Education Minister Dr. Maszlee Malik has ordered Chinese vernacular schools to stop conducting computer classes during school hours
theSun reported Maszlee as saying that the classes, if held during school hours, violate several laws under the Education Act 1996 (Act 550). They should only be conducted after school hours as they fall under extracurricular activities.
"The school hours which are set under the ministry circular is meant to include the national syllabus only and nothing else," the Education Minister was quoted as saying by theSun.
Maszlee spoke to reporters at the Higher Education Ministry building yesterday.
He added that it will no longer be compulsory for students in Chinese vernacular schools to attend computer classes
His statement came after parents complained that their children, students of Chinese vernacular schools, were being made to enrol in computer classes during school hours, according to theSun.
"Any support letter which was issued by the former deputy Education Minister to allow several schools to conduct computer classes during school hours before this will automatically be null and void," he added.
Previously, the United Chinese School Committees' Association of Malaysia (UCSCAM) said that students should not be forced to pay for classes that are not included in the national syllabus, voicing their support for the ministry's move
According to a Sin Chew Daily report on 9 June, UCSCAM said that Chinese vernacular schools are a part of the free education provided by the ministry. Hence, schools should adhere to the national syllabus and not employ external vendors for classes.
"On top of conducting computer classes during school hours, putting students who didn't pay for the classes in either the library or leaving them in the classroom by themselves is highly unfair to them," UCSCAM said.
Prior to Maszlee's announcement, a few schools had objected the move, which was previously ordered by state education departments
SJK(C) Tun Tan Siew Sin expressed disappointment over an order by the Selangor Education Department previously to cease paid computer classes during school hours earlier this month, according to Malay Mail.
The school board said that students benefited from the classes as it help them gain the necessary skills needed for their future, stressing that the classes only cost RM10 per month.
Furthermore, the school argued that the classes were conducted during school hours to avoid inconveniencing parents.
SJK(C) Mak Mandin board chairman Eow Seik Fong told Kwong Wah on Tuesday, 26 June, that the school had spent RM240,000 on a new computer room. He argued that teachers and parents will be greatly inconvenienced by putting computer classes under extracurricular activities.
Eow, who stressed on the importance for students to catch up with new technology, added that the school is only charging students RM25 for the computer classes.
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