Fatimah welcomes increased ICT funds
Sarawak Tribune - Tuesday, 29 October, 2002  Page 3
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KUCHING - State Assembly­woman Hajah Fatimah Abdullah (BN-Dalat) welcomed the increased allocation for ICT development in the State and the set­ting up of Electronic Resource Centres in selected rural areas.

Under the Budget 2003 tabled by Minister of Finance and Public Utilities Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr George Chan, who is also the Deputy Chief Minister yesterday, it was announced that the increase would be six percent from RM69 million to RM 73 million.

Fatimah said Sarawak was one of the few States in the country where the Government played a dynamic role by complementing the efforts of the Federal Government in providing ICT facilities to its people. This, she pointed out, was "the correct strategy,"

She added that the State Government was preparing its people for ultimate changes that were happening around the globe.

"The people must be ready to learn and cope with these changes," she stressed.

With more people having access to ICT facilities, she believed the digital divide between the rural and urban areas would be gradually reduced.

Fatimah also commented on the changes which were expected to happen in the nation's school policy next year with the teaching of Mathematics and Science in English.

As a result, more money had been pumped into the rural schools to ensure that the students would benefit under the new policy, she said, adding that many rural schools had been supplied with ICT facilities and generators.

"But we are still concerned with the power of the generators. In some schools, the power was insufficient," said Fatimah.

On the teaching of Mathematics and Science subjects in English, she said the issue should not be perceived from a narrow view but viewed as a strategy to ensure that the new generation would not be left behind in the future.

"Our future depends on an educated workforce and nowadays, education, skills and knowledge could be acquired easily through the computer and the language used is English," Fatimah said.

As such, the people had no choice but to learn English, the language used in ICT, she said.

"I don't believe you will lose your identity from learning another language. It is knowledge."

Besides the teaching of Mathematics and Science in English, it was also important for the government to look at the teaching of English subjects in school, the curriculum and quality of teachers, she added.

Meanwhile, Padungan State Assemblywoman Lily Yong said the allocation for ICT development showed the commitment of the government in preparing the people for the onslaught of globalisation and changes happening around the world.

"This shows the wisdom of our leaders," she said.