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We break down how the MyDIGITAL blueprint will tackle education and integrate students, teachers, and schools in the digital economy.

Faye Lee  |  MY
Published 2021-05-10 11:40:04
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The government’s Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint (MyDIGITAL) was created with the objective to transform Malaysia into a digitally-driven, high income nation and a regional leader in the digital economy. 

A digital economy is defined as economic and social activities that involve the production and use of digital technology by individuals, businesses, and government.

Previously, we’ve mentioned their plans to attract or grow 5 unicorns by 2030, and that falls under the business section of the blueprint. 

On the rakyat side of things, one of their plans includes ensuring that all students have access to online learning. Throughout last year, schools and institutions had to resort to online classes to ensure education went on, and many initiatives in the private and public sector took place to make that transition smoother.

In line with continuing to enhance this initiative, this is what the government has planned for the next 10 years with regards to the education sector.

For The Students

“My Device” Programme

For students, the blueprint stated that it’ll be introducing what is called a “My Device” programme to ensure all students have access to digital learning. The programme will be set up through public-private-people partnerships, where students will be provided with data plans and devices with strict security settings.

What they’re hoping to achieve from this programme is for students to have a more enhanced learning experience as well as a narrowed digital divide between students of all income groups. 

The timeline for this programme will be from 2021 to 2025, and the lead for this initiative will be the Ministry of Education (MOE). 

E-Books And Interactive Content

The government will also be encouraging textbook and workbook publishers to explore the digitalisation of their content, and move them to e-books and create interactive formats. With this initiative, the government is hoping to continuously improve digital materials for education at a lower cost. 

Keeping Students’ Data Safe

To do so, the blueprint plans to develop and establish technical guidelines for data usage in the education sector. For this initiative, their target is to have machine-readable data with access through an application programming interface (API) as well as a secure and reliable education ecosystem. 

Dictionary Time: In layman’s terms, an API is simply something that sends information back and forth between a website or app and a user. 

A real-world example is buying movie tickets online. You go to the movie site, enter your movie, name, and credit card information, and print out your tickets. What happens between entering your information to receiving your ticket is thanks to APIs.

API Friends and APIs for Dummies

For The Teachers

“My Digital Teacher” Programme

The tech can be ready but with no one equipped to use it, efforts would go to waste. Thus, this professional development programme is meant to upskill teachers to become more well-versed with digital learning tools and technology as well as administrative work.

How the government is planning to do this is through co-creating a tech-based innovative solution with tech companies to enhance teachers’ work organisation relating to learning plan development, teaching aids, and reporting. In the private sector, we’ve seen several of these issues tackled by startups like Anak2U and Abelytics.

If this initiative succeeds as planned, we’ll see a higher technology utilisation rate amongst teachers as well as reduced time spent on administrative work. 

The timeline for this programme is between 2023 to 2025, and the blueprint is targeting to have all teachers trained by 2025. This initiative is also led by the MOE.  

Knowledge Bank For Teachers

Besides this training, what the MyDIGITAL initiative is rolling out for teachers is an open access knowledge bank for education materials in digital format.

The quality of these teaching materials will have to fulfill the guidelines and standards set by the MOE and Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE).

Content in this knowledge bank include workbooks, practice papers, and teaching sources like videos and podcasts. Just like the “My Digital Teacher” programme, this initiative will take place from 2023 to 2025. 

For The Schools

Ensuring All Schools Have Good Connectivity 

To do so, the MyDIGITAL blueprint states that it’ll be introducing digital packages so that digital learning can be facilitated. How they’re planning to do this is through identifying financing models with contributions from the private sector and civil society organisations (CSOs) to support the implementation of this initiative.

Dictionary Time: Civil society refers to a wide array of organisations: community groups, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), labour unions, indigenous groups, charitable organisations, faith-based organisations, professional associations, and foundations.

World Bank

Just like the “My Device” programme, this initiative will also take place from 2021 to 2025, and will be led by the MOE as well. 

Digital Maker Schools

Encouraging an uptake in digital technology isn’t the only thing the blueprint has in mind for Malaysian students. Digital Maker Schools is aiming to encourage students to become producers of technology instead of just consumers. 

The plan for this initiative is to expand the number of Champion Schools around the country. Champion Schools are schools that embrace digital-making and innovation as their core value by:

  • Establishing an active digital-making space
  • Impacting society in digital-making through community engagement
  • Participating in digital-making competitions
  • Constantly searching for industry partnership and support

So far, there are 24 Champion Schools around Malaysia, with Selangor and Sabah having the most of these schools (4 each). The process of developing a Champion School is as such:

  1. Professional development for teachers, leaders and school counsellors
  2. Establishment of the Digital Maker Hub
  3. Establishment of Digital Maker Clubs (co-curricular)
  4. Training of Digital Maker Champion Students (Duta Penggerak Digital)
  5. Engagement with their community
  6. Partnerships with the digital industry

Through this initiative, the government is targeting to have 2,500 Champion Schools by 2030.

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Here is a table to summarise what the MyDIGITAL blueprint has outined for the education sector:

StudentsTeachersSchools
“My Device” programme“My Digital Teacher” training programmeDigital packages to ensure good connectivity
E-books and interactive contentKnowledge bankCreating more My Digital Maker Schools
Safeguarding their data
What the initiatives are for students, teachers, and schools

At this point in time, it’s hard to gauge if these targets will be achieved in time, as our current progress and data for each target area aren’t clear. How then can we measure how close to or far from the goals we are?

To add, there is no mention of whether students with disabilities and their educators would be able to fully benefit from the same initiatives. We’d be curious to know if this plan is flexible enough to cater to students with different learning speeds and capabilities, as they shouldn’t be left out of this plan to move forward digitally.

  • You can read more about the MyDIGITAL blueprint for education here.
  • You can read more MYDIGITAL-related articles we’ve written here.

Featured Image Credit: Rentwise

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