He said it would cost about RM18 million till 2001 to equip all schools with the Astro equipment and after that, the annual cost would be RM400,000 as opposed to having to pay RTM2 RM5 million annually.
The figures given by the Education Minister has come as a surprise as no Member of Parliament in the past had been aware that RTM had been billing the Education Ministry RM5 million annually just to transmit the Pendidikan TV.
Musa should give a full accounting of how much the Education Ministry had paid RTM2 for transmitting Education TV for each year in the past two decades, and why the RTM2 is so uncompetitive when compared to Astro.
Be that as it may, it is the height of irresponsibility on the part of the Education Ministry to switch the transmission of TV Pendidikan education programme from RTM2 to Astro when less than a quarter of the 9,000 schools have been installed with the Astro equipment.
According to Musa, about 2,000 schools had been installed with the Astro equipment to receive educational programmes. He suggested that those schools which do not have the required equipment should get the recordings of the programmes from other schools.
This appears to be a most unprofessional way for a non-politician former academician to be running the Education Ministry.
Just before coming to the dinner, I visited the website of the Technology Education Division of the Education Ministry which is responsible for the TV Pendidikan. Its slogan is "Technology for Smart Education" ("Teknologi Untuk Pendidikan Bestari") but it is not a very "smart site" - as its daily schedule for TV Pendidikan starting from January 17, 2000 suddenly stopped at 3rd February 2000, with no update for the past one month!
Will all the 9000 primary and secondary schools be finally equipped with Astro sets by next year to receive the Education TV? This seems unlikely and the Education Minister should give the country the latest update with regard to the last report in the previous Parliament of over 1,000 schools still without electricity supply.
In the past, schools without electricity had been supplied with fax and computers which are left to waste because they could not be used - and I hope that in the new millennium, we are not going to have schools without power but still receiving Astro equipments in the year 2001 so that on paper, all the 9,000 schools in the country would have been supplied with Astro equipments - even just to put them in the storeroom!