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MP rues lack of zeal for digital economy

 | September 13, 2017

Charles Santiago says BN may be deliberately neglecting to adapt the education system to the new reality.


PETALING JAYA: Klang MP Charles Santiago has accused the government of failure to adapt the education system to the demands of the digital economy.

Speaking to FMT, he said he suspected this neglect was deliberate because an education system geared towards the digital economy would produce thinking citizens and that would not suit Barisan Nasional’s political interests.

“The government recognises that it’s time to make the leap from a school system designed for an industrial economy to one that serves a digital economy, but it doesn’t put much effort in pushing for this,” he said.

“To make the leap, you must get rid of rote learning and focus on promoting creativity and critical thinking.

“You must also amend laws that prohibit university students from taking up issues and speaking openly.

“If you keep these laws in order to stay in power, you’re not going to have students who are important for bringing about the change that you are talking about.”

Recently, a news report quoted Asean Business Advisory Council Malaysia chairman Munir Majid as saying that the education system was not preparing Malaysians for the rise of the digital economy.

Munir expressed worry that robots could replace not only unskilled workers but also skilled ones.

Santiago said he feared that Malaysia would be left far behind other countries if the education system was not revised to adapt to the new reality.

“We will lose out to Singapore, South Korea, Japan and other countries that have made the leap, and this will come back to haunt the economy.”

He acknowledged that there had been some tweaking of the school curriculum to impart thinking and imaginative skills to students, but he said the government was moving too slowly and the system was still largely exam-oriented.

“The education system is not flexible enough to move to the next paradigm and that’s why people prefer to send their kids to private schools and universities,” he added.


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