contributed RM240,000 for implementation of several initiatives, including the Special School Assistance Program for 1,000 students from the B40 category, Early Schooling Assistance to 200 recipients, implementation of the Foster Child Scheme for 100 students, as well as the Quran Literacy Programme.