About 125,000 children of school-going age in the rural and interior areas of Malaysia were still not attending primary school, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said.
He called for extra effort to ensure that all children attended school, adding that this was necessary to close the divide between rural and urban students.
Muhyiddin, also the Education Minister, also called for focus to be given to creating adequate numbers of quality teachers to be posted to rural areas, in line with the Government’s objective to close this divide.
He also said it was time to stop choosing heads of school based on seniority and to instead pick them on merit, based on ability and dynamic leadership qualities.
“There is also a need to look at creating holistic students with a strong command in Bahasa Malaysia and the English language as we move towards creating human capital that is knowledgeable, creative and innovative,” he said at the launch of the Education Development Masterplan Review workshop here Monday.
He added there was a need to upgrade the information technology (IT) infrastructure in schools and to provide know-how on its usage to rural students to ensure they can make use of it.
He said there rural and interior schools with poor buildings that lacked proper water and electricity supply, and these too needed to be upgraded.
Muhyiddin also urged his colleagues at the Education Ministry to contribute to promoting the 1Malaysia concept.