(Teluk Intan, Friday): I had asked the Education Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in Parliament how many primary and secondary schools in Malaysia have Internet connections and have homepages on the Internet.
In his answer, the Education Minister gave a list 14 secondary schools which come under the Munsyi Network Pilot Project which are hooked to the Internet and have their homepages, namely:
I find the Education Minister’s answer most disappointing, as his list of 14 schools is most pathetic when we consider that there are 1,476 secondary schools with 1.73 million students as of 1.1.1996 under the national education system.
It is also extremely disappointing that the Education Minister is unable to name a single primary school in the country which has a homepage on the Internet although there are 7,049 primary schools with 2.84 million students in the country as of 1.1.96.
In contrast, Singapore has 19 primary schools with websites on the Internet and 45 secondary schools with homepages.
The Education Ministry should give this matter urgent attention and should set a target to have 10 per cent of the 8,500 primary and secondary schools in the country to put up their own homepages by the end of this year.
Such a target will send out a clear message to the 250,000 teachers and 4.5 million students in the 8,500 schools in the country that the government is serious about information technology in education.
This will be a new item of the national educational agenda which DAP Members of Parliament will monitor closely in the next few years. One other such item is to ensure that the government end the national scandal that there are 1,273 schools in the country without electricity or with only limited electricity supply, which makes it impossible for these schools to keep abreast with rapid changes in Information Technology and would condemn their pupils to be the "Information-poor" in the new millennium.