Since the early days of formal education, seing and hearing are the main media of transfer
knowledge. Teachers had taken big efforts since thirty years a go encouraging
studentsto make use of other senses like touch, smel and taste in their
learning processespecially in science subjects. The only obstacle that might
stop them from doing thatwas the lack of facilities in their schools. In
fact, most teachers did not hasitate toprepare transparencies, models, and
other teaching aids using their own pocket money.
Although tape recorders, radios, television, over head projector, slides and flims mightbe considered
out dated, they are still playing important role in teaching and learnig
inschools. The list of multimedia equipment is becoming longer by the introduction
ofcomputer in education.
School's computer clubs.
computers were introduced in Malaysian schools more as extra curricular activities thenas subject.
They were set up to teach computing skills. Most of these clubs were supported
byfunding from Parent-Teacher Associations or fees collected from club members.
Besides, the more motivated principles and his/her teachers took initiatives
to organizeschool funfair, walkathon or some other activities to follow the
trends of setting upcomputer clubs at those time. Most of the time they were
only able to raise just enoughmoney to buy one or two Apple II or compatibles
(Lingo). With these limitations, the schools involved were at least succeeded
in promoting the computer power to schoolcommunities. With lack of resources,
facilities and personal, limited number of studentswere thought using basic
application software such as wordprocessor, database andelectronic spreadsheet.
Computer Literacy Pilot Project
At the same time Malaysian educators embark
on creating a computer literacycurriculum for schools. The Computer Literacy
Pilot Project (CLPP) was launched inApril 1986 in twenty pilot schools, where
Form Four pupils were taught a subjectcalled Computer Literacy. This CLPP
were abruptly stop the following year.
Although many consider that computer clubs and CLPP project were a failure, it hadbeen a good starting point.
With bare minimum trainning and facilities, teachers wereable to familiarized
participated student, and school communities, with basic computerliteracy
Computers In Education
In the same year, the Ministry of Education (MOE) set up a joint committee with theMalaysian Institute of
Microelectronics System (MIMOS) to study and makerecomendations or IT implementation
in schools. A report was prepared by MIMOSand presented to the MOE in early
1989. This report noted that computer literacy wasno longer the major issue
in education. What was percived as needed was thewidespread use of computers
in the delivery of educational programmes across theboard an integral part
of curriculum. With such an approach, computer literacy wouldbe naturally
The core of the recomendations is the recognition that information
and knowledge willincreasngly manifest themselves in electronic form. This
requires that IT systems bemade widely available in schools.
There were some other MOE-MIMOS projects and programmes resulted from the jointreport.
They had a blue print of the ComIL system (Computer Integreted LearningSystem)
completed in 1990, Knowledge Resource Centre, Computer-AssistedInstruction/Learning
In 1995, Ministry of Education made an anouncement that the CIE
Project would beextended to all primary and secondary schools in the country.
Unfortunately, thepromise remain to be kept. Internet projects.JARING is
the pioneer Internet Service Provider in Malaysia. It was launch in 1991
byMIMOS. Taking advantage of JARING, Ministry Of Education launched another
pilotproject in 1994, Jaringan Pendidikan.
In this project,
were installedin 50 pilot schools throughout the country. This project was
suppose to enhancecommunication and information exchange among teachers and
students in the country.
In 1996, the Ministry Of Education launched another Internet Project,
Pusat SumberElektronik (PSE) in 14 selected pilot schools,
Rangkaian Munsyi (the computernetwork contributed by Telekom Malaysia) was
expected to enable schools to accessthe Internet and use multimedia applications.
Some of the project schools have createdtheir homepages, most of which is
not being updated regularly.
Smart Schools Project
Perhaps the most established
IT projects in schools is the Smart School Project. Theselected schools are
well-equiped with resources such as computers with internetfacilities. School
involve in this project are expected to extensively incorporate IT intoteaching
and learning. The emphasis was It-across-curriculum.
IT education in schools
is taken more seriously recently whereby a better infrastructureincluding
new buildings and resonable number of computers are being prepared in more
Most of the IT projects mentioned above were pilot projects
being experimented inschools. They were suppose meant for testing viability
and feasibility before wide-scaleimplementation. The success of these projects
are questionable. Some of them are stillgoing on, but none has generated
into a nationwide project as intended originally.
Computer is the very basic tool needed for IT education without which, any
attempt toimplement IT in schools deemed to be a failure. It is a well known
fact that schoolscomputer clubs did not have enough computer to catter for
big number of students.Without enough machines, the number of students could
be involve is limited and handon activities cannot be done.
Unavailablity of well trained teachers and personals in IT was another factor
thatcontribute to the slow progress of IT education in schools. A sudden
introduction ofcomputer in schools cause dificulty in asigning school's staf
to the job. Teacherstraining colleges across the country which train non-degree
teachers for primary andsecondary schools started offerring a compoulsary
IT course i n 1990s. Howeverfaculties of education in univarsities seem to
be lagging behind. Most offer suchcources only as electives. So most teachers
graduating from such programmes were stillIT illiterate by the time they
start teaching. The situation was worsen when most of theinservice teachers
had little or no exposure to computer. Teacher's training programmeshould
have started long before computers were introduced in schools.
No matter what approach is taken for the IT education in schools,
asspecially IT-across - curriculum approach, suitable software is needed
for implementation. Mosteducational courseware available at present are not
suitable for most of schoolssyllabus not only interms of language, but also
contentwise. Since most of the sofwareare writen by programmers, not teachers,
their products only served as informationdisplay, and does not follow the
proper the process of teaching .
Until now, nobody can
deny that education in Malaysia is exam oriented. Hence IT wasnot taken seriously
by pupils, parents and educators. Computer and IT subjects werenot formarly
included into the curriculum and worse still they were not in the formalschool
time table. Time and efforts by a few motivated teachers were not taken into
consideration of their existing heavy workload.
IT subject is not integrated
into school time table because it is not considered as asubject
by itself. Teaching and learning IT activities were taken more as a hobby
ratherthan as a subject and done as on part time basis. IT education in schools
is not a priority. Hence monetary allocation were little and ifany, was limited
to initial purchase of very basic equipment. However in most cases itis left
to the creativity and initiative of the schools to find ways of getting facilities
tostart up with. The schools then have to take care of the maintainance and
supportivematerials by themself.
The implementation of IT in schools will
eventually be based on Smart SchoolsConcept, employing an IT-across-curriculum
approach. A new curriculum is requiredto meet the dual goal: using various
resources, including computers and IT, to enhenceteaching-learning process,
and providing students the opportunity to acquire computerand IT literacy.
The idea seems to be perfect. Computer and IT will be a tool in teaching
other subjectmatter. Most probably large portion of IT-across-curriculum
approach was influencedby indiviuals who might be educators but not directly
involve in teaching. Even if theydo, they must have stopped teaching 30 or
40 years ago. Teaching and learning is a very complex process. It is more
than just viewing andabsorbing information. Providing a new interesting ways
of viewing pictures andwritings, does not mean that young school pupils are
able to learn and beknowledgeble. To teach does not only means to provide
knowledge and information.The more important part of teaching is to transfer
skils, both psychomotor and cognitif.In the process of teaching, teachers
need to interact with unlimited kind of responsesfrom students of various
socio economic backgrounds.
Teaching and learning is a very unique process
both for subject matter and for individuals. Every subjects need specific
tools and meterials to teach and learn effectively. IT and computer can only
besupplimentary and cannot play important role in teaching any subjects other
If IT is tought together with other subject simultenously, there
will be a lot of confusionin the pupils cognitif aspect and will slow down
not only the process of learning, but also the process of teaching. IT might
be one of teaching tools, but it cannot play majorrole in teaching school's
It is hard to believe that IT-across-curriculum approach
will produce a positif result forthe IT education in Malaysian schools. A
better way is to introduce IT as a subject.Include the subject into daily
time table and recognize it as part off the teachers formalworkload. As a
subject, it should be treated equally well like the other where there are
given certain amount of monetary allocation yearly. Distribute a formal syllabus
toschools so that teachers know clearly what to teach. The IT subject should
also beincluded into public examination and their result are taken into consideration
Implementing IT in schools nationwide
is a tedious task. In Malaysian contex, it ispertinent that the authorities
take notice of the fact that without a solid, long termstrategic plan backed
by personals of IT literate and committed educators to manageand implement
IT projects in schools, all the national goals concieved so far to exploit
IT in education are unlikely to produce results. IT will soon diffuse into
education.However successful implementation of IT projects in Malaysia demands
the emergenceof a new culture and a paradigm shift in education. Not only
must the curriculumchange to integrate IT, teachers and educators, as well
as managers and administrators,must all become IT literate through preservice
and inservice training.
8. Jonassen, David H. (1991). Evaluating constructivistic learning.
Educational Technology, 31, 28-33.