Budget Failure Will Disrupt Education Says Union
The education sector receives the largest allocation of RM50.4 billion or 15.6% of total government expenditure in the 2021 budget.KUALA LUMPUR: The national teachers’ union has warned that the continuity and momentum of the national education system will be affected if the 2021 federal budget is not approved.
Aminuddin Awang, president of the National Union of the Teaching Profession, said the education sector received the largest allocation of RM50.4 billion or 15.6% of the total government expenditure, which includes aspects of student health in schools, infrastructure repair, learning facilities and the empowerment of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) and special education.
If the budget was not approved, it would disrupt the continuity and momentum of the country’s education system, he said.
The 2021 budget has been tabled at the Dewan Rakyat and a vote is expected on Nov 26.
“We are worried that all the processes, especially the planned improvement and maintenance of schools, will not be implemented according to schedule. Not only that, it will also affect low-income families from the B40 group, such as through the Supplementary Food Programme, which involves many students from that group,” Aminuddin said.
Mohd Azizee Hasan, president of Ikatan Guru-Guru Muslim Malaysia, said failure to approve the budget would affect the teaching and learning process.
He said this was because the budget provided for increasing internet access through the National Digital Infrastructure Plan initiative, which aims to ensure connectivity to a total of 430 schools nationwide, and the RM1.5 billion Jaringan Prihatin, which will benefit eight million people from the B40 group.
“This assistance will reduce their financial burden in obtaining internet facilities. They will each receive RM180 to be used for internet subscription expenses or to cover part of the cost of purchasing a new mobile phone,” he said.
A similar view was expressed by Malaysian Sign Language and Deaf Studies Association deputy president Amir Hamidi Abd Manan, who said the failure to continue with the budget would have a big impact on the special education sector.
“The RM45 million allocation is a huge amount for the special education sector. Without it, the ministry will have difficulty in carrying out special education empowerment work as scheduled.”
Amir said there were various plans which could be improved to strengthen the special education sector, such as further raising the skills of Malaysian Sign Language (BIM) among special education teachers, bridging the digital divide and improving TV Pendidikan with the services of certified BIM interpreters.
National Association of Skilled Workers secretary-general Mohammad Rizan Hassan said rejecting the budget would affect the process of producing skilled manpower for the country’s industrial needs.
He said the industry needed skilled manpower urgently and failure to empower TVET would cause industries to think twice about continuing their operations.
“Currently, many public and private training providers are implementing the National Economic Recovery Plan initiative through the Human Resources Development Fund and Socso, which fully rely on government funds for training in skills development as well as employment opportunities for the affected people, including youths.
“In fact, the budget allocates up to RM6 billion for TVET across many ministries, such as the National Dual Training System, National Apprenticeship Scheme and Skills Development Fund Corporation, which is believed to be able to attract youths,” he said. - FMT
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