KUCHING: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg believes that the country’s education teaching culture needs to be reformed from the traditional face-to-face approach to 21st-century teaching and learning methods.
He said because students across the world today are all tech-savvy, the factory model education and testing-centered culture would make learning boring and irrelevant to them.
“To keep up with ever-evolving demands, the rest of the world is constantly improving their approaches to education, and Malaysia must as well. Teachers are applying blended learning in their lessons by combining both face-to-face and online learning. This approach can also make education equitable so that students from rural and urban schools can receive the same quality education,” he said at the opening of the First International Conference on Education in the Digital Ecosystem (ICEdDE) 2019, here yesterday.
The chief minister’s text-of-speech was read by Education, Science and Technological Research Minister Dato Sri Michael Manyin.
Abang Johari said while the federal Education Ministry’s approach to education had been focused on developing students holistically under the Malaysia Education Blueprint, the education system itself had come under increased public scrutiny and debate, as parents’ expectations rise and employers voice their concern regarding the system’s ability to adequately prepare young Malaysians for the challenges of the 21st century.
In view of that, he urged educators in Sarawak to adapt to the increasingly widespread use of technology as the state’s younger generation must be nurtured in their pursuit of education in the digital era.
“The Sarawak government is aggressively adopting the emerging technologies with the global focus to develop a digital ecosystem. We have gone into a major paradigm shift in the economic development strategy with a digital economy transformation.
“The education system has been identified as one of seven Key Result Areas and embraced the digital ecosystem to produce quality, skillful and talented human capital, who will become the engine that drives and steers Sarawak to greater heights,” he said.
To this end, Abang Johari said the Sarawak government is committed to provide the necessary infrastructure to build the digital ecosystem.
He, however, noted that looking at the vast area of Sarawak and with the digital infrastructure in urban areas being adequate, the government is faced with the challenge of bridging the digital divide in more rural and remote areas, to connect to the rest of the world.
He believed ICEdDE 2019 augurs well for the state’s digital economy transformation, particularly its education agenda, because it has become the platform for stakeholders and players, and in particular researchers, to share information and discuss the challenges and way forward on education in the digital ecosystem.
“The (conference) theme ‘Blended Learning in Teacher Training innovation and Good Practices’ is very relevant to the Sarawak government’s agenda of building a conducive digital ecosystem for the education landscape,” he said.