Najib should explain whether Malaysia is not only pioneering Smart Schools without computers, but even Smart Schools without electricity

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang 

(Petaling Jaya, Thursday): Yesterday, the Education Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said that the entire 9,000 schools nation-wide should be able to attain smart-school status by the year 2,002.

I had asked in Parliament last week the latest position of the number of schools in the country still without electricity supply, and Najibís written reply was that as of 30th June 1999, there were still 1,050 schools without electricity supply.

The breakdown of the these schools without electricity supply according to states are:

Will all these schools be provided with electricity supply by 2,002?  It is most regrettable that the DAP efforts in Parliament in the past three years to get the government to ensure that all the schools in Malaysia would be provided with electricity supply by  year 2,000  had fallen on deaf ears.

In October 1996,  during the debate on supplementary estimates for the Education Ministry, I had called for a quantum leap in promoting computer education in the schools with the Education Ministry setting the firm target of connecting all the 8,500 schools to the Internet by the year 2,000.  This is clearly impossible without providing steady and stable electricity to all schools.

In that debate, I had pointed out that  the percentage of the 250,000 teachers in the primary and secondary schools in Malaysia who had got onto the Internet was very low.

As Information Technology is  redefining the teacher-student relationship, teachers cannot guide students in this new relationship unless they first become familiar and proficient in IT.

For this reason, I had proposed three years ago that the Education Ministry should launch a three-point IT plan to ensure that the 250,000 teachers in the country would become computer-literate and get on the Internet by the year 2000 so that they could guide the new generation of schoolchildren into the Information Age, viz:

These three proposals are still valid today  if the government is serious in wanting to make all the 9,000 schools in the country "smart schools" by the year 2,002.

Let the Education Minister convince the people that when he talked about making all the 9,000 schools "smart schools" by 2,002, he is not talking about introducing a Smart School Plan without computers, without electricity or even without Smart Teachers!


*Lim Kit Siang - Malaysian Parliamentary Opposition Leader, Democratic Action Party Secretary-General & Member of Parliament for Tanjong