DIANA JABLONSKI WRITES – Malaysia’s government believes that providing children in schools with debit card systems and smart boards will prepare them for a brighter future in the advanced digital world. Recent news has proven that the K-12 school system has been improving over time, mainly due to technology, such as the debit card system and the use of smart boards. Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid wants to provide debit cards to students to buy food and supplies instead of cash. He has stated that, “We must educate students to be ready for the digital world which is coming, with one feature being ‘cashless’, as out there, people use the debit card, not cash.”

Khalid also has incorporated smart boards within the classrooms at Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Putrajaya Presint 8(1). Recently, Prime Minister Najib Razak attended a special presentation of these new smart boards held at the school. He was impressed with the results showing how the innovations had already begun improving learning interactions and providing students with both an engaging and fun learning experience.

He stated to the press, “This method, which I am confident of, is able to produce a new generation with more creative and critical thinking, increased confidence in communication, as well as able to work as a team.” Razak congratulated Khalid for the success of this trial of the PAK-21 learning method and expressed his hopefulness that these gadgets would expand to more classrooms.

With the upcoming general election, Razak has gained positive publicity by appearing at SMK Putrajaya Presint 8(1). Shortly after his appearance, the Education Minister strongly encouraged teachers to register to vote for the upcoming election, stating, “As educators who are considered to be influential in society, all teachers are urged to register as voters to enable them to fulfill their obligations as voters.”

Currently, 60,000 teachers are yet to become registered voters. The timing of this statement could indicate that Khalid is promoting Razak due to all the positive feedback on the new technology improvements in schools.

On the other hand, the reason could be connected to the Education Minister’s comment on his hope that Razak would provide resources for further education renovations in primary and secondary schools through the 2018 Budget. As of now, the school’s main source of funds are through Parent-Teacher Associations and private districts. If teachers vote for the present government in exchange for new funding, Razak could gain needed political support for the upcoming general election.

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