IT to become core subject

The Borneo Post - Wednesday 3 July 2002

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Govt considering when to introduce IT in schools and at which level, says Musa

KUALA LUMPUR: Information technology (IT) will be introduced as a core subject in schools when the time comes, Education Minister Tan Sri Musa Mohamad said yesterday. "We are considering when it can be introduced, when it is possible to do that and at what level," he told reporters after opening the International Seminar on School Evaluation for Quality Improvement, here.

He said this when asked to comment on Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's suggestion on Monday that IT be introduced as a core subject in schools to give the young generation a head start in the digital economy. Musa said that when the move was implemented.

IT would also be made a subject for important examinations like the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM). He said IT was now an elective subject at the SPM level and was gaining interest among the students but due to staff constraint, not as many students as desired could take up the subject.

He said the ministry had also to consider whether IT studies should be provided as a foundation for seeking knowledge or as a knowledge field for specialisation at the tertiary level. On the teaching of Mathematics and Science in English, Musa said the matter would be submitted to the Cabinet in two weeks for a final decision. He said any prior statement made on the matter, including the preparation for textbooks by Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, was not final.

Asked to comment on claims that using English as a medium of iiistiuction for educational institutions was against the National 1,aiiguage Act, Musa said that this was not true. "in the Education Act 1996, there are provisions for the use of languages other than the national language. so I don't know where's the violation," he said.

On the implementation of the 12year (P 12) schooling system instead of the current 13 years, Musa said it was still being studied. This was because the government had to find the best way to accommodate two groups of students who would be at the same level when the system was introduced.

He said there would be two batches of students taking the SPM simultaneously in one year and going to Form Six and entering the universities together. "From the 400,000 students sitting for the SPM today, there'll be 800,000 students in one particular year. How do we cope?" he said.

The implementation of the P12 system was to have been decided on last .month after getting feedback from the people. Musa said the government had to ensure that the education system was not disrupted during the transitional period. It is proposed that the current system of 13 years schooling - six years at the primary level and si at the secondary level - be red to 12 years with the abolition o Penilaian Menengah Rendah (P: in Form Three.

After four years in second school the students will sit for SPM, after which they have a cl to continue for two years to si the Sijil Tinggi Persekola Malaysia (STPM). The four-day seminar attended by about 50 delegates t several international educational institutions including International Institute Educational Planning (IIEP) an( Asian Network of Training Research Institutions Educational Planning (ANTRIEP). - Bernama