Power move to kick off smart schools

Source: http://star-techcentral.com/tech/story.asp?file=/2006/5/17/technology/20060517175305&sec=technology

Wednesday May 17, 2006

Power move to kick off smart schools

KUALA LUMPUR: All government schools without electricity, expecially those in the rural areas of Sabah and Sarawak, will be powered up by year end, the Education Ministry announced on Tuesday.

Education Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said the move would be a prelude to turning national schools into smart schools.

I promise these schools that they will have electricity by the end of the year, he said, at the National Teachers Day celebration at the Putra World Trade Centre here.

There are 10,000 national schools now and they will be converted in stages between now and 2010.

The conversion to smart schools is one of the main thrusts of the Governmnents Ninth Malaysia Plan (9MP) and is aimed at making government schools the first choice among parents.

There are currently 88 smart schools in the country and these will be the benchmark for more of such schools under the 9MP.

According to the Ministry, the student-to-computer ratio in most of the smart schools in 2:1. 97% of these schools are also equipped with broadband Internet connections, a spokesman for the Ministry said.

Hishammuddin identified teacher training as the main hurdle to converting national schools to smart schools.

We are working with the private sector to train teachers, he said, adding that the training is on ongoing process and requires more assistance from the private sector.

It is no use, he said, to have fully-equipped schools and not enough qualified teachers to make use of the equipment.

The Teachers Day celebration included an exhibition that gave participants a glimpse of the school of the future.

A display showed classrooms with information and communications technology being used as teaching tools; a high-tech school administration office; and even a canteen where students used smartcards to pay for food and drink.

Malaysians can expect such schools to become a reality by the year 2020, said the Ministry.