PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Association of Private Colleges and Universities (Mapcu) is appealing to the government for an allocation in Budget 2021 for the country’s private education sector.
Its president Datuk Dr Parmjit Singh (pic) said the sector had been unaided over the last 60 years despite catering to over 50% of Malaysian students in higher education.
“Except for a sprinkling of incentives over six decades, the sector has not received any form of allocation.
“The private sector depends largely on the fees charged as its revenue.
“Due to the escalating cost of operations, affordability and access pose a major challenge to parents as there are no subsidies or sufficient incentives available to defray the rising costs, ” he said.
Parmjit added that there were no direct incentives available for higher education institutions to carry out research and development.
He said that no incentives were given to private higher educational institutions for the modernisation of higher education while there was insufficient National Higher Education Fund Corp (PTPTN) loans for students.
He said institutions needed assistance to redevelop and digitise approved courses to suit online learning pedagogy and approach.
“The costs associated with adapting to the ‘new normal’ are substantial in terms of acquiring and maintaining educational, teaching and learning resources.
“Licensed institutions should be provided with matching grants to further transform their courses to suit online learning modes, ” he said.
National Association of Private Educational Institutions president Elajsolan Mohan said the private education and training sector contributed RM40bil towards the national economy and should receive some form of allocation to keep this industry sustainable and expandable for the future.
“This year, the sector would definitely need funding for recovery.
“Private learning institutions, including private schools and technical, vocational education and training (TVET) centres, are suffering heavy losses and struggling to keep afloat.
“With the additional cost in online infrastructure investment, the private education and training sector has been very badly affected, ” he said, adding that over 50 private education institutions were expected to close by December.
Meanwhile, at the school level, National Union of the Teaching Profession secretary-general Harry Tan said funds for improvement of teaching aids, e-books, training for teachers and Internet access were crucial in the new normal.
“New infrastructure projects can be put on hold but some schools are in dire need of allocation for maintenance, ” he added.
Parent Action Group for Education Malaysia chairman Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim called for more allocation to ensure fast Internet connectivity nationwide.
“Teachers and students in remote villages must benefit, too.
“The Education Ministry says we have to adopt the new normal and this includes creating a greater online presence for all in terms of access to connectivity, devices, storage and training of educators.
“Parents want to see effective online teaching and learning being conducted, where educators can switch from physical to online lessons effortlessly without any loss of time in between, ” Noor Azimah said.
Melaka Action Group for Parents in Education Mak Chee Kin said schools also required funds for soap, sanitiser and temperature scanners to keep Covid-19 out of schools.
Some mission and conforming schools have yet to receive the allocations promised last year, he added.
Jia Zong adviser Edward Neoh said there must be funds for the upskilling and training of teachers, as well as creating an effective online education system.